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April 25, 2018

AZ Business Magazine

GCU will celebrate its largest graduating class

What started as one of the most significant school years in Grand Canyon University’s 69-year history will end that way, as the university boasts its largest graduating class yet.

All told, GCU will confer 9,009 degrees this semester for its traditional-aged and working adult students, with many of those participating in eight commencement ceremonies April 26-28 at GCU Arena.

The university also will celebrate the first official graduating classes of its computer science and worship arts programs.

“It has been a banner year for our students, faculty and staff,” said Brian Mueller, GCU’s president. “Now, we are eager to see the positive difference our graduates will make in the workforce and their communities.”

Last August, GCU welcomed a record 19,000-plus students on its Phoenix campus, including nearly 7,000 new students who carried an average incoming GPA of 3.5. The university’s Honors College also grew to 1,600 students who carried an average incoming GPA of 4.1.

Among its other notable achievements, GCU received approval from the Higher Learning Commission on its application to become a non-profit institution. This was a major step in the process to return the university to its historical roots and put the school on a level playing field with other traditional universities with regard to tax status, along with the ability to accept philanthropic contributions, pursue research grant opportunities and participate in NCAA governance. Mueller said the university is finalizing details to complete the transition by June.

GCU continued its efforts to make higher education accessible and affordable by announcing that it would freeze tuition on its ground campus for the 10th consecutive year, while adding to its growing academic programs. Among the additions were six cutting-edge laboratories at GCU’s 170,000-square-foot engineering building.

The university also opened the Arizona Cyber Warfare Range-Metro Phoenix at its commercial hub on 27th Avenue and Camelback Road and kicked off a plethora of construction projects, including two apartment-style residence halls, the new Colangelo College of Business building, upgrades to athletic facilities, and another parking structure.

Performance areas were also in the spotlight, as the speech and debate team achieved a No. 14 national ranking in parliamentary debate, while there were many highly acclaimed theater, dance and music performances.

GCU also completed its four-year transition to NCAA Division I athletics and became postseason-eligible for the first time. In its first shot at the Western Athletic Conference Tournament, the Lopes men’s basketball team reached the championship game but came up one victory short of qualifying for the NCAA Tournament in its first attempt.

“From the caliber and character of our students to academics, athletics and campus life, GCU has made tremendous strides during the past year,” Mueller said. “We anticipate a busy summer leading up to what promises to be an even bigger fall of 2018.”