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Madeleine Albright to UC San Diego Grads: Find Your Voice

Former U.S. Secretary of State will address graduating students June 15 at All Campus Commencement


  • Christine Clark

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  • Christine Clark

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Former U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine K. Albright will deliver the keynote address to the graduating class at the University of California San Diego, recognized as one of the top 10 public universities in the U.S. Thousands of students will participate in the UC San Diego All Campus Commencement, open to graduates and their guests, at 9 a.m. June 15.

Albright will talk to students about the defining challenges that face their generation at home and abroad, including the need to preserve America’s social fabric and guard against isolationism. In addition, given UC San Diego’s location on the Pacific coast, Albright will also speak about the future of America’s engagement in Asia and the challenges facing the U.S. and China, which is the defining relationship of the 21st century.

The keynote theme aligns with UC San Diego’s mission and academic programs. UC San Diego’s School of Global Policy and Strategy is the only graduate school in international relations throughout the University of California system, and was the first school of its kind established in the U.S. to have an emphasis on Asia and the Americas. Albright had the school in mind when selecting the theme for her talk.

“We are honored that Secretary Albright graciously agreed to speak to UC San Diego’s graduating students,” said Chancellor Pradeep K. Khosla. “Her values of consideration, dialogue, analysis, collaboration, and diplomacy so closely align with our university’s vision to be a collaborative, student-centered, research-focused, and service-oriented public university.”

An inspiration to those who take an unconventional path to education

In addition to her leadership qualities, Albright was selected as keynote speaker because her personal story resonates with many UC San Diego students.

She earned her bachelor’s degree in political science from Wellesley College in 1959. It was only after Albright had three children that she completed her education, earning, an M.A. and a Ph.D. in international affairs from Columbia University. She did not enter public office until the 1970s. “It took me a long time for me to find my public voice,” Albright said.

Elizabeth Simmons, executive vice chancellor for Academic Affairs explained, “We have so many transfer students, veterans and otherwise mature people who took a slightly different track, and they will find her inspiring.”

Albright was appointed secretary of state by President Bill Clinton in 1997 after she served as ambassador to the United Nations for four years. Serving as secretary of state until 2001, she reinforced America’s alliances, advocated for democracy and human rights, and promoted American trade, business, labor and environmental standards abroad.

“See something, say something, do something”

Albright, a best-selling author, businessperson, and professor has transcended the role of history-making diplomat to become a feminist icon who encourages younger generations to make their voices heard. “See something, say something, do something,” she said on “The Late Show with Stephen Colbert” last spring in response to democracies under siege across the globe.

In 2012, Albright was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom, the nation’s highest civilian honor, by President Barack Obama. She is the author of six New York Times bestselling books, including her latest, “Fascism: A Warning.”

Celebrating the Class of 2019

The June 15 UC San Diego All Campus Commencement on the campus RIMAC Field will begin with the procession of graduates at 8:15 a.m., followed by the ceremony which starts at 9 a.m.

In addition to the All Campus Commencement, undergraduate colleges, the Graduate Division and professional schools will hold personal graduation ceremonies where students will walk across the stage as their names are read. The majority of these events take place June 15 and 16 on RIMAC Field. A total of 9,325 students are graduating from UC San Diego this spring.

See details below on the speakers, number of graduating students and other information for the various ceremonies. (Please note: The UC San Diego Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences and School of Medicine graduation ceremonies already took place May 18 and June 2, respectively).

Saturday, June 15

  • Graduate Division – Masters
    • 12:30 p.m., RIMAC Arena
    • Speaker: Pierre Sleiman, MBA ‘13
    • Total number of graduates: 1,971
  • Earl Warren College
    • 1:30 p.m., RIMAC Field
    • Speaker: Mona T. Abboud, class of ‘19
    • Total number of graduates: 978
  • Graduate Division – Doctorate and Master of Fine Arts
    • 4 p.m., RIMAC Field
    • Speaker: Carolina Galleguillos, Ph.D. ‘11
    • Total number of graduates: 565
  • John Muir College
    • 5 p.m., RIMAC Field
    • Speaker: Sinneva Ingrid Stenberg, class of ‘19
    • Total number of graduates: 929

Sunday, June 16

  • Sixth College
    • 8 a.m., RIMAC Field
    • Speaker: Valentina Torres Guerrero, class of ‘19
    • Total number of graduates: 1,071
  • Rady School of Management
    • 9 a.m., RIMAC Arena
    • Speaker: Julia Brown, executive, trustee emerita of the UC San Diego Foundation
      • Masters of Finance: 146
      • M.S. in Business Analytics: 72
      • Masters of Business Administration: 124
      • Ph.D.: 2
    • Total number of graduates: 344
  • Revelle College
    • 11:30 a.m., RIMAC Field
    • Speaker: Daniel Caspi, class of ‘69
    • Total number of graduates: 977
  • School of Global Policy and Strategy
    • 1:30 p.m., RIMAC Arena
    • Speaker: Kathleen Stephens, President and CEO of the Korea Economic Institute (KEI)
      • Bachelor of Arts in International Studies and Master of International Affairs: 10
      • Master of Advanced Studies in International Affairs: 33
      • Master of International Affairs: 75
      • Master of Public Policy: 45
      • Master of Chinese Economic and Political Affairs: 6
    • Total number of graduates: 169
  • Thurgood Marshall College
    • 3 p.m., RIMAC Field
    • Speaker: Timothy Jiho Lee, mayor of Imperial Beach, class of ‘87
    • Total number of graduates: 1,050
  • Eleanor Roosevelt College
    • 6:30 p.m., RIMAC Field
    • Speaker: Erik Hernandez, class of ‘19
    • Total number of graduates: 1,100

Total number of UC San Diego graduates: 9,325

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