Students tap Janet Reno as keynote speaker


janet reno

Former U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno

18 April 2001 | At the invitation of students, former U.S. Attorney General Janet Reno will be the keynote speaker at the 2001 Commencement Convocation. The event, to be held Wednesday, May 9, is an annual gathering honoring all graduating seniors.

Reno was among the most requested keynote speakers for Commencement Convocation in a survey last summer of more than 9,000 campus students eligible to be seniors in fall 2001, said senior Humaira Merchant.

Merchant cited Reno’s “liberal and progressive policies,” and the fact that she was the nation’s first female attorney general.

“You have paved a path for women in politics that many are sure to follow,” wrote Merchant, vice president for commencement, and Phillip Yim, president for commencement, in a Feb. 2, 2001 letter to Reno.

As U.S. attorney general from 1993 to 2001, Reno was responsible for enforcing federal laws and defending the government in court. She follows other notable individuals — including Secretary of State Madeleine Albright, comedian Bill Cosby, writer Terry McMillan, and Apple Computers founder Steve Wozniak — who have been keynote speakers at Commencement Convocation.

Merchant said she and others planning the 4 p.m. gathering at the Greek Theatre “are proud that students played such a key role in selecting the speaker.”

No diplomas are awarded at Commencement Convocation. Instead, they are distributed at dozens of departmental graduations held throughout May. Only graduating seniors and their guests may obtain tickets to attend Commencement Convocation.

New at Commencement Convocation this year will be a procession into the amphitheater of seniors wearing academic gowns. In past years, students dressed more casually — only about 100 would wear regalia — and did not file in or sit together.

This year, interested seniors will begin the procession at Kleeberger Field, across the street from the Greek Theatre. Dressed in academic regalia, they will sit together in special seating, apart from their families. Participation in this procession and seating arrangement is optional.

Said Merchant, “We think this new feature will make it feel more like a graduation.”


Home | Search | Archive | About | Contact | More News

Copyright 2000, The Regents of the University of California.
Produced and maintained by the Office of Public Affairs at UC Berkeley.

Comments? E-mail