Close to 8,000 students are eligible to receive their diplomas this spring, including an estimated 520 receiving their masters degrees and 430 receiving PhD's.
In all, there will be more than 60 separate graduation events held by various schools, colleges and departments between the morning of Friday, May 12, and the afternoon of Monday, May 22.
The commencement season began May 9 with the 1995 Commencement Convocation at which this year's top student, linguistics major Emily Ruth Bender, was named University Medalist.
The Priestley Award for leadership went to Judy Haiguang Kuo who is majoring in political economy of industrial society, and the Mather Award for good citizenship was awarded to John Derek Neuhaus who is majoring in both political science and history.
Speakers at the individual graduation ceremonies cover a wide spectrum, from Federal Reserve Member Janet Yellen to world renowned musician, actor and politician Ruben Blades.
Ira Michael Heyman, former Berkeley chancellor and current secretary of the Smithsonian Institution, addresses graduating seniors at the School of Environmental Design on May 21 at 10 a.m. at the Greek Theatre, while Yellen, a former professor as the business school, speaks to graduating seniors from the Department of Economics May 19 at 3 p.m. in the Greek Theatre.
Blades, a musician and actor who also made a run for the presidency of Panama last year, addresses graduates of the Chicano Studies Department on May 21 at 1 p.m. in Harmon Gymnasium. Accomplished theater and opera director Peter Sellars is to deliver the commencement address to students graduating with degrees in the dramatic arts at Zellerbach Playhouse May 20 at 2 p.m.
Sellars recently won acclaim for his staging of the modern opera "Nixon in China."
State Superintendent of Public Instruction Delaine Eastin speaks to seniors in the School of Optometry at Faculty Glade on May 20 at 1 p.m. And the Rev. Cecil Williams, minister of Glide Memorial Church, will speak at the School of Social Welfare's graduation in Zellerbach Auditorium on May 20 at 7 p.m.