Mayim Bialik, Dr. Atul Gawande, Helen Molesworth among speakers at UCLA commencement ceremonies

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Graduating seniors and their guests will attend nearly 60 ceremonies in 2018

UCLA

Commencement speakers will include, clockwise from top left: Dr. Atul Gawande, Mayim Bialik, Joseph Morris, Heidi Shyu, Rusty Bailey and Helen Molesworth.

A New York Times best-selling author, a former curator of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles and UCLA alumna, Mayim Bialik, who has made a mark in entertainment and in science, are among the featured speakers who will take to the stages to inspire and invigorate the UCLA Class of 2018.

In all, graduating students and guests will attend nearly 60 commencement ceremonies, receptions and celebrations at venues across campus between June 1 and June 17. UCLA expects to confer approximately 12,000 bachelor’s, master’s, doctoral and professional degrees for the 2017–2018 school year, including 8,500 earned this spring.

Six of the biggest ceremonies take place June 16, when approximately 30,000 guests are expected to visit Westwood.

The largest commencement is for the UCLA College, which takes place during two ceremonies. Bialik, actress, bestselling author, entrepreneur and a two-time UCLA graduate, will deliver the keynote address to graduating seniors, their families and friends at 2 p.m. and 7 p.m. on Friday, June 15 at Pauley Pavilion (map).

Bialik, who currently stars in the hit CBS comedy “The Big Bang Theory,” became a household name with her role as Blossom Russo in the iconic 1990s sitcom “Blossom.” Bialik earned her bachelor’s degree in neuroscience from UCLA in 2000, with a minor in Hebrew and Jewish studies, and her doctorate in 2007. Her thesis examined the role of oxytocin and vasopressin in obsessive-compulsive disorder in adolescents with Prader-Willi syndrome.

Other notable speakers include:

Dr. Atul Gawande, a practicing general and endocrine surgeon at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, professor at the Harvard T.H. Chan School of Public Health and staff writer for The New Yorker. Gawande, who is also executive director of Ariadne Labs and chairman of Lifebox, has written four New York Times bestsellers, including “Being Mortal,” about dying and how the medical industry and doctors handle death. He will speak at the David Geffen School of Medicine at UCLA Hippocratic Oath ceremony on June 1 at 5 p.m. on Dickson Court North (map).

UCLA alumna Judith Finell, president of Judith Finell MusicServices Inc., has testified as an expert witness and consulted in various litigations involving copyright infringement during the past 20 years, including most recently as the lead musicologist for the Marvin Gaye family in their dispute with Pharrell Williams and Robin Thicke over the song “Blurred Lines.” She has also testified in disputes for Michael Jackson, Sony/CBS, Warner-Chappell, the estates of Igor Stravinsky and Bob Marley. Finell, who earned a bachelor’s degree in piano performance from UCLA in 1968, will be the featured speaker at the graduation ceremony for the Herb Alpert School of Music on June 15 at 4 p.m. on Dickson Court North (map).

Helen Molesworth, former chief curator at the Museum of Contemporary Art in downtown Los Angeles, has also held leadership roles at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Boston, the Harvard Art Museum, the Wexner Center for the Arts and The Baltimore Museum of Art. The author of numerous catalogue essays and recipient of the 2011 Bard Center for Curatorial Studies Award for Curatorial Excellence, Molesworth is currently working on an exhibition inspired by the American painter and film critic Manny Farber and his 1962 essay “White Elephant vs. Termite Art.” Molesworth will speak at the School of the Arts and Architecture ceremony on June 16 at 4 p.m. on Dickson Court North (map).

Commencement season at UCLA kicked off with the School of Law graduation ceremony on May 11. Additional UCLA degree-granting commencement ceremonies and speakers include:

Sunday, June 3

Dr. Peter Polverini, Jonathan Taft Distinguished University Professor of Dentistry and former dean of the School of Dentistry at the University of Michigan, will speak at the UCLA School of Dentistry commencement  at 10 a.m. in Royce Hall (map).

Thursday, June 14

Robin Garrell, vice provost and dean of the graduate division, will speak at the division’s doctoral hooding, at 3 p.m. in Royce Hall (map).

Friday, June 15

Riverside Mayor Rusty Bailey, who graduated from the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs with a master’s degree in public policy in 1999, will speak at the Luskin School of Public Affairs ceremony at 9 a.m. in Royce Hall (map).

Bill Anderson, executive chairman of Topa Equities, Ltd. and chairman of Topa Insurance Group, will speak at the UCLA Anderson School of Management ceremony at 4 p.m. on Wilson Plaza (map).

Carol Larson, president and CEO of the David & Lucile Packard Foundation, will speak to graduates of the Fielding School of Public Health at 5:30 p.m. in Royce Hall (map).

Saturday, June 16

Joseph Morris, executive officer of the California Board of Registered Nursing and a UCLA alumnus who earned a Ph.D. in 2007, will speak at the School of Nursing ceremony at 8:30 a.m. in Royce Hall (map).

Heidi Shyu, former United States assistant secretary of the Army for acquisition, logistics, and technology, will speak at the UCLA Samueli School of Engineering at 12:30 p.m. in Pauley Pavilion (map). Shyu graduated from UCLA with a master’s degree in systems science in 1981 and earned the degree of engineer in 1982.

For information about the ceremonies, including updates and details for specific schools and programs, visit UCLA Commencement.

Media Contact

  • UCLA commencenment speakers

    Clockwise from top left: Dr. Atul Gawande, Mayim Bialik, Joseph Morris, Heidi Shyu, Rusty Bailey and Helen Molesworth.

    UCLA

  • Atul Gawande

    Dr. Atul Gawande, a practicing general and endocrine surgeon at Brigham and Women’s Hospital in Boston, professor at ...

  • Heidi Shyu

    Heidi Shyu, former United States assistant secretary of the Army for acquisition, logistics, and technology.

  • Joseph Morris

    Joseph Morris, executive officer of the California Board of Registered Nursing and a UCLA alumnus who earned a ...

  • Judith Finell

    Judith Finell, president of Judith Finell MusicServices Inc. and a UCLA alumna.

  • Rusty Bailey

    Rusty Bailey, mayor of Riverside, California and who graduated from the UCLA Luskin School of Public Affairs with a ...

  • Peter Polverini

    Peter Polverini, Jonathan Taft Distinguished University Professor of Dentistry and former dean of the school of ...

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