Thirty receive degrees

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The Salvation Army Institute for Theological Education (IBET) recently celebrated its first graduation. Founded in 2000, IBET serves the Army as a school of higher education for Latino officers and soldiers, with a main campus in Santa Ana, Calif., and extensions in Long Beach and Los Angeles.

During the graduation ceremony at the Long Beach Convention Center’s Terrace Theater, 30 students received degrees—19 Bachelors in Ministry and 11 Associates in Ministry. Lt. Colonel Raymond Peacock, president of Crestmont College, reminded graduates that only one has “truly graduated” to perfection—Jesus Christ. Peacock urged the graduates “to continue to be one in the body in order to continue growing and maturing in your faith.”

Lt. Colonel Alicia Burger, assistant provost of Crestmont College, and Lt. Colonel Alfred Van Cleef, Southern California divisional commander and president of IBET, presented the graduates with their degrees. Captain Francisco Flores of the Belvedere Gardens Corps received the Commissioner’s Award in recognition of the highest grade point average. Next, the first Van Cleef Award for best attendance was presented to soldier Gilberto González of the Hollywood Corps.

Flores, the graduates’ representative, thanked Lt. Colonel Douglas O’Brien, Van Cleef, and Captain Oscar Tippol, director of IBET, whose idea it was to create the institute with the mission of training Latinos to become effective leaders in their corps. Van Cleef referred to this event as a “historic moment for The Salvation Army” and presented a Certificate of Recognition to Tippol for his dedication to IBET.

At the close of the service, Van Cleef appealed to those who felt the call to become officers, and 24 individuals responded.
For more information on IBET, contact the main campus in Santa Ana at (714) 545-2937, the Long Beach extension at (562) 426-7637, or the Los Angeles extension at (323) 960-0640.

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