Sending graduating students into the real world with the help of a spiritual ceremony featuring celebrity David Archuleta is the mission for the Chapman Baccalaureate Interfaith Service.
“We are hearing a lot of excitement,” said Gail Stearns, dean of the Wallace All Faiths Chapel. “People want to come and tickets are going really fast so people seem really excited about having him.”
Runner-up American Idol Season 7 contestant Archuleta will be singing and speaking at the baccalaureate service May 20 in the Musco Center for the Arts at 4 p.m as a part of the spiritual ceremony for graduating seniors.
A baccalaureate is an inspirational and a traditionally religious service for graduates. As Chapman is an interfaith campus, the service will be about the students following their own journeys, whether they’re religious or not, Stearns said.
Archuleta was chosen because of his connection to Mormonism and passion for the Latter Day Saints, Stearns said. Although Archuleta will be singing some of his music, he is being paid a fraction of the cost of a regular concert, Stearns said.
“What we do is we look for people that are really motivated by either their faith or spiritual traditions or in some way can talk about what it means to do their art as a form of service,” Stearns said.
Valarie Kaur, a member of the Sikh religion and an inspirational social justice speaker, will join Archuleta onstage, Stearns said.
The Fish Interfaith Center Advisory Council, which is made up of students, faculty and members of the Orange County community that are involved in interfaith work, select the speakers each year, Stearns said.
“I think what I’m really excited about is we have these two people, David Archuleta and Valarie Kaur, both of whom are both really inspirational people because they come from a very deep place within themselves and consider their work really a service,” Stearns said.
Rachael Cohen, president of Chapman Hillel and a past member of the advisory council, is volunteering her time to help out with the event.
“I think people are surprised by it because David Archuleta sort of flew under the radar for a couple of years, but I think people are generally excited about him coming for baccalaureate,” the junior strategic and corporate communication major said. “I am excited to actually see what baccalaureate is. I’ve been hearing about it for three years and I’ve never actually seen what it is.”
The event is co-sponsored by the Argyros School of Business and Economics, the College of Educational Studies, the Huntington Lectureship in the Department of Religious Studies, the Newman Catholic Fellowship and the Student Government Association.
Krista Hengesh, a senior public relations and advertising major, said she is not able to attend the event as she has her graduation party.
“Honestly, I’m really disappointed I can’t go,” Hengesh said. “I think it would be awesome to hear him speak and sing.”
Stearns said she thinks the event will be meaningful.
“I think it also really demonstrates Chapman’s commitment to interfaith and two different viewpoints, so that’s one of the things we really want to showcase and just really give the graduates a very meaningful send off,” she said.