LCU holds 169th commencement ceremonies at home

Louisiana Christian University held its first commencement ceremonies on campus in many years in the Guinn Auditorium on Saturday.

Diplomas were awarded to 195 graduates during two ceremonies, at 10 a.m. and 2 p.m. Of those, 146 received bachelor’s and associate degrees, and 49 earned their master’s degrees. Graduates of December 2023, May 2024 and August 2024 participated in the ceremony.

Students represented eight states and three foreign countries, and 49 of the graduates earned Latin honors in recognition of their exceptional academic pursuits. Six graduates earned a perfect 4.0 GPA.

The Class of 2024 will be remembered for being the class of COVID-19, the freshmen who began their collegiate journey while we were all masked up and socially distant–after they finished their high school careers abruptly in March when schools shuttered across the country and sent students home to complete the year online.

“Resilient, strong and determined are three words that describe Louisiana Christian University’s Class of 2024,” said Dr. Cheryl Clark, provost and vice president for Academic Affairs. “They persevered and met every challenge thrown at them throughout their college experience, including a global pandemic, and transformed into problem-solvers, critical thinkers, and creative graduates who can adapt and succeed wherever they land. Today, we celebrate their academic success and achievements as they begin a new chapter in their lives.”

Rather than a traditional graduation speaker this year, LCU let the graduates have the floor.

Laura Aime, Student Government Association president, a history major from Baton Rouge, shared from her experiences at LCU.

“Through my time here,” Aime said, “I have seen again and again the importance of relying on and trusting in God and His plan for my life. Romans 15:13 declares, ‘May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit.’ As we graduate and move on to our next steps, I encourage each of you to always remember this verse. Place your hope in Christ and be confident in and rely on Him. My time at LCU helped me to remember to focus on this and to truly rely on Him.”

Several other outstanding graduates spoke during the commencement exercises. Devin Briscoe, of Breaux Bridge; Noel Schonhoff, of Slidell; and Victoria Watson, of New Iberia; spoke at 10 a.m. Olivia Scott, of Lafayette; and Sal Palermo III, of Walker; spoke at 2 p.m.

“My time at LCU has been nothing but memorable,” Watson told the audience. “My first semester here was August of 2020. I experienced online classes and social distancing, which wasn’t my plan for my first semester of college. But, class of 2024, we got through it!

“LCU has impacted every aspect of my life and for that, I could not be more thankful. I’m so thankful to be taught by the professors here and have them help me learn how to tell stories for the world to read. After graduation, I get to stay close to my LCU family and work at KALB as a producer and multi-media journalist. Without my education here at LCU, I would not have had the hands-on experience that I had starting my freshman year that got me to where I am going.”

Schonhoff, who graduated in a separate ceremony for softball and baseball players Wednesday (see related story), spoke of the significance that both LCU athletics and academics played in her journey. Schonhoff said she was diagnosed with learning disabilities and labeled in high school and constantly got diminished, so she never could have imagined this day.

“I was always ‘no’ until Coach Barry Roberts gave me my ‘yes,’” she said. “He was the first person outside of my parents to take a chance on me, little did he know he would impact my life forever. When I stepped on campus, I had no idea that before graduating I would travel across the country to live in Alaska, that I would step away from softball to find my calling in telling the stories of athletes, and most importantly would say ‘yes’ to Jesus Christ.”

While her time as a student at LCU has ended, she said, the choice to attend the university will change her life’s journey forever.

LCU Acting President Dr. David Jeffreys, who presented the graduates with their diplomas, praised the students for finishing their academic journey well.

“You all represent many different majors, families and hometowns,” Jeffreys said. “And you’ve each had different obstacles and accolades during your time at LCU, but you all have two things in common–you are now college graduates, and you will forever be Wildcats. I am proud of each and every one of you.



Media Release | May 6, 2024 | Pineville, Louisiana
Contact: Dr. Elizabeth B. Clarke, Director of University Communications |