University of California, Riverside

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Record Number to Graduate

A Record Number Graduating from UC Riverside

Seven commencement ceremonies are scheduled from June 10 though 13

(May 31, 2011)

RIVERSIDE, Calif. ( -- The University of California, Riverside’s 57th commencement ceremonies will be held from June 10 through 13. Nearly 4,500 students, a record number, will graduate this year.

Tickets are required for entrance to each of the seven ceremonies on Pierce Lawn that will feature keynote speakers from education, the media, business, engineering, athletics, government and the military. Parking on campus is free.

New this year is a web site - - for families, friends and community members to leave comments for graduates.

During the four days of ceremonies, traffic is expected to be heavy. Campus officials are advising motorists not arriving for the ceremonies to use alternative routes.

The following students are among those graduating this year:

• Fortino Morales III, from San Diego, who will be earning an environmental science degree with a concentration in social science from the College of Natural and Agricultural Sciences. He is the past leader of Sustainable UCR, a student organization that promotes sustainability on campus through grass-roots organizing and political action. He helped coordinate the development of a community garden on campus. He, along with two other students, were also recently awarded $25,000 in grants for Cultivate R-Space, a student-led seminar on gardens and food systems, in which students will work with community-based organizations and the city of Riverside to identify usable space that will be offered for community gardens.

• Aaron Carew, who enrolled at UC Riverside after seven years in the U.S. Army, will be earning his degree in theater with a focus on writing from the College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences. He was helped by Operation Education, a scholarship program designed to help post-9/11 veterans with a service-connected disability to pay for things not covered by the GI Bill and other sources of financial aid.

• James Gutierrez will be receiving an environmental engineering degree from the Bourns College of Engineering. Gutierrez, a graduate of Rancho Verde High School in Moreno Valley, served in the U.S. Army Reserves for six years before enrolling at UC Riverside. In April, he was part of a team of students that won an international environmental design competition for a system they created to clean hard, brackish water for municipal water districts. He also received the outstanding student award at the competition. In the fall, he will pursue his Ph.D. at Yale University.

• Casandra Jean Vasquez, who earned her Ph.D. in entomology from UC Riverside in 2010, is receiving her single subject teaching credential in science from the Graduate School of Education. Vasquez, who did her student teaching at Valley View High School in Moreno Valley, has dedicated her career to working with low-income, high needs, high school students in the community. She was recently received the Vivian and Richard Eyman scholarships for the highest achiever and most promising teacher candidate awards.

• Thea Hughes, who is originally from Edmonton, Alberta, Canada and transferred to UC Riverside from Pasadena City College, will be earning her degree in business administration, marketing from the School of Business Administration. Hughes, who was a member of the UCR Highlander Girls and a student ambassador at the business school, recently beat out more than 125 students throughout the nation to win a social media marketing competition. He project was called “Eat, Play, Love: Building a Community to Fight Childhood Obesity.” For winning the competition, she will receive $2,500 and an internship this summer at the New York City headquarters of Saatchi & Saatchi, a global advertising agency.

The commencement schedule is as follows:

Friday, June 10

• 6 p.m. School of Business Administration/A. Gary Anderson Graduate School of Management; all MBA and bachelor's degree candidates. Keynote speaker: Wen-Tie (Robert) Sun, who received his MBA from UC Riverside in 1987, CEO, Discovery Medical, Inc.

Saturday, June 11

• 8 a.m., College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences, all doctoral, master's and bachelor's degree candidates in the departments of anthropology, economics, history, philosophy and political science. Keynote speaker: Wilmer Amina Carter, Assembly Member, California 62nd District.

• 6 p.m. College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences, all doctoral, master's and bachelor's degree candidates in the departments of psychology, sociology, religious studies and women's studies. Keynote speaker: Cecilia Muñoz, director of intergovernmental affairs at the White House.

Sunday, June 12

• 8 a.m., College of Humanities, Arts and Social Sciences, all doctoral, master's and bachelor's degree candidates in the departments of art, art history, comparative literature and foreign languages, creative writing, dance, English, ethnic studies, media and cultural studies, Hispanic studies, interdisciplinary programs and liberal studies, music and theatre. Keynote speaker: Mark Danner, writer, journalist and professor at UC Berkeley and Bard College.

• 6 p.m., College of Natural and Agricultural Sciences and Division of Biomedical Sciences All doctoral, master's and bachelor's degree candidates. Keynote speaker: Leslie Hickle, who earned a bachelor’s degree in biology in 1974 and a Ph.D in entomology in 1981 from UC Riverside, vice president business management, BioAtla, LLC.

Monday, June 13

• 9 a.m., Graduate School of Education, all doctoral, master's and teacher credential candidates. Keynote speaker: Michael Olivas, W.B. Bates distinguished chair in law and director, Institute for Higher Education Law and Governance University of Houston Law Center.

• 6 p.m., Bourns College of Engineering, all doctoral, master's and bachelor's degree candidates. Keynote speaker: Captain Jay A. Kadowaki, commanding officer, Naval Surface Warfare Center, Corona Division.

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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