Stadium send-off, May 14, caps graduation season

UC Berkeley’s annual commencement ceremony — honoring all graduating seniors in the Class of 2016, and those earning graduate degrees — kicks off at 10 a.m., Saturday, May 14 in California Memorial Stadium. The campuswide event is expected to draw 4,700 graduates and as many as 25,000 family members, friends, faculty and staff.

Sheryl Sandberg

Sheryl Sandberg

The senior class has chosen Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg to deliver the commencement address. Sandberg is the author of the bestselling book Lean In: Women, Work and the Will to Lead, and founder of, a nonprofit that supports women’s professional ambitions.

Chancellor Nicholas Dirks will offer remarks at the event, as will neuroscientist and philosopher Sir Colin Blakemore, who earned his Ph.D. at Berkeley in 1968. Blakemore will accept the 2015 Elise and Walter A. Haas International Award.

Kaavya Valiveti

University Medalist Kaavya Valiveti (UC Berkeley photo by Anne Brice)

In keeping with campus tradition, attendees will also hear from this year’s top graduating senior, Kaavya Valiveti, winner of the University Medal, given for outstanding scholarship, public service and strength of character. A pure-math enthusiast, Valiveti, 21, received an honorable mention for this year’s Schafer Prize, honoring outstanding U.S. female math undergraduates.

“So much of math is appreciating the beauty of abstract ideas that answer philosophical questions,” Valiveti says. “It can reveal the greater mysteries about our universe.”

Other student award winners will be acknowledged during the ceremony, as will faculty winners of this year’s Distinguished Teaching Awards.

Click here for details on the campuswide commencement, along with information on departmental ceremonies for the spring 2016 graduation season.

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