The University of Santa Monica’s Alumni, Graduates, friends, family, and community members joined together to commemorate the 35th graduating Class of 2016.
On Sunday, August 28, 2016, UCLA’s majestic Royce Hall was filled to capacity by friends and family joining to celebrate USM’s 297 students graduating with their Master’s Degree or Certificate of Completion in Spiritual Psychology or their Master’s Degree or Certificate of Completion in Spiritual Psychology with an Emphasis in Consciousness, Health, and Healing.
Ron Announces a New Era
Click here to watch Ron’s Address
Dr. H. Ronald Hulnick began by acknowledging the global audience participating via live web stream. In addition to the 1,800-person full-capacity hall, there were approximately 500 viewers joining the celebration from more than 13 countries, including Australia, Canada, Colombia, Argentina, Mexico, United Kingdom, Brazil, Switzerland, United Arab Emirates, Finland, Germany, Thailand, United States, and others.
Ron acknowledged this 35th Graduation as a unique and historic event as the University moves into a new era of expansion and limitless opportunities in service to its Mission, “Communicating the Principles and Practices of Spiritual Psychology worldwide through the process of Soul-Centered Education.”
He cited an excerpt from John-Roger in the Founder’s Message,
“It’s time we place the spiritual energy down into the physical world and the way that we do that is through education. We shall teach and learn to cure ourselves rather than alleviate symptoms. We shall transcend to the point of going through something for the last time.”
Ron added, “Once we’re cured, very often we find we go through something for the last time. There’s no place for it to reside in our consciousness. We become free.” Ron noted that more than 5,500 USM graduates have experientially discovered this for themselves.
Ron charged the graduating classes with a responsibility to usher in the new era for USM by sharing what they’ve learned with those around them, and by daring to live a Soul-Centered life.
He expressed deep thanks to all the graduates of USM saying, “May this Gratitude extend throughout eternity into everything we do.”
Ron then introduced USM’s beloved Chief Creative Officer and Co-Director Dr. Mary R. Hulnick, saying she is “the most important person in every area of my life … the most loving, courageous person, my life’s partner whom I am so blessed to have.”
Mary Shares a Wellspring of Gratitude
With tenderness in her voice, Mary acknowledged the blessings of having witnessed so many graduating classes, the preciousness of their experiences together, and the most recent Second Year Retreat in the desert.
Glowing, she declared, “This is truly Soul-Centered Education, education that calls forward the awareness of your essential nature of Loving, Joy, Beauty, Compassion, and Creativity.”
She further expressed her Gratitude for the current graduates, as well as all those courageous Souls who have walked this path over the past 35 years. As the graduates and guests savored the historical significance of this sacred day, Mary offered words of Wisdom and insight. “Graduation is only the beginning. A competent USM graduate demonstrates a learning orientation to life and knows the ultimate competency is an unconditionally Loving consciousness. No matter what the question, the answer is Loving,” she said.
Acknowledging their commitment and strength of heart, Mary offered the graduates a direct challenge:
“You have earned these degrees; now let’s see what you do with them.”
297 Students Graduate
After Mary concluded her remarks, she welcomed Faculty member and Managing Director of Programs, Admissions & Marketing—and the inspiration behind USM’s online work—Licia Rester-Frazee, M.A., to the stage. She, along with Drs. Ron and Mary Hulnick, began the commencement ceremony by awarding 24 students with the Certificate of Completion in Spiritual Psychology. Then Faculty members Carrie Doubts, M.A., and Stephen McDonald, M.A., joined them on the stage to confer 128 Master’s of Arts degrees in Spiritual Psychology and facilitate a traditional hooding ceremony.
USM’s advanced third-year Consciousness, Health, and Healing Program explores how radiant health and wellbeing are influenced by Higher Consciousness, unresolved patterns, and by the process of Awakening in consciousness itself. Joined on stage by faculty member Johanna Jenkins, M.S.W., Ron & Mary awarded 23 students with Certificates of Completion in Spiritual Psychology with an Emphasis in Consciousness, Health, and Healing, and six more with Certificates of Completion for 30 Quarter Units of Advanced Graduate study. Faculty members Philip Barr, M.D., and Lili Goodman-Freitas, Ph.D., joined them for the traditional hooding of 117 students graduating with the Master of Arts Degree.
All of the graduates smiled radiantly as they each received their degrees, then paused for the tradition of moving their tassels from left to right—indicating the moment of transformation from student to graduate.
2016 USM Students of the Year Announced
As they do every year, Drs. Ron and Mary Hulnick then awarded two Spiritual Psychology graduates with Student of the Year Awards.
USM Honors Beloved Volunteers and the 2016 Angels of the Year at Graduation
Three Angel of the Year Awards were awarded by Drs. Ron and Mary Hulnick this year!
The Happiest Man in Britain!
Ron then introduced the much-anticipated Commencement Speaker Dr. Robert Holden as a coach extraordinaire and possibly “the most authentically happy person in Britain.” In addition to his many accolades, Ron noted Robert was the graduation speaker most congruent with USM’s teachings and called him, “a Soul brother.”
Commencement Speaker, World-Renowned Best-Selling Author, Speaker & Coach Dr. Robert Holden
Robert shared his personal journey as a student of psychology, and his discovery that it was missing some essential ingredients:
“In six years [of study] we only had one lecture on happiness … Imagine if you missed it!” He explained, “In hindsight, we didn’t study happiness because we didn’t understand that the purpose of happiness is to acquaint you with your true Self, help you follow your joy, encourage you, inspire you to be a renaissance worker on this planet …”
He expounded on the immense value of Spiritual Psychology today, “The world is suffering from psychology. Who we are doesn’t need to be cured. We are whole. We are blessed. We are loved.”
Robert then offered five lessons for the Graduates and guests to receive, savor, and remember.
A Milestone Occasion Marked by Timeless Wisdom
The words of warmth and Love shared from the stage this year by the founding faculty Drs. Ron and Mary Hulnick and by keynote speaker Robert Holden filled the graduating class with Joy and celebration and inspired everyone who attended. Singer extraordinaire Mortonette, accompanied by Ming Freeman, gave a stunning and emotional performance of the classic “Fields of Gold” to close the beautiful ceremony.
The 35th USM Graduation was a sacred, milestone occasion savored by all present—just as it has been since the very first graduation in 1981. Marked by the dedication of the founding faculty, the faculty members, the USM staff and volunteers, and, of course, by each graduate—for their personal courage and commitment to transform themselves and, thereby, transform the world around them.
As the USM graduating class of 2016 joins the ranks of the now more than 5,500 proud USM Graduates, the timeless Wisdoms and the awareness of Awakening into Love continue to be shared from our community to the communities at large and beyond …
Congratulations, USM Class of 2016!