UC Berkeley convocation for December graduates to be held Friday,
Norman Mineta to speak
Kathleen Maclay, Media Relations
- This Friday, for the first time in recent campus history,
University of California, Berkeley students wrapping up degree
requirements during the fall semester will be honored with
their own formal graduation convocation.
undergraduate students are eligible to participate in the
new December Graduate Convocation, scheduled from 4-6 p.m.
in Hertz Hall auditorium. U.S. Commerce Secretary Norman Y.
Mineta, a UC Berkeley alumnus, is the guest speaker.
students graduating in the fall have been invited to an informal
reception in December or to join in commencement celebrations
for about 10,000 graduates each spring.
few of them come back (for the spring ceremony)," said Cindy
Leung, director of student services at the California Alumni
Association. "Once they're gone, they're gone."
at Friday's event are approximately 1,000 graduate students
earning advanced degrees.
Gallego supports the December convocation, which is sponsored
by the Chancellor's Office, California Alumni Association
and Alumni Scholars Club.
it's a good idea, definitely, for those people who had to
take an extra semester to finish," said the 25-year-old student
from Mexicali, Mexico, who is earning degrees in December
in both molecular and cell biology and in Spanish.
21, president at UC Berkeley of the Associated Students of
the University of California (ASUC), is a December graduate,
(in business administration and political science) and taking
four and a half years," Liaw said. "I prefer this because
I have more time to complete my requirements rather than being
academically rushed and possibly missing another aspect of
my college experience. Also, I have another summer to get
a summer internship. This will allow me to recruit an additional
season, and hopefully it will open up even more job opportunities."
Noz, a senior and president of the Alumni Scholars Club, said
students graduate whenever their schedules allow, even though
they may feel a December graduation date lacks the drama of
the traditional springtime ceremony.
graduating in December purposely planned her schedule so she
could graduate in three and a half years instead of four,"
Noz said. "Another friend walked in his May departmental graduation
and said that experience was anti-climactic because he still
had one more semester of classes. Both were excited to receive
invitations (to the December convocation) in the mail."
in the Alumni Scholars Club led the charge to create a celebration
for December graduates similar to the one for students finishing
in the spring. A decade ago, the club successfully lobbied
for a December graduation "reception."
past year, however, club members have rallied for still more
recognition for fall finishers.
grads kind of get forgotten," said Yuwynn Ho, 22, a December
2000 graduate from San Diego, who is earning bachelor's degrees
in political science and economics.
to let these graduates know that we think they are just as
special as those who graduate in the spring, and that their
work is no less important," added Samia Husain, a UC Berkeley
sophomore, chair of the December graduates' convocation and
an alumni scholar.
working on the December convocation with others in the Alumni
Scholars Club, which includes about 1,000 UC Berkeley students
recognized by the California Alumni Association for their
president of commencement for the senior class council in
1999-2000, Ho helped secure U.S. Secretary of State Madeleine
Albright as UC Berkeley's commencement speaker last May. When
assigned to find a speaker for the December convocation, Ho
wasted no time making important contacts with potential speakers
while serving an internship at the White House last summer.
Among the prominent figures he met was Mineta.
Husain later invited Mineta to speak to the December graduates.
"I am thrilled
that we are able to get two prominent individuals to speak
at the Class of 2000 commencements (in May and December) who
have shattered many glass ceilings," Ho said.
69, served as a U.S. Army intelligence officer in Korea, as
a city council member and mayor of San Jose, and in the U.S.
House of Representatives for 21 years. He retired from Congress
in 1995 after a career that included leading the passage of
legislation granting $20,000 in compensation to every Japanese-American
interned - as he was - during World War II. He also was involved
in settling a semiconductor chip dispute with Japan.
Congress, Mineta became a senior vice president of Lockheed
who graduated from UC Berkeley in June1953 with a bachelor's
degree in business, became the nation's first Asian American
cabinet secretary when he took the commerce post in June.
Former Chancellor Chang-Lin Tien, the first Asian American
to head a major U.S. research university, hosted the campus's
first December graduation reception, held for about 200 students
Asian American born in Malaysia, said Tien and Mineta have
been role models for him, and that he's honored that both
of them agreed to speak - one years ago, the other this semester
- to December graduates.