UC Berkeley’s 2015 commencement, honoring all graduating seniors, will be a big event, with 4,300 graduates to walk and 21,000 people expected to fill California Memorial Stadium, including family members and friends as well as faculty and staff. The ceremony is set to begin at 10 a.m. on Saturday, May 16 and the event will be livestreamed.
Marc Benioff, chairman and CEO of Salesforce, will deliver the keynote address. Benioff founded Salesforce, a San Francisco-based cloud computing company, in 1999, and it has since become one of the world’s leading software companies.
This year’s top graduating senior, Radhika Kannan, who studied economics and conservation and resource studies, will address her classmates in a speech she says will touch on the unpredictability of life, a topic close to her heart. “As a Cal grad, you really want to be prepared,” she says. “But sometimes you just can’t be. Always know that your Cal family is there for you, and don’t be afraid to ask for help.” After graduation, Kannan is headed for the University of Oxford for a master’s degree, after which she plans to pursue a law degree at Columbia University.
In addition to the main commencement ceremony, most departments on campus perform their own ceremonies as well. Here’s a look at what’s happening:
MAY 15, 2015 —————————————————————————————————————————————–
- Ceremony: Friday, May 15, at 3 p.m. at Berkeley Art Museum’s sculpture garden
- Speaker: Jonn Herschend received his master’s of fine arts in 2006 from UC Berkeley. Raised in a Midwestern amusement park, Herschend is an interdisciplinary artist, filmmaker and experimental publisher whose work explores fiction, reality and the narrative structures we employ as a way to explain the chaos and clutter of our everyday lives.
ENERGY AND RESOURCES GROUP
- Ceremony: Friday, May 15, at 10 a.m. at Alumni House
- Speaker: Peter Gleick is a leading expert, innovator and communicator on water and climate issues. Gleick is co-founder and director of Pacific Institute, based in Oakland, an independent science-based organization that creates and advances solutions to the world’s water challenges.
SCHOOL OF LAW
- Ceremony: Friday, May 15, at 9 a.m. at the Greek Theatre
- Speaker: Preet Bharara is U.S. attorney for the Southern District of New York. He has been referred to as “one of the most acclaimed prosecutors of his generation” and “Wall Street’s most fearsome foe.” Since taking office he has become well-known for his office’s work against insider trading and corruption.
MAY 16, 2015 —————————————————————————————————————————————–
CHEMICAL ENGINEERING AND THE COLLEGE OF CHEMISTRY
- Ceremony: Saturday, May 16, at 2 p.m. in Zellerbach Auditorium
- Speaker: Judith Klinman is a professor for graduate courses in chemistry and molecular and cell biology at UC Berkeley. She is a member of the California Institute for Quantitative Biosciences at Berkeley and has received many honors during her career, including the National Medal of Science, presented by President Obama at the White House in 2014, for her discoveries of fundamental chemical and physical principles underlying enzyme catalysis and for her leadership in the community of scientists.
- Ceremony: Saturday, May 16, at 2 p.m. at the Greek Theatre
- Speaker: Juan Gonzalez is a Puerto Rican journalist and co-host of the national, independent news program Democracy Now! He has written four books, including Harvest of Empire: A History of Latinos in America, which is one of the most popular introductions to Latino history on U.S. college campuses. Gonzalez is one of the original founders of the National Association of Hispanic Journalist. He served as the association’s president from 2002 to 2004 and was elected to its Hall of Fame in 2008.
COLLEGE OF NATURAL RESOURCES, ENVIRONMENTAL SCIENCES, ENVIRONMENTAL ECONOMICS & POLICY
- Ceremony: Saturday, May 16, at 7 p.m. at the Greek Theatre
- Speaker: Karen Ross is secretary of the California Department of Food and Agriculture. She has also served as president of the California Association of Wine Grape Growers, where she created the Sustainable Winegrowing Program, which assists wine grape growers in maintaining the long-term viability of agriculture lands and encourages them to provide leadership in protecting the environment, conserving natural resources and enhancing their local communities.
SCHOOL OF INFORMATION
- Ceremony: Saturday, May 16, at 2 p.m. on Campanile Esplanade
- Speaker: Carl Bass is the president and chief executive officer of Autodesk, Inc., a leader in 3D design, engineering and entertainment software.
- Ceremony: Saturday, May 16, at 7 p.m. in Zellerbach Auditorium
- Ceremony: Saturday, May 16, at 2 p.m. in Zellerbach Playhouse
- Speaker: Dan Jurafsky is a professor of linguistics and computer science at Stanford University. He is the author of The Language of Food: A Linguist Reads the Menu, a finalist for the 2015 James Beard Book Award.
MAY 17, 2015 ————————————————————————————————————————————-
AMERICAN INDIAN GRADUATE PROGRAM
- Ceremony: Sunday, May 17, at 4 p.m. at the Alumni House
- Speaker: William Mendoza was appointed executive director of the White House Initiative on American Indian and Alaska Native Education in December 2011. He has been a teacher and principal and has worked at schools to help foster leadership development and civic engagement among American Indians.
- Ceremony: Sunday, May 17, at 10:30 p.m. in the Great Hall of the Bancroft Hotel
- Speaker: Richard Palmer is managing director of Morgan Stanley Wealth Management.
COLLEGE OF ENVIRONMENTAL DESIGN
- Ceremony: Sunday, May 17, at 7 p.m. in Zellerbach Auditorium
- Speaker: Lalo Alcaraz received a master’s in architecture from UC Berkeley in 1991. Alcaraz is the most renowned and widely published Chicano editorial cartoonist in the nation. He is the creator of the first nationally syndicated, politically themed Latino daily comic strip, La Cucaracha, and the author and illustrator of several books, including New York Times bestseller A Most Imperfect Union.
INTERNATIONAL AND AREA STUDIES — Development Studies, International & Area Studies, Latino American Studies, Middle Eastern Studies, Peace & Conflict Studies, Political Economy
- Ceremony: Sunday, May 17, at 2 p.m. in Zellerbach Auditorium
- Speaker: Sarah Leah Whitson is executive director of Human Rights Watch’s Middle East and North Africa Division. She oversees the work of the division in 19 countries, with staff located in 10 countries. She has led dozens of advocacy and investigative missions throughout the region, focusing on issues of armed conflict, accountability, legal reform, migrant workers and political rights.
- Ceremony: Sunday, May 17, at 2 p.m. at the Greek Theatre
- Speaker: Farhan H. Zaidi, who received a Ph.D. in economics from UC Berkeley in 2010, recently became the general manager of the Los Angeles Dodgers.
GRADUATE SCHOOL OF JOURNALISM
- Ceremony: Sunday, May 17, at 10 a.m. in the North Gate Hall Courtyard
- Speaker: Jill Abramson was the first female executive editor at the New York Times, a position she held from 2011 to 2014. Abramson joined the Times in 1997, working as the Washington bureau chief and managing editor before being named executive editor. She previously worked for the Wall Street Journal as an investigative reporter and a deputy bureau chief.
- Ceremony: Sunday, May 17, at 1:30 p.m. in Hertz Concert Hall
- Concert: Sunday, May 17, at noon in Hertz Concert Hall
- Ceremony: Sunday, May 17, at 11 a.m. at the Faculty Club, on the glade
- Speaker: Amy Maniatis is a photographer for National Geographic.
- Ceremony: Sunday, May 17, at 9 a.m. at the Greek Theatre
- Speaker: Nancy Krieger received her Ph.D. in epidemiology from Berkeley in 1989. She is a professor of social epidemiology in the Department of Social and Behavior Sciences at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and director of the department’s interdisciplinary concentration in women, gender and health.
- Ceremony: Sunday, May 17, at 8:45 a.m. in Zellerbach Auditorium
- Speaker: Marshall Ganz is a senior lecturer in public policy at the Harvard Kennedy School of Government. He worked for the United Farm Workers for 16 years before becoming a trainer and organizer for political campaigns, unions and nonprofit groups. He is credited with devising the successful grassroots organizing model and training for Barack Obama’s winning 2008 presidential campaign.
MAY 18, 2015 ————————————————————————————————————————————-
ANCIENT HISTORY & MEDITERRANEAN STUDIES AND CLASSICS
- Ceremony: Monday, May 18, at 1:30 p.m. at the Alumni House
- Speaker: Richard Martin is a professor of classics at Stanford University. He is working on several books about Homeric religion, myth and ancient poetry in performance. He interprets Greek poetry in the light of performance traditions and social practices.
- Ceremony: Monday, May 18, at 2 p.m. in Wheeler Auditorium
- Speaker: Iain Boal is a social historian of science and technics, affiliated with UC Berkeley and Birkbeck College, London. He is associated with Retort, a group of writers, artists and artisans based for two decades in the San Francisco Bay Area. He is a founder of the new field of agnotology — a term he coined and defines as “the systematic study of ignorance and the long shadows cast by enlightenment.”
GRADUATE SCHOOL OF EDUCATION
- Ceremony: Monday, May 18, at 2 p.m. in Zellerbach Auditorium
- Speaker: Judith Warren Little is dean of Berkeley’s Graduate School of Education and Carol Liu Professor of Education Policy. Her research is about teachers’ work lives and careers and school reform. (She will be stepping down as dean.)
- Ceremony: Monday, May 18 ,at 9 a.m. at the Greek Theatre
- Speaker: Bert Lubin is president and chief executive officer of UCSF Benioff Children’s Hospital Oakland. Dr. Lubin serves on the College of Engineering Advisory Board.
- Ceremony: Monday, May 18, at 2 p.m. at the Greek Theatre
- Speaker: Kirsi Tikka received a Ph.D. in naval architecture and offshore engineering from the College of Engineering at UC Berkeley. She is president of the American Bureau of Shipping Europe Division, a global, nonprofit shipping company.
- Ceremony: Monday, May 18, at 9 a.m. in Zellerbach Auditorium
- Speaker: Sujit Choudhry is dean of the School of Law at UC Berkeley. He is an internationally recognized authority on comparative constitutional law and comparative constitutional development. He has also written on constitutional design as a tool to manage the transition from violent conflict to peaceful democratic politics, especially in ethnically divided societies.
GOLDMAN SCHOOL OF PUBLIC POLICY
- Ceremony: Monday, May 18, at 10 a.m. at International House
- Speaker: Fred Blackwell is chief executive officer of the San Francisco Foundation, where he leads one of the largest community foundations in the country, working to identify, influence and leverage best practices and long-term solutions to make a greater impact in our community.
THEATER, DANCE AND PERFORMING STUDIES
- Ceremony: Monday, May 18, at 2 p.m. in Zellerbach Playhouse
- Speaker: Steven Anthony Jones is artistic director of the Lorraine Hansberry Theatre, an African American theater company in San Francisco. Most recently, he directed eight of the 10 titles in the company’s 2012-13 Bringing the Art to the Audience staged readings series. He has worked professionally on stage, on television and in film for nearly 40 years.
SOUTH & SOUTHEAST ASIAN STUDIES
- Ceremony: Monday, May 18, at 9:30 a.m. at Alumni House
- Speaker: Robert Goldman is a professor of Sanskrit at the South and Southeast Asian Studies department at UC Berkeley.
MAY 19, 2015 ————————————————————————————————————————————–
- Ceremony: Tuesday, May 19, from 9 a.m. to noon at the Greek Theatre
- Speaker: Linda Lang received her bachelor’s of science in business from UC Berkeley in 1980. She is a retired chairman and chief executive officer of Jack in the Box, Inc.
EAST ASIAN LANGUAGES & CULTURE AND BUDDHIST STUDIES
- Ceremony: Tuesday, May 19, at 10 a.m. at Alumni House
- Speaker: Mark Csikszentmihalyi is the chair of East Asian Languages and Culture at UC Berkeley. He uses both excavated and transmitted texts to reconstruct the religions, philosophies and cultures of early China. Recent books include Material Virtue: Ethics and the Body in Early China and Readings in Han Chinese Thought.
FILM & MEDIA AND RHETORIC
- Ceremony: Tuesday, May 19, at 2 pm in Zellerbach Auditorium
EARTH & PLANETARY SCIENCE
- Ceremony: Tuesday, May 19, at 2 p.m. in Zellerbach Playhouse
- Speaker: Priscilla Grew received a Ph.D. in earth and planetary science from UC Berkeley in 1967. She is a professor emeritus of geosciences at the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, where she currently serves as director of the University of Nebraska State Museum.
GLOBAL POVERTY & PRACTICE MINOR
Ceremony: Tuesday, May 19, at 3 p.m. at International House
NEAR EASTERN STUDIES
- Ceremony: Tuesday, May 19, at 2 p.m. at Alumni House
- Speaker: John Hayes is a professor in the Department of Near Eastern Studies.
- Ceremony: Tuesday, May 19, at 2 p.m. at the Greek Theatre
- Speaker: Goodwin Liu is an associate justice of the California Supreme Court. Before joining the court, Justice Liu was a professor of law and associate dean at the School of Law at UC Berkeley.
- Ceremony: Tuesday, May 19, at 2 p.m. in Wheeler Auditorium
MAY 20, 2015 ————————————————————————————————————————————–
ASTRONOMY AND PHYSICS
- Ceremony: Wednesday, May 20, at 2 p.m. in Zellerbach Auditorium
- Speaker: Gibor Basri is vice chancellor for equity and inclusion and a professor of astronomy at UC Berkeley.
GENDER & WOMEN’S STUDIES
- Ceremony: Wednesday, May 20, at 4 p.m. at Alumni House
- Speaker: Donna Haraway is a professor in the departments of history of consciousness and feminist studies at UC Santa Cruz.
MOLECULAR & CELL BIOLOGY (UNDERGRADUATE)
- Ceremony: Wednesday, May 20, at 9 a.m. at the Greek Theater.
- Speaker: Diana Bautista is an associate professor of cell and developmental biology at UC Berkeley.
- Ceremony: Wednesday, May 20, at 9:30 a.m. in Zellerbach Auditorium
- Speaker: Jennifer Granholm is an adjunct professor at the School of Law and Goldman School of Public Policy at UC Berkeley, as well as a senior research fellow at the UC Berkeley Energy and Climate Institute and the Center for Information Technology Research in the Interest of Society. She is a former two-term governor of Michigan.
- Ceremony: Wednesday, May 20, at 2 p.m. at the Greek Theatre
- Speaker: Paul Fine is an assistant professor of integrative biology at UC Berkeley. His research investigates the origin and maintenance of Amazonian rainforest tree diversity.
MAY 21, 2015 ————————————————————————————————————————————–
UNDERGRADUATE INTERDISCIPLINARY STUDIES (UGIS) — ISF, American Studies, Media Studies, Religious Studies and Cognitive Science
- Ceremony: Thursday, May 21, at 9 a.m. at the Greek Theatre
- Speaker: Steven Botterill is an associate professor of Italian studies at UC Berkeley. He has published widely on Dante and other aspects of medieval Italian literature. He is a two-time elected member of the Council of the Dante Society of America, and editor emeritus of the society’s journal, Dante Studies.
CELTIC STUDIES, ITALIAN STUDIES, SCANDINAVIAN, SLAVIC LANGUAGES, COMPARATIVE LITERATURE, DUTCH STUDIES, FRENCH, GERMAN AND SPANISH & PORTUGUESE
- Ceremony: Thursday, May 21, at 2 p.m. in Zellerbach Auditorium
- Speaker: Francine Masiello is a professor of comparative literature and Spanish and Portuguese at UC Berkeley.
- Ceremony: Thursday, May 21, at 2 p.m. at Zellerbach Playhouse
- Speaker: Luis Alejo received dual bachelor’s degrees in political science and Chicano studies from UC Berkeley. He now serves in the California state Assembly.
- Ceremony: Thursday, May 21, at 2 p.m. at the Greek Theatre
MAY 22, 2015 ————————————————————————————————————————————–
- Ceremony: Friday, May 22, at 9 a.m. in Zellerbach Auditorium
- Speaker: Ben Horowitz is a high technology entrepreneur and co-founder and general partner along with Marc Andreessen of the venture capital firm Andreessen Horowitz. He co-founded and served as president and chief executive officer of the enterprise software company Opsware, which Hewlett-Packard acquired for $1.6 billion in cash in July 2007.
HISTORY OF ART
- Ceremony: Friday, May 22, at 9 a.m. at the Zellerbach Playhouse
- Speaker: Colm Bailey is the director of the Morgan Library and Museum in New York City.
- Ceremony: Friday, May 22, at 2 p.m. in Zellerbach Auditorium
- Speaker: Jordan Ellenberg is a professor of mathematics from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. His research covers a wide variety of topics within arithmetic geometry. In addition to his research articles, he has authored a novel, The Grasshopper King, which was a finalist for the 2004 Young Lions Fiction Award, Slate’s “Do the Math” column and a nonfiction book, How Not to Be Wrong.
MOLECULAR & CELL BIOLOGY (GRADUATE), BIOPHYSICS, NEUROSCIENCE AND ENDOCRINOLOGY
- Ceremony: Friday, May 22, at 2 p.m. at the Zellerbach Playhouse
- Speaker: Corey Goodman is a member of the National Academy of Sciences and a winner of the Canada Gairdner International Award. He was a professor of molecular and cell biology at UC Berkeley for 25 years, during which he co-founded the Helen Willis Neuroscience Institute, and also co-founded two successful biotechnology companies, Exelixis and Renovis. Corey is returning to Berkeley as an adjunct professor of the neuroscience institute to contribute to the Berkeley BRAIN Initiative and provide students with his insights into how to translate biomedical discoveries into therapeutics for human health.
BUSINESS (GRADUATE MBA)
- Ceremony: Friday, May 22, at 2 p.m. at the Greek Theatre
- Speaker: John Stroup received a master’s in business from UC Berkeley in 1995. He is the chief executive officer of Belden Inc., a $2.5 billion networking and connectivity company.
MAY 23, 2015 ————————————————————————————————————————————–
AFRICAN AMERICAN STUDIES
- Ceremony: Saturday, May 23, at 2 p.m. in Zellerbach Auditorim
- Speaker: Robert Biko Baker is executive director of the national advocacy organization League of Young Voters. The league is a nonprofit that encourages youth to get involved in their communities through the electoral process and community organizing.
- Ceremony: Saturday, May 23, at 2 p.m. at the Greek Theatre
- Speaker: Michael Dirda is a Fullbright Fellowship recipient and a Pulitzer Prize-winning book critic for the Washington Post.
SCHOOL OF OPTOMETRY
- Ceremony: Saturday, May 23, at 9 a.m. in Zellerbach Auditorium
- Speaker: Robert Greer is a clinical professor at the School of Optometry and chief of the Low Vision Clinic.
MAY 24, 2015 ————————————————————————————————————————————
- Ceremony: Sunday, May 24, at 2 p.m. in Wheeler Auditorium