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AU's Spring 2019 Commencement Set for May 4; Dr. Rick Warren to be Speaker

Ashland University's Spring 2019 Commencement will be held May 4, 2019, at 10 a.m. at the Dwight Schar Athletic Complex’s Miller Stadium off Broad Street. The ceremony will be for both undergraduate and graduate students and will begin at 10 a.m., with the procession to begin at approximately 9:50 a.m. No tickets will be required for this outside event.  The speaker for this event is Dr. Rick Warren, founder and senior pastor of Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif.


In the event of rain, the ceremony will be held in Kates Gymnasium inside the Physical Education Center and live streamed at various other locations on campus. If the event is indoors, graduating students will receive three tickets to allow members of their family to attend the indoor ceremony. These tickets are included in the graduation packet that students pick up at the Bookstore.

The commencement ceremony will be live streamed at and additional seating will be available in the Student Center Eagles' Nest, the Student Center Auditorium and the Jack and Deb Miller Chapel, where the ceremony will be broadcast live at each venue. A buffet luncheon will be held in Myers Convocation Center following the ceremonies and those attending can order tickets on this website or buy tickets at the door. 

Dr. Rick Warren, often called “America's most influential spiritual leader,” is a pastor, global strategist, theologian and philanthropist. In 1980, Warren and his wife Kay were just 26 years old when they founded Saddleback Church in Lake Forest, Calif., with their infant daughter Amy and one other family. Born in San Jose, Calif., Pastor Warren earned a Bachelor of Arts from California Baptist University, a Master of Divinity from Southwestern Theological Seminary, and a Doctor of Ministry from Fuller Theological Seminary. 

Over 40,000 people have become members at Saddleback Church across 19 locations, including four international campuses, and an online campus with listeners from around the world. Saddleback also has more than 300 ministries, including the nationally recognized Celebrate Recovery, a Christ-centered recovery program now implemented in churches, jails and prisons. The church recently celebrated their 50,000th baptism.

TIME magazine named Warren one of “15 World Leaders Who Mattered Most” and one of the “100 Most Influential People in the World.” Also, U.S. News & World Report named him one of “America’s 25 Best Leaders.” Pastor Warren’s radio and broadcast ministry, Daily Hope, seeks to bring the Gospel to the 2,900 remaining unengaged unreached people groups around the world. More than 14 million listeners and 700,000 Daily Hope Devotional subscribers receive practical wisdom from God’s Word.

Since founding Saddleback Church, Warren has become one of the world’s leading pastors. He continues to mentor young leaders, and many of today’s leading pastors’ credit him and his book, The Purpose Driven Church, for inspiring them to pursue their own callings to ministry. The Purpose Driven Church is listed in “100 Christian Books That Changed the 20th Century.” Forbes magazine called it "the best book on entrepreneurship, management and leadership in print.”

Warren founded —an online interactive community that provides sermons, forums and other practice resources for pastors. He leads the Purpose Driven network of churches, having trained more than 400,000 pastors in more than 160 countries offering training, teaching and empowering pastors to build Purpose Driven churches around the five purposes of the church.  In addition, his New York Times best-selling book The Purpose Driven Life has sold more than 50 million copies and has been translated into more than 100 languages.

As a global strategist, Warren advises leaders in the public, private and faith sectors on leadership development, poverty, health, education and faith in culture. He has been invited to give the Inaugural Prayer for President Obama, speak at the United Nations, the World Economic Forum in Davos, the African Union, Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government, TIME’s Global Health Summit, TED talks, and numerous congresses around the world.

As a theologian, Warren has lectured at Oxford, Cambridge, Harvard, the Evangelical Theological Society, the Vatican, and numerous seminaries and universities. His six books are known for explaining theology in understandable ways.

As philanthropists, Rick and Kay Warren give away 90 percent of their income through three foundations: Acts of Mercy, which serves those infected and affected by HIV/AIDS and those struggling with mental health; Equipping the Church, which trains church leaders in developing countries; and The Global PEACE Plan, which fights poverty, disease and illiteracy.

Over 15 years ago, a trip to South Africa literally changed the trajectory of Pastor Warren’s life and mission. God gave him a vision for The PEACE Plan, a mission to fight the five giants of spiritual emptiness, self-serving leadership, poverty, pandemic disease, and illiteracy that devastate the lives of men, women and children around the world. Saddleback Church has been instrumental in helping Rwanda recover after the genocide. Rwanda has become a Purpose Driven country. Once devastated by civil unrest, Rwanda has recently reduced the level of poverty and number of orphans while boosting health care and revitalizing the church – a model now moving to South America.  

Rick and Kay Warren consider it their life’s work to empower churches and leaders to create sustainable change that gives a voice to the voiceless and help to the helpless. In 2020, they will celebrate 40 years of leading Saddleback Church.


View Past Ceremonies

Winter 2018 Commencement

Dr. Steve Fuller

Speaker - Dr. Steve Fuller
View Winter '18 Commencement

Spring 2018 Commencement

Dr. Tracy Ringo, Ashland University's Spring 2018 commencement speaker

Speaker - Dr. Tracy Ringo
View Spring '18 Commencement

Winter 2017 Commencement

Dr. Steven Benner, Ashland University's Winter 2017 Commencement speaker

Speaker - Dr. Steven Benner
View Winter '17 Commencement

Spring 2017 Commencement

Senator Rob Portman, Ashland University's Spring 2017 Commencement Speaker

Speaker - Sen. Rob Portman
View Spring '17 Commencement

Winter 2016 Commencement

Fred Broad, Ashland University's Winter 2016 Commencement Speaker

Speaker - Fred Broad
View Winter '16 Commencement

Spring 2016 Commencement

Hugh Hewitt, Ashland University Commencement Speaker, Spring 2016

Speaker - Hugh Hewitt
View Spring '16 Commencement

Winter 2015 Commencement

Mark Kvamme, Winter 2015 Commencement Speaker

Speaker - Mark Kvamme
View Winter '15 Commencement

Spring 2015 Commencement

Sue Ramsey, Former Ashland University Women's Basketball Coach, Spring 2015 Commencement Speaker

Speaker - Sue Ramsey
View Spring '15 Commencement

Spring 2014 Commencement

William G. Batchhelder

Speaker - William G. Batchelder
View Spring '14 Commencement

Winter 2013 Commencement

Winter 2013 Commencement speaker David P. Blom

Speaker - David P. Blom
View Winter '13 Commencement

Spring 2013 Commencement

donald jakeway

Speaker - Donald Jakeway
View Spring '13 Commencement

Winter 2012 Commencement

Speaker - Dr. Donald Rinehart

Speaker - Dr. Donald Rinehart
View Winter '12 Commencement

Spring 2012 Commencement

Speaker - Arie Lipsky

Speaker - Arie Lipsky
View Spring '12 Commencement

Winter 2011 Commencement

Speaker - Jerry Ruyan

Speaker - Jerry Ruyan
View Winter '11 Commencement

Spring 2011 Commencement

Speaker - Sherrod Brown

Speaker - Sherrod Brown
View Spring '11 Commencement