Union Institute & University is pleased to present the 2021 in-person commencement ceremony to celebrate all eligible graduates from our undergraduate, master's, and doctoral programs. This year, the event will take place in Los Angeles, California. All graduates from all programs are invited to attend. In addition, any graduate who opted out of the ceremony in 2020, AND anyone who participated in the virtual ceremony in October 2020 are invited to join.


Date: Sunday, July 25, 2021
Time: 2 pm PT


Redondo Beach Performing Arts Center
1935 Manhattan Beach Blvd / Redondo Beach, CA  90278

Due to pandemic protocols, all attendees (graduates, guests) will be required to wear masks.

Please note: If you are unable to attend this commencement in California, approved graduates will be able to join the next in-person commencement in Cincinnati, Ohio in early July 2022.

2021 Commencement Keynote Speaker Dr. Nelson Soto

Nelson Soto

Dr. Nelson Edward Soto
Provost & Executive Vice President, Academic Affairs
Union Institute & University

Dr. Nelson Soto is provost and executive vice president for academic affairs, being named to the position in 2018, and having served Union since 2013. He holds a Ph.D. in educational policy studies from Indiana University, Bloomington, a master’s in education, and a bachelor of business administration from the University of Cincinnati.

As provost at Union, he is in the unique position to advance the university’s mission as a vehicle for change in the community through diversity and innovative education. He provides leadership in engaging and empowering adult learners in the larger society in which they live and work, building a mutually beneficial, expansive, and collaborative community that lives beyond the classroom.

Dr. Soto has focused his career on enabling and encouraging change and is deeply committed to ensuring that all individuals, no matter their background or circumstances, have access to higher education and opportunities to improve their own lives and those of their families.

Dr. Soto came to Union in 2013 from Harrison College in Indiana, where he was associate provost and vice president for curriculum and instruction.

Dr. Soto also served at Indiana University Purdue University Indianapolis, Indiana University; the University of Missouri-Columbia; and the University of Cincinnati.

Dr. Soto works with several non-profit boards, including Hoxworth Blood Center’s Community Advisory Board in Cincinnati, the Harvard Business Publishing Advisory Board, Cengage Advisory Board, Pearson Service Learning Board, and Harrison College’s Military Advisory Board.


Each approved graduate will be allowed four guest tickets. As we get closer to the event date this may change, but for now, we can only allow four tickets to ensure safety and comply with COVID protocols and precautions, as well as the venue’s requirements for large groups.


Bachelor’s and Master’s degree graduates purchase their regalia through the Herff Jones website. Approved graduates will be sent the link. The deadline to purchase regalia is June 29, 2021.

Doctoral degree graduates can rent their regalia with the same link, or purchase custom regalia by contacting The deadline to order custom regalia (either rental or purchase) is June 11, 2021.


Please direct any questions to or 513.487.1165