Terry McMillan headlines impressive list of speakers for UC Berkeley's 1999 commencement ceremonies

By D. Lyn Hunter, Public Affairs

BERKELEY--Terry McMillan, author of the best-selling novels "Waiting to Exhale" and "How Stella Got Her Groove Back," and an alumna of the University of California, Berkeley, is one of several distinguished people scheduled to speak during the campus's upcoming 1999 commencement season.

Nearly 10,000 students are eligible to graduate this year - 7,000 with bachelor's degrees and 3,000 with graduate degrees.

McMillan, who received her BA in journalism from UC Berkeley in 1979, is the keynote speaker for the annual Commencement Convocation, an event for all graduating seniors to be held Tuesday, May 11, at 4 p.m. in Zellerbach Auditorium. A limited number of free tickets is available at the Cal Performances box office.

Commencement Convocation includes a colorful procession of academicians robed in full regalia, along with graduating seniors and special guests, and the awarding of the University Medal by Chancellor Robert Berdahl to Vikram Ramnath Rao, this year's top graduating senior. Rao accumulated 18 A+s while at UC Berkeley. He currently is developing a method for chemically synthesizing glycoproteins to improve the study of the immune system, cell growth and cancer.

Among the many talented and unique students receiving diplomas from UC Berkeley are Cheryl Cornelius and her son, Doug. Both are graduating from the same department and are the first in their family to receive college degrees. (See accompanying press releases on the Cornelius family and the University Medalist).

More than 54 departmental ceremonies will run from May 8 through May 29 and feature addresses by prominent authors, foreign dignitaries, politicians, publishers, judges and Nobel Prize winners.

Highlighted speakers for these ceremonies include:

· Armistead Maupin, author of "Tales of the City," a series of novels on life in San Francisco. He will speak at the English department's ceremony on Saturday, May 15, at 3 p.m. in the Greek Theater.

· Ronald George, chief justice of the California Supreme Court will address graduates at the history department's ceremony on Friday, May 21, at 10 a.m. in Zellerbach Auditorium.

· Manuel Angel Rodriguez, president of Costa Rica, is guest speaker at the economics department's ceremony on Friday, May 21, at 3 p.m. in the Greek Theater.

· Steven Chu, 1997 Nobel Prize winner will speak at the ceremony for physics, astronomy and physical science graduates on Friday, May 21, at 7 p.m. in Zellerbach Auditorium.

· Barbara Lee, congresswoman from California's 9th Congressional District, will address graduates of the Goldman School of Public Policy on Saturday, May 22, at 10:30 a.m. in Faculty Glade.

· Mortimer Zukerman, publisher of U.S. News & World Report, New York Daily News and Atlantic Monthly, will speak to graduates of the Haas School of Business on Sunday, May 23, at 9 a.m. in the Greek Theater.


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