UC Berkeley News


Jihad vs. McWorld author to keynote Commencement
Other well-known speakers, from Beatty and Dowd to Newsom and Doerr, to grace school and department podia

| 04 May 2005

Political theorist Benjamin Barber, actor Warren Beatty, New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd, Nobel Prize-winning physicist David Gross, and San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom are among the speakers at this year's graduation ceremonies, which will take place between May 11 and 23.

The Class of 2005 selected Barber as the keynote speaker for Commencement Convocation, to be held at 4 p.m. on Wednesday, May 11, at the Greek Theatre. Barber is the Gershon and Carrol Kekst Professor of Civil Society at the University of Maryland and a founder of The Democracy Collaborative, a nonprofit think tank affiliated with that university. Barber has been a consultant in the United States and abroad for political and civil leaders, including former President Bill Clinton.

Barber has written 17 books, including the classic Strong Democracy (1984) and the 1994 international bestseller Jihad vs. McWorld: Terrorism's Challenge to Democracy, both of which have been widely used as textbooks. A frequent lecturer at Berkeley over the years, he plans to address the role of young people in a world of increasing interdependence and the role of the youth market in the infantilization of global consumers.

Chancellor Robert Birgeneau will give his first commencement address at the ceremony, and the graduates will also hear from the top graduating senior, history major Alejandra Dubcovsky. She will receive the coveted University Medal at the event for her academic work analyzing slave letters and for other outstanding accomplishments.

A check will be presented to Birgeneau with the final total of the 2005 Senior Class Gift - expected to be about $40,000. This year's senior gift will go to The Cal Fund to provide broad support for undergraduate education and student life at Berkeley, said Dawn Kobata, the campus's student and parent development coordinator. In addition, a Berkeley alumnus has agreed to match all senior gifts, dollar for dollar, up to $100,000.

Diplomas are not awarded at Commencement Convocation, which honors all students earning undergraduate and graduate degrees during the 2004-05 school year. Degree certificates will be handed out at individual ceremonies held by some 50 schools, colleges, and departments.

Many of the upcoming individual graduation ceremonies are drawing nationally known figures to speak. They include:

Wednesday, May 11

Maria Mavroudi, history professor and recipient of a 2004 MacArthur "genius" fellowship, Department of Near Eastern Studies, 2 p.m., Lipman Room, Barrows Hall.

Thursday, May 12

Rock critic Greil Marcus, combined ceremony for Film Studies program and Department of Rhetoric, 2 p.m., Zellerbach Hall. 

Saturday, May 14

San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom, School of Law (Boalt Hall), 9 a.m., Greek Theatre.

New York Times columnist Maureen Dowd, Graduate School of Journalism, noon, North Gate Hall courtyard.

Thursday, May 19

William Dudley, chief economist for Goldman Sachs, Department of Economics, 2 p.m., Greek Theatre.

Friday, May 20

Phil Bronstein, editor of the San Francisco Chronicle, Undergraduate and Interdisciplinary Studies, 9 a.m., Greek Theatre.

California State Controller Steve Westly, Department of Political Science, 2 p.m., Greek Theatre.

Nobelist David Gross, combined ceremony for the Departments of Physics and Astronomy, 7 p.m., Zellerbach Hall.

Saturday, May 21

Google Chief Executive Officer Eric Schmidt, College of Engineering, 8:30 a.m., Greek Theatre.

Robert Reich, former U.S. labor secretary, Department of Sociology, 8:45 a.m., Zellerbach Hall.

Actor Warren Beatty, Goldman School of Public Policy, 10 a.m., Faculty Glade.

Sunday, May 22

Venture capitalist John Doerr, Haas School of Business MBA program, 2 p.m., Greek Theatre.

For more graduation-ceremony information, including newly announced speakers as their names become available, visit www.urel.berkeley.edu/seniors/commencement/index.cfm.