UCLA Extension honored recent graduates from its professional certificate programs in a ceremony held for the first time at UCLA's Pauley Pavilion on June 17. More than 700 students and nearly 3,000 of their friends, family members and supporters were on hand for the celebration.

UCLA Extension student

"This is our largest ever class, and we're really proud of that," said Dean Eric A. Bullard, adding that it was a day of "pride and excitement" for the graduates and their loved ones.

UCLA Extension graduation at Pauley Pavilion

Joined on stage by academic deans and executive staff, Bullard urged graduates to continue learning, and commended them for the "tenacity and drive" they demonstrated in earning their certificates.

"You've shown that you are ready to meet any challenge, to persevere and to make a positive impact in your fields and your communities," Bullard told the graduating class. "I have no doubt that the lessons you've learned, the friendships you've gained, and the memories of the goals you've set and surpassed will stay with you in the years ahead."

UCLA Extension graduation ceremony

Karim Webb, an activist and entrepreneur whose work focuses on bringing economic opportunity to underserved communities, drew on his experience growing up in Rowland Heights, in the San Gabriel Valley, to encourage graduates to use what they learned at UCLA Extension to help others.

Keynote speaker Karim Webb

"You are the cultivated promise of not only L.A. or California, but really of the world," Webb said. "The challenges we face are daunting, but in each of you there is potential for the way we want it to be, for progress, for the right tomorrow."

The crowd at Pauley Pavilion cheered loudly as the graduates crossed the stage to shake hands with the dean and accept their certificates. Many had come from as far away as Brazil, France and China to show their support.

Crowd at UCLA Extension graduation ceremony

After the ceremony, graduates stopped to celebrate and take photos on the UCLA campus with their guests and classmates. Carolina Rivera, who was on hand to see her daughter receive a certificate in paralegal studies, said it was a perfect occasion to honor students' achievements and cheer them on in the next steps in their lives and careers. 

"I'm just really proud of my daughter and ready to see what she does next," Rivera said. 


To see more photos of the event, visit our online gallery.
All photos by Karim Saafir