Linkin Park's Brad Delson to keynote UCLA commencement
Guitarist, UCLA alum replaces previously scheduled speaker James Franco
Brad Delson, a UCLA alumnus and lead guitarist for the Grammy-winning band Linkin Park, will deliver keynote remarks at the UCLA College of Letters and Science commencement ceremony on June 12, campus officials announced today.
Delson earned a bachelor's degree in communication studies from UCLA, graduating summa cum laude in 1999. His band Linkin Park was signed by Warner Bros. Records in 2000 and has released three albums that have sold more than 50 million copies worldwide. The group's unique blend of alternative rock, hip-hop and electronic music has earned them critical praise, numerous industry honors, Grammy awards and an international audience of millions of devoted fans.
Delson and his bandmates are devoted to several social causes. Linkin Park established a nonprofit organization called Music for Relief to aid victims of world catastrophes and combat global warming. Since its establishment, the organization has raised nearly $3 million, helping victims of the South Asian tsunami, Hurricane Katrina and the recent Southern California wildfires.
Delson and his wife established the Delson Scholarship Fund at UCLA, which annually awards four-year scholarships to extraordinary students from Huntington Park, Calif.
"Brad Delson is not only an innovative musician, but he is also a social activist who is committed to change through education," said Judith L. Smith, dean and vice provost for undergraduate education in the UCLA College of Letters and Science. "I am thrilled that Brad will be helping to commemorate this important occasion in the lives of our graduates and their families, and we are grateful that he has agreed to do so on short notice."
The ceremony, which will take place in Pauley Pavilion, is the primary commencement event for UCLA's graduating seniors.
Delson was picked based on recommendations from a selection committee after the scheduled keynote speaker, actor and UCLA alumnus James Franco, canceled the week prior to the event because of filming commitments.
In a prepared statement provided to UCLA, Franco said: "I deeply regret not being able to keep my commitment to giving the commencement speech at UCLA's graduation this year. Unfortunately the date conflicts with me needing to be on location to begin pre-production on my next film. I wish everyone in the 2009 class the best of luck in all of their future endeavors."
UCLA is California's largest university, with an enrollment of nearly 38,000 undergraduate and graduate students. The UCLA College of Letters and Science and the university's 11 professional schools feature renowned faculty and offer more than 323 degree programs and majors. UCLA is a national and international leader in the breadth and quality of its academic, research, health care, cultural, continuing education and athletic programs. Four alumni and five faculty have been awarded the Nobel Prize.
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