UCLA commencement ceremony's student speaker lives by her motto: Get involved!
By Claudia Luther June 11, 2012 Category: Campus News
Come summer, you'll find graduating UCLA senior Madeline "Maddy" Grubman doing what she's done her entire UCLA career: moving in a dozen interesting directions at the same time.
Right after commencement, she'll leave for Central America to volunteer with the nonprofit service organization Amigos de las Americas, something she has done several times before. After that, she plans to travel in South America and possibly elsewhere with some friends. Then, back to Los Angeles to pursue her dream of being a comedic or musical theater actress.
As one might guess, Grubman's motto is "get involved," which she has done in a big way throughout her UCLA career. "I jumped into any and every activity that interested me in the slightest," she said.
A member of the Chi Omega sorority, she has been active in the Pediatric AIDS Coalition at UCLA, which hosts the annual Dance Marathon, a major student-run philanthropic event that has raised millions of dollars toward the fight against pediatric AIDS and HIV. And for three straight years, she has performed before 7,500 people at one of the campus's oldest and most popular events, Spring Sing, as part of "Company," a group of students that presents original comedy skits and songs between the event's various acts.
"I grew up watching and loving Marx Brothers movies and 'Fawlty Towers' with John Cleese," Grubman explained. "They have been very influential in my comedic timing and style, especially Groucho."
She also led weekly campus tours and was an official blogger for UCLA Admissions, writing weekly posts about student life inside and outside the classroom.
Now, with her bachelor's degree in communications almost in hand, she's getting involved a final time as the chosen student speaker for the College of Letters and Science commencement ceremony on Friday, June 15, at 5 p.m., when approximately 4,500 students will march in Drake Stadium.
Grubman, 22, of Lafayette, Calif., who majored in communications studies, will speak briefly and also introduce the guest speaker, entrepreneur Jessica Jackley, co-founder of an innovative peer-to-peer micro-lending website.
Grubman was selected as the student speaker by a campus committee that included students Yan Zhang and Pauline Dinh. "The dept of her involvement on campus readily shines through," Zhang said of Grubman. Dinh added, "We felt sure she could provide a positive and memorable graduation experience for her fellow students."
As Grubman explains, "I love being involved and trying new things, and by doing so I have made UCLA a community and home rather than a campus and crowd."
In her speech to her fellow graduates, Grubman plans to emphasize, in part, that although UCLA's graduating seniors "could not be more different," the student body is a community because of its "solidarity in the light of this diversity." Noting UCLA's many distinguished alumni and achievements, she'll tell her fellow graduates, "Our history has paved the way for greatness, and it will be our decisions to achieve it."
Grubman said she applied for the role of student speaker because UCLA has taught her so much about who she is and who she wants to be. "I'm very, very grateful for that," she said. "I wanted to say thank you for that opportunity and give back to the UCLA community. What better way than to be commencement speaker?"
Grubman, who graduated from Campolindo High School in Moraga, Calif., is the daughter of Michael H. Grubman and Julia A. Patterson.