UCLA Spotlight


UCLA Medal, Commencement 2004

  • Published Jun 1, 2004 8:00 AM

Two notable Americans will receive the UCLA Medal during Commencement 2004: statesman George Mitchell and corporate leader George Aratani.

Mitchell was born and raised in Maine, graduating Bowdoin College and Georgetown Law School. He served in the U.S. Army Counter Intelligence Corps and worked as an attorney in private and government practice. He served Maine for 15 years in the U.S. Senate and also served as majority leader. Mitchell went on to broker peace plans in Northern Ireland and in Israel, and received the Presidential Medal of Freedom in recognition of his efforts. He is currently chairman of the board of Walt Disney Co. Mitchell will receive the UCLA Medal at the commencement ceremony of the School of Public Policy and Social Research scheduled for 9 a.m. Friday, June 18 in Royce Hall.

Aratani, a native of California, lost his family’s produce business during World War II while interned in Arizona with other Japanese Americans. Despite the setback, Aratani went on to found two corporations of international scope: dinnerware giant Mikasa and consumer electronics leader Kenwood. He has been a long-time supporter of UCLA’s Asian American Studies Center and the Center for Japanese Studies. With his wife Sakaye, he endowed the George and Sakaye Aratani Chair on the Japanese American Internment, Redress and Community at UCLA. Aratani will receive the UCLA Medal at the doctoral hooding ceremony set for 7 p.m. Thursday, June 17 in Royce Hall.

The UCLA Medal is the university's highest honor. It was created in 1979 to pay tribute to national and international leaders in government, education, science, industry, the arts and culture, as well as key figures in UCLA's development into one of the world's finest research universities.

Commencement 2004: UCLA will award approximately 10,000 bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees this year, including 6,000 during spring ceremonies. Commencement 2004 includes 16 degree-conferring ceremonies and receptions plus 40 celebrations sponsored by departments and student groups. In addition to the UCLA Medal recipients, notable commencement speakers include:

* Sherry Lansing (Paramount Pictures), Theater, Film and Television * Frank Marshall (alumnus and award-winning producer), College of Letters and Science * Dr. David Kessler (former U.S. Food and Drug Administration), David Geffen School of Medicine * Dr. America Bracho (Latino Health Access), School of Public Health * Carly Fiorina (Hewlett-Packard), Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science * Robert Eckert (Mattel), Anderson School of Management * Thomas Mayne (architect), School of Arts and Architecture * Dr. Charles Bertolami (UC San Francisco School of Dentistry), School of Dentistry * Ben Stein (author, journalist, tv personality), School of Law