USC Sets Commencement Speaker, Honorary Degree Recipients
By Merrill Balassone on April 14, 2011
USC’s 128th Commencement on May 13 will feature an address by Steve Ballmer, chief executive officer of Microsoft Corp. It will be the first Commencement presided over by USC president C. L. Max Nikias.
More than 40,000 people, including graduates and their families, are expected to fill Alumni Park and the sites of 34 satellite ceremonies. More than 13,000 degrees will be conferred at the event, including approximately 430 doctorate degrees.
“Commencement serves as not only a tribute to the enduring vibrancy of the Trojan Family, but also as a powerful symbol of our lifelong and worldwide connections as Trojans,” Nikias said.
Degree candidates, Half Century Trojans, faculty and distinguished guests will form a processional leaving Bovard Auditorium at 8:30 a.m. Nikias will preside over the main 9 a.m. ceremony in Alumni Park.
Six honorary degree recipients, including Ballmer, represent a global set of civic, academic and arts leaders. They are:
General Ann E. Dunwoody, commanding general of the U.S. Army Materiel Command and the first female in U.S. military history to achieve four-star rank.
Ming Hsieh ’84, USC trustee and chief executive officer of Cogent Inc.
Girish Karnad, actor, screenwriter and director for film and television. He is a recipient of the Jnanpith Award, India’s most prestigious literary award.
Albie Sachs, justice of the Constitutional Court of South Africa, who helped abolish the death penalty, overturn laws criminalizing homosexuality and legalize same-sex marriage.
Harald zur Hausen, German virologist and winner of the 2008 Nobel Prize for his discovery of the link between human papillomavirus and cervical cancer, leading to the development of a vaccine in 2006.
The university also will honor valedictorian Sarrah Shahawy and salutatorians Craig Western and Samantha Ancona.
On May 11, the Keck School of Medicine of USC will hold its satellite ceremony for M.S., Ph.D., and public health graduates with Ursula W. Goodenough, professor of biology at Washington University in St. Louis, as the ceremony's speaker. Drew Pinsky, host of the nationally syndicated radio show Loveline and VH1's Celebrity Rehab With Dr. Drew, will speak at the Keck School's May 15 satellite ceremony for M.D./Ph.D. and M.D. graduates.
The baccalaureate ceremony for USC degree candidates and their families will be held on May 12 in Bovard Auditorium. José Horacio Gomez, the archbishop of Los Angeles, will deliver the keynote ceremony at the multifaith service. The baccalaureate dinner will follow at 6:30 p.m. on Pardee Way.
The Chicano/Latino Celebration, the African American Cultural Celebration and the Asian Pacific Graduate Celebration will be held at 8 p.m. on May 13 at Howard Jones Field, in Bovard Auditorium and in the Ronald Tutor Campus Center grand ballroom, respectively.
For more information, visit usc.edu/commencement
Diplomas will be presented at satellite ceremonies for individual schools, with speakers to include:
USC Leventhal School of Accounting
Philip Holthouse, co-founding partner of Holthouse Carlin & Van Trigt
USC Division of Biokinesiology and Physical Therapy
Charles M. Magistro, director emeritus of the Pomona Valley Hospital Medical Center Foundation
USC Marshall School of Business (undergraduates)
Brandon Beck, co-founder and chief executive officer of Riot Games
USC Marshall School of Business (graduate students)
John C. Cushman III, board chairman of Cushman & Wakefield
USC School of Cinematic Arts
Viacom founder Sumner Redstone
USC Dana and David Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences has four satellite ceremonies: Group 1 is at Howard Jones Field, Group 2 is at Lot 6, Group 3 is at the Shrine Auditorium and Group 4 is in Alumni Park.
USC Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism, School of Communication
Linda Douglass, vice president and head of corporate and strategic communications, Atlantic Media Co.
USC Annenberg School for Communication & Journalism, School of Journalism
President C. L. Max Nikias
Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry of USC
Connie Drisko, dean of the School of Dentistry, Medical College of Georgia
USC Roski School of Fine Arts
Rochelle Steiner, dean of the USC Roski School of Fine Arts
USC Rossier School of Education
Incoming Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD) superintendent John Deasy
ROTC Commissioning Ceremony (Air Force, Army, Naval)
General Ann E. Dunwoody, commanding general, U.S. Army Materiel Command
USC Viterbi School of Engineering (graduate students)
William Wang, founder and chief executive officer of Vizio
USC Viterbi School of Engineering (undergraduates)
Elon Musk, co-founder of PayPal, SpaceX and Tesla Motors
USC Gould School of Law
Carlos R. Moreno, former associate justice of the Supreme Court of California
USC Thornton School of Music
Vince Mendoza, Grammy Award-winning jazz artist and composer
USC Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy
Sen. Tim Kennedy (D-New York)
USC School of Policy, Planning, and Development (graduate students)
Jane Pisano, president and director of the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County
USC School of Policy, Planning, and Development (undergraduates)
Leroy D. Baca, Sheriff, Los Angeles County Sheriff's Department
USC School of Social Work
Mónica García, LAUSD board president
USC School of Pharmacy
Lucinda L. Maine, executive vice president and chief executive officer, American Association of Colleges of Pharmacy
USC School of Theatre
Girish Karnad, actor, screenwriter and film and television director