College graduations will commence next week starting May 14

It’s that time of year again when students at the Claremont Colleges prepare to graduate, sent off with pomp and circumstance as well as words of wisdom from renowned speakers.


The Pitzer College Class of 2016 has selected Patrisse Cullors as keynote speaker for the college’s 52nd annual graduation, set for Saturday, May 14 at 10 a.m. at Commencement Plaza. Ms. Cullors is an acclaimed activist and artist who uses multi-media theater and dance to call attention to social injustice.

In 2011, she developed “Stained: An Intimate Portrayal of State Violence,” a traveling art piece exposing her incarcerated brother’s abuse by law enforcement. She subsequently established Dignity and Power Now, a Los Angeles-based grassroots organization fighting for incarcerated people, their families and communities. Ms. Cullors also works with the Ella Baker Center for Human Rights to build response capacity of communities affected by state and law enforcement violence.

Ms. Cullors’ “Malcolm Revisited”—a series of workshops, performance pieces and a visual exhibit dedicated to Malcolm X’s impact on the movement for black lives—will be presented at the Highways Performance Space in Santa Monica in June.

She is perhaps most noted for creating, along with Alicia Garza and Opal Tometi, the viral Twitter hashtag #BlackLivesMatter in response to the 2013 acquittal of George Zimmerman in the shooting death of Trayvon Martin.

You can view a live webcast of Pitzer’s commencement ceremony on webcast.



Pomona College’s 122nd commencement exercises will be held on Sunday, May 15 at 10 a.m. at Marston Quadrangle, located between 4th and 6th Streets in Claremont. Deborah Bial, education strategist and founder of the Posse Foundation, will serve as keynote speaker. 

Created in 1989, the Posse Foundation is a nonprofit that recruits and trains student leaders from public high schools to form multicultural teams of 10 to 12 scholars. These “Posses” undertake an intensive training program for enrollment at top-tier universities where they can promote cross-cultural communication.

Posse Scholars have won $806 million in scholarships from the organization’s 56 partner universities, and have a 90 percent graduation rate. Ms. Bial was awarded a MacArthur Fellowship in 2007 for her groundbreaking work.

A large-screen feed will be available during the ceremony in Bridges Hall of Music, and it will be livestreamed at




Scripps College will welcome Madeleine Albright, America’s first female Secretary of State, as keynote speaker for the college’s graduation ceremony, held Saturday, May 14 at 5 p.m. on Elm Tree Lawn. Seating, which begins at 3:30 p.m., is open and available on a first-come, first-served basis.

Ms. Albright was appointed in 1997 to the highest-ranking political post for a woman in American history, navigating four years of foreign crises as Secretary of State in the Clinton Administration. She reinforced America’s alliances, advocated for democracy and human rights and promoted American trade, business, labor and environmental standards abroad. Ms. Albright received the Presidential Medal of Freedom from President Barack Obama in 2012. She currently serves as chair of the National Democratic Institute.

Ms. Albright is also the author of five New York Times bestsellers.



Harvey Mudd College’s 58th commencement will be held on Sunday, May 15 at 1:30 p.m. on the Harvey S. Mudd Quadrangle. The newly minted grads will have Carol S. Dweck as keynote speaker.

Ms. Dweck, author of the best-selling book Mindset, studies why people succeed and how to foster their success. Her work has demonstrated the role of mindsets in success and has shown how praise for intelligence can undermine motivation and learning. Her work has been featured in such publications as the New Yorker, Newsweek, the New York Times, the Wall Street Journal and the Washington Post. She has appeared on shows like Today, Good Morning America, NPR’s Morning Edition and 20/20.  

In addition to her position at Stanford, Ms. Dweck has held professorships at and Columbia and Harvard Universities, and has lectured to education, business and sports groups. She recently won the Distinguished Scientific Contribution Award from the American Psychological Association, among other honors.

A livestream of the graduation will be available at



Pulitzer Prize-winning author David Remnick, editor of The New Yorker and host of the magazine’s new radio show and podcast, will deliver the keynote address at Claremont McKenna College’s 69th annual commencement ceremony. Graduation takes place on Saturday, May 14 at 2 p.m. on the college’s Pritzlaff Field.

Mr. Remnick graduated from Princeton University in 1981 and, rather than busing tables during his college years, worked as a stringer for a local newspaper, taking on obits and whatever stories were offered. Two big breaks included an internship at the Washington Post in 1982, resulting in his hiring as staff writer, and the newspaper’s job posting in 1987 for a foreign correspondent in Russia.

Mr. Remnick spent four years in the Soviet Union as a correspondent during “the most exalted, least violent, most positive years in the history of the Russian empire.” The tenure inspired his Pulitzer Prize-winning 1994 book Lenin’s Tomb: The Last Days of the Soviet Empire.

Mr. Remnick is the author of Resurrection: The Struggle for a New Russia; King of the World, a biography of Muhammed Ali; The Bridge, a biography of President Obama; The Devil Problem and Reporting, collections of his New Yorker magazine pieces.

The ceremony will be livestreamed at



Keck Graduate Institute’s commencement will be held Saturday, May 14 at 11 a.m. on the college’s East Lawn. The speaker will be Robert A. Bradway, chairman and CEO at Amgen, a human therapeutics company in the biotechnology industry.

Prior to joining Amgen, Mr. Bradway was a managing director at Morgan Stanley in London where he was responsible for the firm’s banking department and corporate finance activities in Europe.

Mr. Bradway is a member of the board of directors of Norfolk Southern Corporation and serves on its audit and governance committees. He is on the board of trustees at USC and the advisory board of the Leonard D. Schaeffer Center for Health Policy and Economics at USC. He is also chairman of the CEO Roundtable on Cancer, a nonprofit organization composed of executives and aimed at providing cancer treatment and prevention solutions.

The event will be livestreamed at



Claremont Graduate University will hold its 89th commencement ceremony on Saturday, May 14 at 9 a.m. in the Mudd Quadrangle, located at the southeast corner of Tenth Street and Dartmouth Avenue.

Tim Brown, CEO of IDEO—an award-winning global design firm that takes a human-centered, design-based approach to helping organizations innovate and grow—will serve as commencement speaker.

Mr. Brown is an advocate for the value of design thinking and innovation, and a thought leader in the areas of creative competitiveness and leadership. He takes special interest in the ways that human-centered design can be leveraged to solve large-scale societal challenges, such as serving the well-being of people living in poverty, creating sustainable food systems, reimagining how we experience aging and solving for the demands of urban living. 

An industrial designer by training, he has earned numerous design awards and exhibited work at the Axis Gallery in Tokyo, the Design Museum in London and the Museum of Modern Art in New York. Mr. Brown serves on the Mayo Clinic Innovation Advisory Council and the Advisory Council of Acumen, a nonprofit global venture focused on improving the lives of the poor. He also chairs the World Economic Forum Global Agenda Council on the Creative Economy and writes for The Harvard Business Review, The Economist and other prominent publications. 

He is the author of the 2009 book Change by Design and his talks “Serious Play” and “Change by Design” appear on

The ceremony will be livestreamed on

—Sarah Torribio


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