At UCLA, Commencement isn’t an event — it’s more like a season, kicking off May 12 when the School of Law hands out J.D. degrees and winding up June 18 when grads pose for pictures with the Bruin statue after departmental graduations and student celebrations.
For Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, Commencement 2006 will be a homecoming. He’s the featured speaker at the largest event of all, the College of Letters and Science ceremony. Villaraigosa earned a UCLA bachelor’s degree in history in 1977; the College has a long-standing tradition of inviting its own alumni back to speak. No word on how Villaraigosa plans to top last year’s guest appearance by Cookie Monster.*
For Chancellor Albert Carnesale, Commencement 2006 will mark an ending. On June 2 he spoke to the graduating class of the David Geffen School of Medicine. On June 17 he will present the UCLA Medal for the last time. And on June 30 Carnesale will step down as chancellor to return to his teaching, scholarship and engagement in public policy issues. So perhaps next time he lines up for a UCLA commencement procession, Carnesale will join the many grads who make sunglasses and leis part of their academic apparel.
*Cookie Monster is not an alum, but Gary Knell is (the CEO of Sesame Street Workshop).
**Since Commencement 2006 is still in progress, we’re letting the Class of 2005 act as stand-ins: the photos are last year’s.