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L.A. mayor, retired police captain and former dean among UCLA commencement speakers

Graduating students and guests will attend nearly 60 ceremonies and celebrations

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Commencement speakers 2017
UCLA

Commencement speakers will include, clockwise from top left: Eric Garcetti, Anita Ortega, Dr. No-Hee Park, Dr. Helene Gayle, Herb Alpert and Antonia Villarruel.

The mayor of Los Angeles, the Los Angeles Police Department’s first female African-American police captain, an Academy Award-nominated filmmaker and a retired dean who guided the UCLA School of Dentistry through extensive growth are among the prominent people who will speak at UCLA’s 2017 graduation ceremonies.

The university expects to confer approximately 13,500 bachelor’s, master’s, doctoral and professional degrees for the 2016–2017 school year, including 7,900 earned this spring.

In all, graduating students and guests will attend nearly 60 commencement ceremonies, receptions and celebrations, which continue through June 18, at venues across campus, including the Phi Beta Kappa initiation, a Lavender Graduation celebration for LGBT students and their families, and a ceremony for students who are parents.

Six of the largest commencement ceremonies take place June 16, when approximately 30,000 guests are expected to visit Westwood.

The largest commencement is for the UCLA College, and it takes place during two ceremonies at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. on Friday, June 16 at Pauley Pavilion. Anita Ortega, a former UCLA basketball star and the first African-American woman to become a Los Angeles Police Department area captain, will deliver the keynote address to graduating seniors, their families and friends.

In addition on June 16, Herb Alpert, the renowned musician, philanthropist and co-founder of A&M records, will receive the UCLA Medal during the commencement ceremony for the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music.

Other speakers of note include:

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti will speak at the commencement for the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs. Garcetti, who was elected mayor in 2013 and re-elected in 2017, attended the UCLA Lab School as a child and later studied as a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford University and the London School of Economics. Among Garcetti’s contributions in office are efforts to improve transportation infrastructure, reduce homelessness and enhance environmental sustainability.

Dr. No-Hee Park led the UCLA School of Dentistry for 18 years, and during his tenure, he helped the school build a sound financial foundation, increased financial aid and scholarship support for dental students, and increased the principal value of gifts and endowments. Through conscientious investment in research, targeted faculty recruitment, improvements to laboratories, establishment of centers and core areas of research, and the acquisition of equipment and technology, the school is recognized as a leading research-intensive dental school.  Even as dean, Park remained active in research, focusing on cancer of the mouth, head and neck and also on aging.

Filmmaker Ava DuVernay, the keynote speaker for the 70th annual commencement ceremony at the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television,is a writer, producer, director and distributor of independent film. Nominated for the Academy Award and winner of the BAFTA for Best Documentary, her documentary, "13th," was one of the most critically acclaimed films of 2016. In 2014, she directed the historical drama, "Selma," which garnered four Golden Globe nominations and two Academy Award nominations, including for best picture. This year, DuVernay, a UCLA alumna, was named one of Fortune Magazine’s 50 Greatest World Leaders.‎

For information about the ceremonies, including updates and details for specific schools and programs, visit UCLA Commencement. In addition to the School of Law graduation, which featured UCLA Law alumnus Paul Watford, a judge on the United States Court of Appeals for the 9th Circuit, who addressed graduates May 12, UCLA’s degree-granting commencement ceremonies and speakers include:

Friday, June 2

Dr. Deborah Prothrow-Stith, dean and professor of medicine at Charles R. Drew University of Medicine and Science, will speak at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA Hippocratic Oath ceremony at 5 p.m. on Dickson Court North (map).

Sunday, June 4

Dr. No-Hee Park, dean emeritus and distinguished professor of dentistry and medicine, will speak at the UCLA School of Dentistry’s ceremony at 10 a.m. in Royce Hall (map).

Thursday, June 15

Robin Garrell, vice provost and dean of the Graduate Division, will speak at the division’s Doctoral Hooding, which will be held at 3 p.m. in Royce Hall (map).

Friday, June 16

Filmmaker Ava DuVernay will be the keynote speaker at the School of Theater, Film and Television ceremony at 2 p.m. at Royce Hall.

Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti will speak at the Luskin School of Public Affairs ceremony at 9 a.m. in Royce Hall (map).

Anita Ortega, former UCLA basketball star and the first African-American woman to become a Los Angeles Police Department area captain, will speak at the UCLA College commencement ceremonies at 2 p.m. and at 7 p.m. in Pauley Pavilion (map).

Herb Alpert will be the featured speaker at the inaugural graduation ceremony for the Herb Alpert School of Music. He will also receive the UCLA Medal at the event, which begins at 4 p.m. on Dickson Court North (map).

Robert Bradway, chairman and CEO of Amgen, will speak at the Anderson School of Management ceremony at 4 p.m. on Wilson Plaza (map).

Dr. Helene Gayle, CEO of McKinsey Social Initiative, will speak to graduates of the Fielding School of Public Health at 5:30 p.m. in Royce Hall (map).

Saturday, June 17

Antonia Villarruel, the Margaret Bond Simon Dean of Nursing at the University of Pennsylvania School of Nursing, will speak at the School of Nursing ceremony at 8:30 a.m. in Royce Hall (map).

Adam Cheyer, who earned a master’s of science degree from UCLA in 1993, and is co-founder of Siri, Viv Labs and Change.org, will speak at the Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Sciences at 12:30 p.m. in Pauley Pavilion (map).

Marcelo Suarez-Orozco, dean of the Graduate School of Education and Information Studies, will speak at the school’s ceremony at 4 p.m. on Wilson Plaza (map).

Kristy Edmunds, executive director and artistic director of the Center for the Art of Performance at UCLA, will speak at the School of the Arts and Architecture ceremony at 4 p.m. on Dickson Court North (map). 

For more commencement news and photos, see this.

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