UC Berkeley News
Press Release

UC Berkeley Press Release

Commencement Convocation this Wednesday

– Network television news reporter Bob Woodruff, Nobel-winning geneticist Andrew Fire and Lt. Gen. Daniel Leaf, deputy commander of the U.S. Air Force, are among the diverse luminaries set to offer inspiration and practical advice this month to graduates at the University of California, Berkeley.

Ceremonies begin this Wednesday, May 9, at 4 p.m. with Commencement Convocation, an event for all graduating seniors at the campus's Greek Theatre. Diplomas will not be awarded at that event - held to honor all graduating seniors and their families - but instead at dozens of individual ceremonies held through May 21 by the campus's schools, colleges and departments.

At least 10,000 students are expected to receive diplomas at their respective commencement ceremonies. Approximately 6,800 bachelor's degrees will be conferred and more than 3,000 master's, doctoral and professional degrees are to be awarded.

Wednesday's convocation includes a procession of students and faculty in colorful regalia. UC Berkeley Chancellor Robert J. Birgeneau will address the graduates and their families, as will student and alumni speakers.

Asking students to use their power and knowledge to better the lives of the less privileged will be top graduating senior Adrian Down, a double major in math and physics. Down will receive the coveted University Medal at convocation for his advanced physics research, math and science mentoring, ecological practices and efforts to grow organic fruits and vegetables and distribute them to low-income neighborhoods. (Read more about Down at: http://www.berkeley.edu/news/media/releases/2007/05/02_medalist.shtml)

Woodruff, a veteran journalist who was seriously injured last year covering the war in Iraq for ABC news, will talk to graduates on Saturday, May 12, at 10:30 a.m. at the Graduate School of Journalism at North Gate Hall.

Among the other scheduled graduation speakers this spring are:

Saturday, May 12

  • Patricia Gandara, co-director of the Civil Rights Project at UCLA. She will speak at the Graduate School of Education commencement at 2 p.m. in Zellerbach Auditorium.

Sunday, May 13

  • Kate Levin, UC Berkeley alumna and commissioner of the New York City Department of Cultural Affairs. She will speak to English Department graduates at 3 p.m. at the Greek Theatre.

Wednesday, May 16

  • Carey Perloff, artistic director at the American Conservatory Theater. Perloff will address Department of Theater, Dance and Performance Studies graduates at 2 p.m. at Zellerbach Playhouse.

Thursday, May 17

  • Sabeer Bhatia, founder of Hotmail and named by Time magazine in 2002 as one of the "People to Watch" in international business. He will address graduates in Peace and Conflict Studies, Political Economy, Conservation Research Studies, Latin American Studies and Middle Eastern Studies at 3 p.m. in Zellerbach Auditorium.

Friday, May 18

  • Robin G. Kelley, professor of anthropology and African American Studies at New York's Columbia University and author of "Freedom Dreams: The Black Radical Imagination," will speak to ethnic studies graduates at 1 p.m. at the Zellerbach Playhouse.
  • Brett Cooke-Dizney, an artist, will address art practice graduates at 3 p.m. at the Berkeley Art Museum Sculpture Garden.
  • Sylvester Gates Jr., director of the Center for String and Particle Theory at the University of Maryland, will speak to astronomy, physics and physical science graduates at 7 p.m. at the Zellerbach Auditorium.

Saturday, May 19

  • Lt. General Daniel Leaf, deputy commander of the U.S. Air Force, who will speak to graduate students getting their diplomas in aerospace studies at noon in the Carnelian Room in San Francisco.

Sunday, May 20

  • Florence Muringi Wambugu, a plant pathologist and virologist who uses biotechnology to increase food production in Africa, will speak to graduates in the College of Natural Resources at 9:30 a.m. in the Chancellor's Esplanade.
  • Marc Benioff, chairman and CEO of salesforce.com and leader in on-demand information services, will speak to the Haas Graduate School of Business graduates at 2 p.m. at the Greek Theatre.

Monday, May 21

  • Andrew Fire, Stanford University geneticist and UC Berkeley alumnus who shared the 2006 Nobel Prize in physiology and medicine. He will speak to mathematics graduates at 2 pm. At Zellerbach Auditorium.