More than 9,000 undergraduate students. More than 5,000 graduate students. More than 70 ceremonies — and tens of thousands of guests: It’s UCLA graduation season.
The festivities will crescendo with three ceremonies for graduates of the UCLA College on June 16. Those events, in Pauley Pavilion, will be attended by a combined 6,000-plus students earning bachelor’s degrees, and more than 23,000 guests.
Actor, writer and comedian Randall Park, a UCLA graduate, will speak at all three College ceremonies, at 11 a.m., 3 p.m., and 7 p.m. Each ceremony will begin with an acknowledgement of the Gabrieleño peoples as the traditional caretakers of the land where the UCLA campus stands. For the first time, the land acknowledgement will be delivered by a student, Desirae Barragan of the Gabrieleño Band of Mission Indians, who will speak at the first ceremony.
In another first, the College ceremonies will be sensory-inclusive. Thanks to a connection made by Park, an organization called KultureCity will provide a calming space and loan noise-canceling headphones and fidget toys to anyone with sensory needs, such as people with ADHD, autism or post-traumatic stress disorder. (Park is a KultureCity board member.)
Those earning degrees this year range in age from 16 to 66.
Among those earning undergraduate degrees this year, most entered UCLA as first-year students in 2019, a few months before the COVID-19 pandemic began, making them the last class to remember a pre-pandemic UCLA — and the first whose college experience took place almost entirely during the pandemic.
Among all UCLA undergraduates, more than 30% are in the first generation from their families to graduate from a four-year university, and more than one-third of each incoming class are transfer students. More than 27% come from low-income families, 47% pay zero tuition and 68% graduate without loans.
UCLA School of Law kicked off the campus’s graduation season May 12, with California Attorney General Rob Bonta delivering the keynote address. On June 2, author, educator and advocate Heather McGhee spoke at the graduation ceremony for the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA; and on June 4, Naomi Ellison, a business leader, dentist and UCLA alumna addressed the graduates of the UCLA School of Dentistry.
Ceremonies continue through June 23, with celebrations by individual schools, departments and affinity groups, including Lavender Graduation for LGBTQ+ students, Parenting Students Graduation and ROTC commissioning ceremonies.
Students at the various events will hear keynote speeches from public figures such as Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass; California Surgeon General Diana Ramos; Los Angeles City Council President Paul Krekorian; MacArthur Fellowship recipient, musician and activist Martha Gonzalez; and performer and activist Kristina Wong.
Highlights of the upcoming ceremonies:
Thursday, June 15
3 p.m. UCLA alumna Emma Pérez, an author and researcher at the University of Arizona, will deliver the keynote at the doctoral hooding ceremony for the UCLA Division of Graduate Education in Royce Hall.
Friday, June 16
9 a.m. and 3 p.m. Michael Tubbs, special advisor for economic mobility and opportunity for the governor of California, will deliver the keynote at the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs commencements. The ceremony for graduate students will take place at Royce Hall in the morning; the ceremony for undergraduate students will take place on the Kerckhoff Patio in the afternoon.
11 a.m., 3 p.m. and 7 p.m. Randall Park will deliver the keynote at the three UCLA College graduation ceremonies in Pauley Pavilion.
2 p.m. UCLA alumna and filmmaker Gina Prince-Bythewood will deliver the keynote for the UCLA School of Theater, Film and Television ceremony in Royce Hall.
4 p.m. Los Angeles Mayor Karen Bass will deliver the keynote at the UCLA Anderson School of Management ceremony in Wilson Plaza.
4 p.m. UCLA alumna Martha Gonzalez, a recipient of the MacArthur Fellowship — known as the “genius grant” — and musician, cultural theorist and activist, will deliver the keynote at the UCLA Herb Alpert School of Music graduation in Dickson Court North.
5:30 p.m. UCLA alumna Dr. Diana Ramos, California’s surgeon general, will speak at the UCLA Fielding School of Public Health graduation in Royce Hall.
Saturday, June 17
8:30 a.m. Kenneth White, president of the American Academy of Nursing, will deliver the keynote at the UCLA School of Nursing graduation in Royce Hall.
12:30 p.m. UCLA alumnus Asad Madni, former president, chief operating officer and chief technology officer of BEI Technologies, will deliver the keynote at the UCLA Samueli School of Engineering’s undergraduate commencement in Pauley Pavilion.
4 p.m. Kristina Wong, performer, activist and UCLA alumna, will deliver the keynote at the UCLA School of the Arts and Architecture graduation in Dickson Court North.
4 p.m. UCLA alumna Christina Christie, Wasserman Dean of the UCLA School of Education and Information Studies, will deliver the keynote at that school’s graduation in Wilson Plaza.
6:30 p.m. Paul Krekorian, president of the Los Angeles City Council, will deliver the keynote at the UCLA International Institute’s graduation in Royce Hall.
Sunday, June 18
1:30 p.m. Asad Madni, former president, chief operating officer and chief technology officer of BEI Technologies, will deliver the keynote address at UCLA Engineering’s graduate student commencement in Pauley Pavilion.
Friday, June 23
4 p.m. UCLA alumnus Stephen Cheung, president and CEO of the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation and World Trade Center Los Angeles, will deliver the keynote address at the UCLA Extension certificate graduation in Royce Hall.