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Campus Plans its 53rd Commencement

Six Ceremonies Planned for 53rd UCR Commencement

More than 3,300 students are eligible to participate in ceremonies June 15, 16 and 17.

(June 4, 2007)

Commencement 2006Enlarge

Commencement 2006

RIVERSIDE, Calif. ( — A graduating senior who survived genocide in Rwanda and alumni who are distinguished in poetry and diplomacy are among the speakers at UC Riverside’s 53rd Commencement ceremonies that begin Friday, June 15.

More than 3,300 students are eligible to participate in ceremonies planned on June 15, 16 and 17:

Friday, June 15, 7 p.m. — College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences-Business Administration. Swapan Nag (M.B.A. 1986), chief executive officer of Nag, Inc. (dba Engineering Systems), will be the keynote speaker. Elise Galanto, a business administration honor student who will work for PricewaterhouseCoopers, will be the student speaker. (This event was cancelled due to a security threat and another event will be scheduled. Those with tickets should keep them as a way to enter the alternative ceremony.)

Saturday, June 16, 8 a.m. — College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences Departments of Art, Art History, Comparative Literature and Foreign Languages, Creative Writing, Dance, English, Ethnic Studies, Film and Visual Culture, Hispanic Studies, Interdisciplinary Programs and Liberal Studies, Music and Theatre. Billy Collins (M.A. 1965, Ph.D. 1971), United States Poet Laureate from 2001 to 2003, will be the keynote speaker. The student speaker is Heather Andrews, an English major who plans a career as a professor of ethnic/cultural studies.

Saturday, June 16, 6 p.m. — College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences Departments of Psychology, Sociology, Religious Studies and Women’s Studies. California Senate Majority Leader Gloria Romero (M.A. 1980, Ph.D. 19983), D-Los Angeles, will give the keynote address. J. Marie Hicks, an English and psychology major, honor student and mother of four grown children, will be student speaker.

Sunday, June 17, 8 a.m. — College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences Departments of Anthropology, Economics, History, Philosophy and Political Science. The keynote speaker will be Yolanda Moses (M.A. 1975, Ph.D. 1976), vice provost for conflict resolution, special assistant to the chancellor for excellence and diversity, and professor of anthropology. The student speaker is Paul Rudatsikira, a history major, survivor of the Rwanda genocide and founder of the nonprofit Africa Global Partnership.

Sunday, June 17, 6 p.m. — Bourns College of Engineering and College of Natural and Agricultural Sciences. Wally Rippel, principal power electronics engineer for Tesla Motors, will be the keynote speaker. He appeared in the documentary, “Who Killed the Electric Car?” The student speaker is Joana Aquino, a neuroscience major who was born in the Philippines. She plans a career as a surgeon.

Monday, June 18, 7 p.m. — Graduate Division and Teacher Education Program. The keynote speaker will be Ronald E. Neumann (B.A. 1966, M.A. 1967), former ambassador of the United States to the Islamic Republic of Afghanistan, Algeria and Bahrain. The student speaker is Mary Link, a Ph.D. candidate in education and a special education teacher at Badger Springs Middle School in Moreno Valley.

For the first time the ceremony will be ticketed, with graduates receiving a particular number of tickets for family members.

With more than 35,000 people expected on campus for ceremonies this weekend, traffic will be heavy. Visitors may park free in any lot on campus.

The ceremony will be broadcast inside an air-conditioned environment for people who don’t want to be in the sun.


The University of California, Riverside ( is a doctoral research university, a living laboratory for groundbreaking exploration of issues critical to Inland Southern California, the state and communities around the world. Reflecting California's diverse culture, UCR's enrollment has exceeded 21,000 students. The campus opened a medical school in 2013 and has reached the heart of the Coachella Valley by way of the UCR Palm Desert Center. The campus has an annual statewide economic impact of more than $1 billion.

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