Eric Holder, Jerry Brown, Steve Wozniak among graduation speakers

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and California Gov. Jerry Brown are among the political leaders, innovators and pundits set to address newly minted graduates of the University of California, Berkeley, at ceremonies starting this weekend (May 11-12). Other notable keynote speakers scheduled to impart wisdom to UC Berkeley graduates this month will include former Peruvian President Alejandro Toledo, hip-hop historian Jeff Chang, Green For All CEO Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins, John C. Williams, president and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, and Mary Roach, author of “Packing for Mars,” “Stiff,” “Spook” and “Bonk.”

U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder will address Berkeley Law graduates

A former judge and the first African American U.S. Attorney General, Holder will speak this Saturday, May 11, at the Greek Theatre to graduates of the UC Berkeley School of Law. The ceremony begins at 10 a.m. Click here for more details. Meanwhile, Brown, who served as California governor from 1975 to 1983, then made a political comeback in 1998 to serve as Oakland mayor and California governor in 2011, will speak to political science graduates at the Greek Theatre on May 20.

On Saturday, May 18, Apple co-founder Steve Wozniak, a Silicon Valley icon and philanthropist, will deliver the keynote address at commencement, the annual campus-wide ceremony honoring all graduating seniors. More than 4,000 graduates will march onto the field at Memorial Stadium to “Pomp and Circumstance.” Over 20,000 tickets have been distributed for commencement, which will feature speeches, awards, and students, faculty and campus administrators in colorful regalia.  The ceremony is expected to run from 10 a.m. to 1:30 p.m., and each participating graduate will be recognized.

Chancellor Robert Birgeneau, who is stepping down in June to return to teaching and research, will address the graduates and their families for the last time as chancellor. Also speaking at commencement will be top graduating senior Ritankar Das, a double major in bioengineering and chemical biology, who will receive the coveted University Medal in recognition of his outstanding scholarship and public service.

More than 4,000 graduates will attend commencement at Memorial Stadium on May 18

Nearly 8,000 UC Berkeley students will receive diplomas this spring and be honored at dozens of ceremonies sponsored by the campus’s individual departments, colleges and units. Popular majors continue to include economics, political science, integrative biology, business administration, psychology, English, electrical engineering and computer sciences, sociology and history.

Keynote speakers at individual department graduation ceremonies will include astronaut José Hernández, who flew on the space shuttle Discovery’s 128th mission. He will deliver the keynote address at the Chicano/Latino graduation at the Greek Theatre on May 18.  ACLU executive director Anthony Romero will address history graduates, Harvard University professor and evolutionary biologist Hopi Hoekstra will talk to graduates of integrative biology and UCSF Chancellor Susan Desmond-Hellman will speak to graduates of the School of Public Health.

Below is a sampling of speakers scheduled to address graduates at ceremonies this month. Click here for more details on commencement and individual ceremonies.

Saturday, May 11

  • U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder will speak to graduates of the UC Berkeley School of Law at 10 a.m. at the Greek Theatre

Thursday, May 16

  • Jack Halberstam, director of the Center for Feminist Research at the University of Southern California and an authority on female masculinity, will speak to graduates of Gender and Women’s Studies at 4 p.m. at Alumni House.

Friday, May 17

  • Oakland artist Veronica De Jesus will speak to art graduates at 3 p.m. at the Sculpture Garden at the Berkeley Art Museum.

Saturday, May 18

  • Physicist and environmental scientist Amory Lovins will address graduates of the Goldman School of Public Policy at 10 a.m. at the Chevron Auditorium, International House.
  • Popular science writer Mary Roach will address graduates of the English Department at 2 p.m. at the Greek Theatre.
  • DJ Patil, a data scientist who has worked for LinkedIn, Skype, PayPal and eBay, among other places, will speak to graduates of the School of Information at 2 p.m. at the Campanile Esplanade.
  • Andrew N. Liveris, chairman and CEO of the Dow Chemical Company and author of “Make it in America: The case for re-inventing the economy,” will speak to graduates of the College of Chemistry at 2 p.m. at Zellerbach Hall.
  • Randy Hester, a landscape architect and UC Berkeley professor emeritus, will address graduates of the College of Environmental Design at 7 p.m. at Zellerbach Auditorium.

Sunday, May 19

  • C. Daniel Mote, Jr., former president of the University of Maryland and a former chair of mechanical engineering at UC Berkeley, will address students receiving undergraduate degrees in engineering at 9 a.m. at the Greek Theatre.
  • Former Peruvian President Alejandro Toledo will address graduates from the School of Education at 2 p.m. at Zellerbach Auditorium.
  • Ararati Prabhakar, director of the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency, will address students receiving master’s degrees and Ph.Ds in engineering at 2 p.m. at the Greek Theatre.
  • John Scharffenberger, an organic farmer and specialty wine and chocolate maker, will address graduates of the College of Natural Resources at 7 p.m. at the Greek Theatre.

Monday, May 20

  • Jerry Brown, governor of California, will speak to graduates in political science at 9 a.m. at the Greek Theatre.
  • John C. Williams, president and CEO of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, will address economics graduates at 2 p.m. at the Greek Theatre.

    Gov. Jerry Brown will address graduates of political science

Tuesday, May 21

  • ACLU executive director Anthony Romero will speak to history graduates at 9:30 a.m. at Zellerbach Auditorium.
  • David Julius, chair of physiology at the UCSF School of Medicine, will address graduate students in molecular and cell biology at 2 p.m. at Zellerbach Playhouse.

Wednesday, May 22

  • Marcia McNutt, former director of the U.S. Geological Survey and incoming editor-in-chief of the journal Science, will address graduates of Earth and Planetary Sciences at 1:30 p.m. at Zellerbach Playhouse.

Thursday, May 23

  •  Hip-hop historian Jeff Chang, executive director of the Institute for Diversity in the Arts and the Committee on Black Performing Arts at Stanford University, will address ethnic studies graduates at noon at Zellerbach Playhouse.

Friday, May 24

  •  Stanford University art historian Richard Meyer will address graduates in art history at 9 a.m. at Zellerbach Playhouse.

Saturday, May 25

  • Phaedra Ellis-Lamkins, CEO of Green For All, an Oakland nonprofit to build an inclusive green economy, will address graduates of African American Studies at 2 p.m. at Zellerbach Auditorium.

Related links: