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Cornerstone University Announces 2023 Commencement Speaker

2023 Commencement March 3, 2023

Cornerstone University is pleased to announce Rev. Samuel Rodriguez, founder and president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, as the university’s esteemed Commencement speaker on May 6, 2023, at 1 p.m. The university will celebrate its 81st Commencement ceremonies, honoring 340 graduates educated through academically excellent, bold, Christ-centered, influential undergraduate, graduate and theology degrees that serve the marketplace and ministries in Michigan and beyond.

“Reverend Samuel Rodriguez epitomizes Cornerstone University’s mission to educate bold, courageous men and women who will deeply love scripture and relentlessly pursue and spread the gospel of Jesus Christ,” said Dr. Gerson Moreno-Riaño, president of Cornerstone University. “Our graduates and guests will be greatly inspired by this internationally influential leader who will encourage and charge our graduates and guests in their callings.”

Rodriguez most recently participated as a special guest panelist in Cornerstone University’s Oct. 27, Wisdom Conversations event titled, “How Should We Live Today? God, the Bible and Human Flourishing,” enjoyed by nearly 400 campus and community guests from the Grand Rapids region.

Rodriguez founded and serves as president of the National Hispanic Christian Leadership Conference, the world’s largest Hispanic evangelical organization with over 42,000 U.S. churches and many others spread throughout the Spanish-speaking diaspora.

He has advised Presidents George W. Bush, Barack Obama and Donald Trump, and he frequently consults with Congress, advancing immigration and criminal justice reform as well as religious freedom and Pro-LIFE initiatives. 

In 2017, he became the first Assemblies of God minister and Latino evangelical to participate in a presidential inauguration ceremony, viewed by over 1 billion people around the world, reading from Matthew 5 and concluding with “In Jesus name!”

The Wall Street Journal named him one of the top 12 Latino leaders, the only faith leader on that list. He has been named among the “Top 100 Christian Leaders in America” (Newsmax, 2018) and nominated as one of the “100 most influential people in the world” (TIME, 2013). 

Rodriguez was the first Latino to deliver the keynote address at the annual The Martin Luther King Jr. Commemorative Service at Ebenezer Baptist Church and is the recipient of the Martin Luther King Jr. Leadership Award presented by the Congress of Racial Equality.

He earned his master’s degree from Lehigh University and received honorary doctorates from Northwest, William Jessup University and Baptist University of the Americas. 

Rodriguez serves as senior pastor of New Season Church, one of America’s fastest growing megachurches and #13 on Newsmax’s Top 50 megachurches in America, with campuses in Los Angeles and Sacramento, Calif., where he resides with his wife, Eva, and their three children.

Cornerstone’s Commencement ceremony begins at 1 p.m. on May 6, 2023, in the Bernice Hansen Athletic Center. More details on 2023 Commencement ceremony can be found here.

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