Palm Beach Atlantic University

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July 06, 2015

Live, From West Palm Beach, It's Commencement

May 8, 2010
May 8, 2010

More than 450 students officially became Palm Beach Atlantic University graduates on Saturday.

Only one paused to do a handstand as she crossed the stage.

SNL alumna Victoria Jackson stands on her hands moments after receiving her degree from University President Lu Hardin, right.

Actress and Saturday Night Live alumna Victoria Jackson, who earned a bachelor of arts degree in screenacting from PBA, performed her signature handstand and held it for several seconds after receiving her diploma from University President Lu Hardin.

The audience at the Palm Beach County Convention Center cheered as her stunt revealed a sign attached to her leg. The sign bore a verse: Luke 1:37.

The squeaky-voiced, ukulele-playing comedienne said the verse, which reads, For with God, nothing shall be impossible, is her favorite.

It's impossible to be 50 years old and hold a handstand, said Jackson, who attended classes at PBA while living in Miami. It's impossible to go back to college after 30 years.

Jackson first enrolled at Florida Bible College in Hollywood, Fla., in 1976. She later attended Furman University in Greenville, S.C., on a gymnastics scholarship. While studying English there, she was cast in a play, and she soon developed an interest in theater. She also attended Auburn University in Alabama for a year before leaving for Hollywood, Calif., in the early 1980s.

Years later, while living in Miami, she decided to go back to school to complete her coursework after her daughter, Scarlet, enrolled at PBA.


Brandon Hiltibidal (Jackson's son-in-law), Scarlet Hiltibidal (daughter), Victoria Jackson, Aubrey Wessel (daughter) and Paul Wessel (husband).

I always wanted to finish. I don't like leaving things unfinished, Jackson said.Although she technically earned her degree in the fall, this spring was her first opportunity to be present for commencement, said Jackson, who now lives in California. Her entire family, including her father, Jim Jackson, attended the ceremony.

Also among the ceremony's highlights were remarks by two of the outstanding graduates of the spring class, Ashley Albert and Andrew Darr. The keynote speaker was Robert Simpson, chairman of the PBA Board of Trustees and president and co-owner of Palm Beach Motor Cars.

Simpson, a former engineer and project manager for an international company, told the graduates that they possess attributes that employers seek. You are exactly what I want in a prospective employee, Simpson said, adding, You are awesome!

He also offered words of advice. True happiness and joy will come from having and nurturing meaningful relationships with your and friends, your family and those you meet in life. It will also come from serving others and having a servant's heart, he said.

He also told the class to pursue their passion, that one thing you would do even if you did not receive compensation for it.

And finally, remember why you are awesome. You possess a toolbox full of many extraordinary and desirable attributes, but remember to keep adding to them as you go through life, he said.

Many of the University's trustees were present onstage with Simpson during the ceremony. Trustee Wayne Cotton delivered the invocation.

This year, the entire ceremony was streamed live via the Internet. Viewers were able to tune in by accessing the University's home page.

05/2010General News


You can read Palm Beach Atlantic University's outstanding student newspaper "The Beacon" in print, on the web or via the University's free mobile app, Palm PBA. PBAU is a private, Christ-first college in West Palm Beach, Florida, USA.


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