UC Berkeley News


Among this year's scheduled graduation speakers are, from left to right, Byron Williams, Rebecca Solnit, and Tony Taccone.

Politicians, poets, pundits to share their wisdom with '06 grads

| 03 May 2006

Stem-cell-research policymakers, a Bob Dylan chronicler, and a celebrity "eco-stylist" are among the dozens of speakers who will offer words of inspiration and caution this month to the graduating class of 2006.

Festivities begin Wednesday, May 10, at 4 p.m. with Commencement Convocation, an event for all graduating seniors held at the Greek Theatre. Diplomas will not be awarded there but at dozens of individual ceremonies held from May 11 to 22 by the campus's schools, colleges, and departments.

At least 10,000 students are expected to collect undergraduate and graduate diplomas at their respective commencement ceremonies.

The Class of 2006 has chosen California Assembly Speaker Fabian Nuņez to be the keynote speaker at convocation. The son of Mexican immigrants, he emerged on the state political scene in 1994 when he led an attempt to defeat Proposition 187, an initiative to bar undocumented immigrants from public schools and restrict their medical care to emergency services. Nuņez (D-Los Angeles), who has a bachelor's degree in political science and education from Pitzer College in Claremont, was elected to the state Assembly in 2002.

Delivering a tribute to global social responsibility will be top graduating senior Lane Rettig, a double major in computer science and Japanese. He will receive the coveted University Medal at convocation for his academic achievement, work creating educational software for the developing world and proficiency in Japanese, among other accomplishments.

On Saturday, May 13, Howard Dean, chair of the Democratic National Committee and former Vermont governor and 2004 presidential hopeful, is set to address graduates of the School of Law (Boalt Hall) at 10 a.m. at the Greek Theatre.

That same day, Assemblywoman Carol Liu (D-La Caņada Flintridge), chair of the Assembly's higher-education committee, will address students at the Graduate School of Education's commencement at 2 p.m. in Zellerbach Hall.

And on Saturday, May 20, San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom will speak to graduates of the Goldman School of Public Policy at 10 a.m on Faculty Glade.

Some of the other scheduled graduation speakers this spring are noted below.

Thursday, May 11

Barbara Lubin, director of the Middle East Children's Alliance, will speak at the Near Eastern Studies commencement at 2 p.m. in the Lipman Room in Barrows Hall.

Saturday, May 13

Laurie Garrett, a journalist and global-public-health expert, will speak to School of Public Health graduates at 8 a.m. in Zellerbach Hall.

James Nachtwey is an award-winning photojournalist who has covered wars around the world. He will speak at the Graduate School of Journalism commencement at 11 a.m. in North Gate Hall.

Erik Kaplan, writer and producer of the animated comedy Futurama and the Fox family comedy Malcolm in the Middle, will speak to philosophy department graduates at 11 a.m. on Faculty Glade.

Tim O'Reilly, an Internet pioneer and founder and CEO of O'Reilly Media, Inc., will speak to School of Information (formerly SIMS) graduates at 1 p.m. at the Campanile Esplanade.

Sunday, May 14

Rebecca Solnit, an acclaimed art critic, writer, and cultural historian (Yosemite in Time), will address graduates of the English department at 3 p.m. at the Greek Theatre.

Wednesday, May 17

Tony Taccone, artistic director at the Berkeley Repertory Theater, will address Department of Theater, Dance, and Performance Studies graduates at 2 p.m. in Zellerbach Playhouse.

Thursday, May 18

David Kennedy, a Pulitzer Prize-winning historian and Stanford University history professor, will speak to history graduates at 9 a.m. in Zellerbach Hall.

Janice Mirikitani, executive director of Glide Memorial Church, will speak at the undergraduate social-welfare commencement at 7 p.m. in Zellerbach Hall.

Friday, May 19

Greil Marcus, a Berkeley writer, critic, and chronicler of Bob Dylan, will address American studies and religious studies graduates at 9 a.m. at the Greek Theatre.

Barbara Reyes, a San Francisco Filipina poet, will speak to ethnic studies graduates at noon at Zellerbach Playhouse.

Roy DeForest, an artist who was part of the 1960s "Funk Art" movement, will speak to art practice graduates at the Berkeley Art Museum's sculpture garden at 3 p.m.

Jill Tarter, an astronomer and director of the Search for Extraterrestrial Intelligence Institute's Center for Research in Mountain View, will speak at the astronomy department commencement at 7 p.m. in Zellerbach Hall.

Robert Klein, chair of the Independent Citizens Oversight Committee at the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, will speak to molecular and cell biology undergraduates getting diplomas at 7 p.m. at the Greek Theatre.

Saturday, May 20

Zach Hall, president of the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, will speak to graduate students getting their diplomas in molecular and cell biology at 2 p.m. in Zellerbach Playhouse.

Sunday, May 21

Reed Hastings, CEO and founder of Netflix, the online movie-rental site, will address graduates of the Haas School of Business MBA program at 9 a.m. at the Greek Theatre.

Danny Seo, a champion of biodiversity and an eco-friendly-lifestyle expert, will address environmental-sciences graduates at 10 a.m. at the Chancellor's Esplanade.

Byron Williams, a writer, theologian, activist, and pastor of Oakland's Resurrection Community Church, will speak at the African American studies commencement at 2 p.m. at the Greek Theatre.

Monday, May 22

Larry Orman, executive director of GreenInfo Network, will speak to environmental-design graduates at 2 p.m. at the Greek Theatre.

For a complete listing of com-mencement speakers and details
about departmental graduation ceremonies, visit www.urel.berkeley.edu/commencement.