December graduates to attend Convocation this Sunday

More than 2,800 students at the University of California, Berkeley, are graduating this fall, and at least 400 of them will walk across the stage in caps and gowns at the Walter A. Haas Jr., Pavilion this Sunday, Dec. 19, at the 2010 December Graduates Convocation.

The pomp and ceremony begins at 11 a.m. Chancellor Robert J. Birgeneau will deliver welcome remarks. The keynote speaker will be Joe Letteri, a UC Berkeley alumnus and Oscar-winning senior visual effects supervisor at Weta Digital in New Zealand. His film credits include “Avatar,” “The Lovely Bones,” “I, Robot,” “The Lord of the Rings,” “King Kong,” “Magnolia” and “Jurassic Park.”

The student speaker will be Christian Blanco, who is graduating this December with a double major in applied mathematics and in environmental economics and policy. In addition to being a research assistant in the Renewable and Appropriate Energy Lab, Blanco, a native of the Philippines, is co-captain of the New Experiences in Research, Diversity in Sciences (NERDS) math team. He also volunteers for Gawad Kalinga, an organization that provides food and affordable housing to people struggling in the Philippines.

This semester, about 1,787 UC Berkeley undergraduates and 1,100 graduate students will earn degrees, according to the campus’s Office of the Registrar. Approximately 400 graduates and their guests are expected to attend this Sunday’s ceremony. No diplomas will be awarded at the event. “Hail to California” will be performed by the University of California Men’s Octet. Tickets are required.