USC announces commencement speaker, honorary degree recipients

April 24, 2012 Robert Perkins

On May 11, more than 40,000 members of the Trojan Family will descend on the University Park campus for USC’s 129th Commencement ceremony. Headlining the event will be an address by journalist Christiane Amanpour, global affairs anchor at ABC News and chief international correspondent for CNN International.

Approximately 14,000 degrees will be conferred that day, including nearly 1,400 doctorate degrees, either at the main ceremony in Alumni Park or one of the 34 satellite ceremonies across campus.

Degree candidates, Half Century Trojans, faculty and distinguished guests will form a processional leaving Bovard Auditorium at 8:30 a.m. USC president C. L. Max Nikias will preside over the main ceremony at 9 a.m. in Alumni Park.

In addition, eight honorary degree recipients, including Amanpour, will be recognized for their contributions as civic, academic and arts leaders in the community. They are:

Lt. Gen. Roméo Dallaire was force commander of the United Nations peacekeeping force for Rwanda during the country’s 1994 genocide. Currently serving as a Canadian senator, he was credited with saving more than 32,000 lives in Rwanda.

Dana Dornsife is a USC benefactor and international humanitarian. Together with her husband, David, she provided the single-largest gift in the university’s history – a transformative contribution that named the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences in 2011.

David Dornsife ’65 is a USC trustee, whose family’s dedication to advancing the university’s work in neuroscience and medicine dates back several decades. He served as chairman of the board of the Herrick Corp., and vice president of the Hedco Foundation, which supports health and education.

Victoria Hale is a pharmaceuticals scientist and social entrepreneur. She founded Medicines360, a nonprofit company that develops medicine for women and children, and The Institute for OneWorld Health, which developed a cure for black fever and technology that reduced the cost of malaria drugs.

Armas C. “Mike” Markkula MS ’66 is an entrepreneur, innovator and engineer. He played a key role in the founding and growth of Apple Inc., having served as an early investor, adviser and CEO.

Julie Mork is a philanthropic leader, champion of education, and advocate of youth and visually impaired children. She and her family gave the single-largest contribution for undergraduate scholarships in USC’s history and provided the naming gift for the Mork Family Department of Chemical Engineering and Materials Science in 2005.

John Mork ’70 is a USC trustee and CEO of Energy Corporation of America. He is a member of the Chief Executives Organization, the World Presidents’ Organization and the USC Viterbi School of Engineering’s Board of Councilors.

The university also will honor valedictorian Genevieve Hoffman and salutatorians Sonam Kapadia and Jeffrey Ryan Hill.

On May 9, the Keck School of Medicine of USC will hold its satellite ceremony for M.S., Ph.D. and public health graduates. Irving Weissman, director of the Institute for Stem Cell Biology and Regenerative Medicine at Stanford University’s School of Medicine, will serve as the speaker. J. Nadine Gracia, deputy assistant secretary for minority health (acting) and acting director for the Office of Minority Health at the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, will speak at the Keck School’s satellite ceremony for M.D./Ph.D. and M.D. graduates on May 12.

The baccalaureate ceremony for USC degree candidates and their families will be held at 5 p.m. on May 10 at Bovard Auditorium. Television journalist Lisa Ling will deliver the keynote address at the nondenominational, interfaith celebration. The baccalaureate dinner will follow at 6:30 p.m. on Pardee Way.

The Chicano/Latino Celebration, the African American Cultural Celebration and the Asian Pacific Graduate Celebration will begin at 8 p.m. on May 10 at Howard Jones Field, Bovard Auditorium and the Ronald Tutor Campus Center Grand Ballroom, respectively.

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Diplomas will be presented at satellite ceremonies for individual schools with the following speakers:

USC Leventhal School of Accounting

John Campbell, congressman for the 48th district of California

USC School of Architecture

Lorcan O’Herlihy, School of Architecture adjunct professor

USC Division of Biokinesiology and Physical Therapy

Bill Shumard, president and CEO of Special Olympics Southern California

USC Marshall School of Business (graduate students)

Timothy Coleman MBA ’79, senior managing director of Blackstone

USC Marshall School of Business (undergraduate students)

Richard Rosenblatt, co-founder, chairman and CEO of Demand Media

USC School of Cinematic Arts

Barry Meyer, chairman and CEO of Warner Bros.

USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences has four satellite ceremonies:

• Group 1, Howard Jones Field

Dani Byrd, USC Dornsife vice dean for faculty and professor of linguistics

• Group 2, Parking Lot 6

Donal Manahan, USC Dornsife vice dean for students and professor of biological sciences

• Group 3, Shrine Auditorium

Steven Lamy, USC Dornsife vice dean for academic programs and professor of international relations

• Group 4, Alumni Park

George Sanchez, USC Dornsife vice dean for diversity and strategic initiatives, and professor of American studies and ethnicity

USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, School of Communication

Maria Shriver, award-winning journalist, best-selling author and activist

USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism, School of Journalism

Christiane Amanpour, global affairs anchor at ABC News and chief international correspondent for CNN International

Ostrow School of Dentistry of USC

John Robinson, former USC and NFL football coach

USC Roski School of Fine Arts

Michael Govan, director of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art

USC Rossier School of Education

Don Shalvey EdD ’95, co-founder of Aspire Public Schools

ROTC Commissioning Ceremony: Air Force, Army, Naval

Rear Adm. Peter A. Gumataotao, U.S. Navy

USC Viterbi School of Engineering, Graduate Students

Feng Deng MS ’93, co-founder of Northern Light Venture Capital

USC Viterbi School of Engineering, (undergraduate students)

Dan Barry, NASA astronaut and director of Ninth Sense Inc.

USC Roski School of Fine Arts

Michael Govan, director of the Los Angeles County Museum of Art

USC Gould School of Law

Goodwin Hon Liu, associate justice of the Supreme Court of California

USC Thornton School of Music

Antonio Damasio, University Professor and director of the Brain and Creativity Institute at USC

USC Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy

Ronnie C. Chan MBA ’76, USC trustee and chairman of Hang Lung Group Limited and Hang Lung Properties Limited

USC School of Social Work

Marcia Wilson MSW ’87, PhD ’95, USC School of Social Work adjunct associate professor

USC School of Pharmacy

Virginia Herold, executive officer, California State Board of Pharmacy

USC School of Theatre

Gary Ross, writer, producer and director (The Hunger Games)

Other satellite ceremony speakers to be announced will be posted on the Commencement website.