LA VERNE - The University of La Verne was teeming all day Saturday with graduates excited to finish one chapter in their lives and ready for another to begin.

About 1,000 students donned their caps and gowns and took that walk into the campus Sports Scene and Athletic Pavilion and emerged as graduates.

"I'm so excited," said Niramol Petchudom, 32, who graduated with a master of science degree in leadership management on Saturday. "It's a good day today."

Petchudom, a native of Thailand who lives in Fontana, arrived in the United State in 2010 looking to better herself and her family.

Although Petchudom may have been a little older than most of her classmates and may have had times when the language barrier posed some issues, she never let that stop her.

"The learning is non-stop," she said as her aunt, Pim Kanchan, adjusted a flower crown on her niece's head. "You have to always learn and meet new people and move forward."

Surrounded by her family, Petchudom happily took photographs in front of the university's sign.

"We are very happy and proud of her," Kanchan said.

Petchudom said she hopes to return to Thailand one day and use what she learned at ULV.

Petchudom participated in the third and final winter commencement ceremony of the day. The first took place at 9:30 a.m. and the second at 1 p.m.

"On this very special day, we gather as the La Verne family to celebrate your accomplishments as you commence the beginning of so many opportunities as a graduate of the University of La Verne," said ULV President Devorah Lieberman in a written statement to the graduates.

At the conclusion of the ceremony, excited family members searched the crowd looking to reunite with their loved ones.

Mothers, fathers, aunts, uncles, friends, children and even grandchildren embraced their graduates telling them they were proud of their accomplishments.


Reach Beatriz via email, call her at 909-386-3921, or find her on Twitter @IEBeatriz.