UC San Diego to Hold Eleven Commencement Ceremonies for Class of 2012

A university renowned for science and research features five graduation speakers from the arts and entertainment industry

This spring, UC San Diego will confer degrees on 8,182 graduating students. Erik Jepsen/UC San Diego Publications

Celebrated alumni of the University of California, San Diego that include Ira Rubenstein, executive vice president at Twentieth Century Fox and actor James Avery will speak to 8,182  graduating students for the campus’s 2012 commencement ceremonies. The majority of UC San Diego’s 11 commencement ceremonies will take place June 15-17, preceded by the Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences May 19 and the School of Medicine’s June 3 graduation.

This year’s Associated Students president, Alyssa Wing, is among UC San Diego’s 6,073 undergraduates receiving degrees this June.  “My brothers and I are the first in our family to attend college, so this moment in my life is a huge milestone,” Wing said. “I realize that my ability to be here at UC San Diego was a special opportunity and a huge blessing. My time on this campus has been nothing short of incredible and I owe a special gratitude to my parents who have worked all their lives to give my siblings and me the opportunity to go to college.”

UC San Diego’s commencement weekend will kick off with the university’s fifth annual All Campus Graduation Celebration at 7 p.m., Friday, June 15. The event is open to graduating undergraduate and graduate students and alumni of UC San Diego. The all-campus event will feature a dinner, fireworks show and keynote speech from university alumna Sandi Logan, vice president of casting for ABC Entertainment. Logan earned her bachelor’s degree in theatre from UC San Diego in 1986.

Logan has worked in casting for 16 years, starting with sitcoms like “Coach,” and dramas including “Popular,” “Dark Angel,” “Judging Amy,” and “Boomtown.”  She was nominated for an Emmy in the category of best casting of a comedy for “Monk.”

The majority of UC San Diego’s 11 commencement ceremonies will take place June 15-17.

The first of UC San Diego’s commencement ceremonies was held by the Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences at 10 a.m., Saturday, May 19 at the Price Center Ballroom where 59 student graduates received their Pharm.D degrees. Keynote speaker was UC San Francisco School of Pharmacy dean, Mary Anne Koda-Kimble.

At 10 a.m., Sunday, June 3 on the east lawn between the Medical Teaching Facility and the Stein Research Building, the UC San Diego School of Medicine will confer medical degrees on 123 graduates––six will receive both M.D.s and Master’s of Advanced Studies in Clinical Research degrees and eight will receive joint M.D./Ph.D.s. The keynote speaker is alumnus Judy Swain, M.D., founding director of UC San Diego School of Medicine’s College of Integrated Life Sciences and former chair of medicine at Stanford University.

The first of three ceremonies scheduled for Saturday, June 16, will be held by Thurgood Marshall College at 8 a.m. on RIMAC Field. Some 1,400 graduates and more than 11,000 guests will assemble to hear the commencement speech from UC San Diego alumnus and actor James Avery. Avery is perhaps best known as best known for his portrayal of uncle Phil Banks of Will Smith’s hit TV show “The Fresh Prince of Bel-Air.” Avery, a champion of UC San Diego, returns often to his alma matter as a featured guest speaker and has also shown his generosity to the campus through the James Avery Scholarship, which awards students pursuing studies in performing or visual arts.

A total of 550 students receiving Ph.D.s and 1,100 students receiving their master’s degrees will graduate this year.  These students and about 2,000 guests will gather at noon June 16 at RIMAC Arena for the Office of Graduate Studies commencement ceremony. The keynote speaker is alumnus Robert E. Bowman who graduated with a Master of Fine Art from UC San Diego’s Theatre and Dance department. Bowman has worked as a writer, story editor, producer, co-executive producer and executive producer in the world of television since 1996. His credits include “Family Guy,” and “Yes, Dear.” He was hired to develop his own series, “My Name is Earl,” which ran from 2005 to 2009. He is currently in development of an American adaptation of the British blue-collar comedy “White Van Man.” One of the characteristics of Bowman’s writing has been the ability to combine comedy and compassion.

UC San Diego alumnus Ira Rubenstein has been selected by Revelle College to give the graduation address to 735 graduating students and some 8,000 guests at 1 p.m., June 16 on RIMAC Field.  Rubenstein was recently named executive vice president of digital marketing for Twentieth Century Fox. In 2008, Rubenstein, who graduated from Revelle with a degree in economics, was appointed executive vice president of Marvel Entertainment, a world-renowned entertainment company built on a library of more than 5,000 characters such as Iron Man, Spider Man and the Hulk. Prior to working at Marvel Entertainment, Rubenstein was with Sony as executive vice president of Sony Pictures Digital. Currently he serves as president of the UCSD Alumni Association Board of Directors.

John Muir College’s ceremony will be held at 5 p.m., June 16 on RIMAC Field. Some 1,000 graduating students and about 10,000 guests will hear keynote speaker Lucia Goin, a graduating senior who will give a speech entitled “The Importance of Being Lost.” The talk will highlight how Muir students can follow the lead of the college’s namesake, John Muir, by seeing opportunity where most people see misfortune.

Leading off the commencement ceremonies slated for Sunday, June 17 is Earl Warren College at 8 a.m. with 950 graduates and more than 10,000 guests on RIMAC Field.

The School of International Relations and Pacific Studies (IR/PS) will honor two master of international affairs (MIA), 123 master of international pacific affairs (MPIA) and 29 master of advance studies in international affairs (MAS-IA) graduates at 10:30 a.m., Sunday, June 17, at the Institute of the Americas plaza. The graduating students and more than 800 guests will gather to listen to Qin Xiao, chairman of the board of the Boyuan Foundation, member of the 11th Chinese People’s Political Consultative Conference, and guest professor at the School of Economics and Management of Tsinghua University and the Graduate School of the People’s Bank of China.

Sunday, Eleanor Roosevelt College will hold its ceremony with 1,100 graduates who will receive diplomas. Graduating senior Erica Baba will serve as speaker––Baba is a sociology major with a minor in education studies who has volunteered as a tutor at Monarch School, The Preuss School UCSD and Lincoln High School.  The ceremony will take place at 1 p.m. on RIMAC Field.

Sixth College alumnus Wesley Chan will deliver the keynote speech at 5 p.m., Sunday, June 17 for the 888 Sixth College graduating students and more than 3,000 guests. Chan along with UC San Diego alumni Ted Fu and Phillip Wang, established Wong Fu Productions, an independent production company specializing in the creation of online content and new media. Wong Fu’s short films, music videos and social media have garnered an extensive viewership, including more than 1.1 million subscribers on YouTube.

Winding up UC San Diego’s commencement series will be Lloyd H. Dean, president and chief executive officer of Dignity Health, a network of hospitals dedicated to delivering compassionate, high-quality, accessible and affordable health care. Dean will speak at 11 a.m., June 23 at the Rady School Plaza to 600 guests and 123 graduates of the Rady School of Management.

For more information on UC San Diego’s commencement ceremonies, go to: http://students.ucsd.edu/academics/commencement/index.html.

Graduates by the numbers:

Total undergraduates: 6,073

  • Thurgood Marshall College––1,400
  • Revelle College––735
  • John Muir College––1,000
  • Warren College––950
  • Eleanor Roosevelt College––1,100
  • Sixth College––888

Total graduates: 2,109

  • Skaggs School of Pharmacy––59
  • School of Medicine––123
  • Office of Graduate studies––1,650
  • School of International Relations and Pacific Studies (IR/PS)––154
  • Rady School of Management––123

Total graduating class: 8,182

Media Contact

Christine Clark, 858-534-7618, ceclark@ucsd.edu