Simpson University Celebrates Graduates at January Commencement

REDDING, Calif.—Simpson University celebrated the achievements of 130 graduates from all programs during a commencement ceremony Jan. 11 in the James M. Grant Student Life Center.

Hundreds of onlookers cheered on the fall 2019 graduates from the traditional undergraduate program, School of Adult Studies, School of Education, School of Graduate Professional Studies, and A.W. Tozer Theological Seminary.

“As you cross the stage, handshakes and high-fives are welcome,” President Norman D. Hall told the graduates in his introduction. “Let’s make this a day of celebration.”

The commencement speaker was Redding Mayor Adam McElvain, a 2012 Simpson University alumnus and U.S. military veteran. His address—in which he cited multiple biblical references—exhorted the graduates to “Be Strong and Courageous.”

“You are stepping into the middle of a changing world and will need strength and courage,” he said. “What gives us this ability? Knowing God is with us and will never forsake us.”

McElvain shared some personal experiences where he relied on his faith and encouraged the graduates to push themselves out of their comfort zone; not be afraid to mess up; and to walk through open doors. He mentioned Ephesians 6:10-18, which talks about putting on the “armor of God.”

“Today you are walking through a door – a gateway to a new world,” he said, referencing Simpson University’s ‘Gateway to World Service’ motto. “It’s a door you chose, and I applaud your courage.”

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The ceremony included hymns led by Dr. Steve Kim, director of choral activities, and special music by percussion student Jordan Palmer.

Dr. Hall shared some of the many university milestones that have taken place during the Class of 2019’s time at Simpson, including two years of enrollment growth, accreditation renewal, and numerous honors and recognitions for students and programs.

Simpson traditionally holds graduation twice a year — in January for summer and fall grads, and in April for spring graduates.

Photos by Chyna Xiong


Simpson University, founded in 1921, moved to Redding 30 years ago and will celebrate its centennial in 2021. In addition to offering 25 majors in its traditional undergraduate program, the university has graduated more than 4,000 North State adults from its ASPIRE degree-completion program, and nearly 3,000 from its School of Education. It has a No. 8-ranked School of Nursing, a seminary, and master’s programs in counseling psychology and organizational leadership. Simpson University is recognized nationally by Colleges of Distinction.

Simpson is launching new athletics programs in track and field, swimming and diving, women’s wrestling, and men’s volleyball, as well as a bass fishing team. The university is also working to better serve transfer students from community colleges through its commitment to Associate Degree for Transfer agreements, and it is offering new scholarships.

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