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Madeleine Albright heads a distinguished list of commencement speakers as UC Berkeley's Class of 2000 graduates
05 May 2000

By Robert Sanders , Media Relations

Berkeley -- The University of California, Berkeley, Class of 2000, whose motto is "Once in a Millennium," will graduate this spring in a series of ceremonies beginning with an all-class Commencement Convocation on Wednesday, May 10, in the Hearst Greek Theatre.

U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine Albright will address the graduating class at convocation at 4 p.m. The ceremony is not open to the public, but members of the media are invited to attend.

Some 10,400 students are eligible to graduate from UC Berkeley this spring - 6,500 of them seniors earning a bachelor's degree, the rest obtaining graduate degrees.

Apart from convocation, some 50 schools, colleges and departments will hold private commencement ceremonies during May, drawing various well-known speakers. Among them are California Lieutenant Governor Cruz Bustamante, National Public Radio's Ira Glass, former White House Chief of Staff Leon Panetta, author Barbara Ehrenreich and journalist Lowell Bergman.

Commencement Convocation is the most traditional graduation ceremony on the UC Berkeley campus, complete with a colorful procession of students and academics in robes reflecting their degrees and alma maters. The campus's top graduating senior - Fadia Rafeedie - will receive the University Medal during the ceremony. Awards also will be given for public service, leadership and athletics.

Among this season's noteworthy commencement speakers are:

Cruz Bustamante, lieutenant governor of California. He will speak at commencement ceremonies for the Graduate School of Education on Saturday, May 13, at 2 p.m. in Zellerbach Auditorium.

Ira Glass, producer and host of "This American Life" on National Public Radio. He will address the Graduate School of Journalism on Saturday, May 13, at 3 p.m in the North Gate Hall courtyard.

Lowell Bergman, former producer for 60 Minutes and currently a visiting professor at the Graduate School of Journalism. He will address Undergraduate and Interdisciplinary Studies graduates on Friday, May 19, at 2 p.m. in the Greek Theatre.

Barbara Ehrenreich, author and social activist. She will address graduates of the Sociology Department on Saturday, May 20, at 9 a.m. in Zellerbach Auditorium.

Rodrigo Rato, deputy prime minister of Spain and minister of the economy and a Haas School of Business MBA from the class of 1974. He will give the commencement address at the Haas School's ceremonies on Sunday, May 21, at 9 a.m. in the Greek Theatre.

Leon Panetta, former U.S. Representative from California, director of the White House Office of Management & Budget, and White House Chief of Staff from 1994 to 1997. He will speak to graduating political science students on Monday, May 22, at 2 p.m. in the Greek Theatre.

Among the awards being presented at convocation on May 10 are:

The University Medal, given each year to UC Berkeley's top graduating senior. This year it's being awarded to Fadia Rafeedie, a 22-year-old history major who has earned all As, half of them A+s; had some of her work published in a scholarly journal; and was accepted to law school at Yale University. The daughter of Palestinian immigrants, Rafeedie helped establish a UC Berkeley chapter of the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee; wrote for the online newsletter, "Free Arab Voice;" and was active in the Arab Student Union.

The Mather Good Citizen Award, established in l983 to recognize a high standard of conduct and service to the university. The 1999-2000 award will go to Norahazel Casillas, a sociology major from Downey. She has volunteered widely in the community and on campus, and after graduation she plans to work in Chiapas, Mexico, for the largest non-profit social service agency in Mexico, evaluating the needs of youth and families.

The Kenneth Priestley Award, established in l948 to recognize outstanding student leadership and contributions to student welfare. This year's winner is Preston J. Taylor, a sociology major who attended high school at the College Preparatory School in Oakland. Throughout his four years at UC Berkeley he has served in campus student government, first as a senator, then as executive vice president, and finally as president.

The Anna Espenshade Prize and the Jake Gimbel Prize, given to athletes who embody the "Golden Bear" spirit, will not be announced until the day before convocation.



List of all Commencement Ceremonies for May, 2000

UC Berkeley's top graduating senior is driven by thirst for knowledge, good books and a commitment to others

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