08:02 AM

Hundreds Receive Diplomas at Bellevue University Winter Commencement

On Saturday, Jan. 29, nearly 500 Bellevue University students crossed the stage at the Mid-America Center in Council Bluffs, Iowa, to receive their diplomas at the University’s winter commencement ceremony.

Among the graduates was Isaac Tongo, student speaker, who earned a Bachelor of Science in Leadership degree. Tongo, who was born in the Upper Nile State of South Sudan, currently serves as a Non-Commissioned Officer in the United States Army.

The ceremony also featured Darryl Strawberry, former Major League Baseball player and World Series champion, as the winter commencement speaker. Strawberry’s speech centered on resilience and perseverance in the face of various challenges. 

“The key to life is getting back up no matter how many times you fall," Strawberry said. 

Since leaving baseball, Strawberry has transformed his life and he shares his own story of redemption to audiences around the country.

As the ceremony concluded, Bellevue University President Mary Hawkins told the new graduates, “You define the value of your degree. Never underestimate the power of education and its impact on your family, your workplace and your community.”

According to University Registrar Colette Lewis, the University conferred 697 degrees from Oct. 1, 2021 through Dec. 31, 2021. This includes 485 undergraduate degrees and 212 master’s degrees. Two students also received their doctoral degrees. Bellevue University now has nearly 60,000 graduates worldwide.

Graduates and guests were strongly encouraged to wear a mask regardless of their vaccination status. 

The University streamed the commencement ceremony live so those who could not attend had an opportunity to see students receive their diplomas.

Click here to watch Student Speaker Isaac Tongo's speech.

Click here to watch Commencement Speaker Darryl Strawberry's speech.