Variety of speakers highlight Claremont Colleges commencement

The Claremont Colleges will celebrate commencements next weekend, marking the end of another busy academic year. Briefs on keynote speakers for the 2013 ceremonies, set to take place Saturday, May 18 and Sunday, May 19, are highlighted here. For more commencement information, visit

Claremont Graduate University

Claremont Graduate University will host president and CEO of Robert Wood Johnson Foundation Risa Lavizzo-Mourey as their keynote speaker. She is the first woman and African-American to hold the position for the RWJF.

Ms. Lavizoo-Mourey served as the deputy administrator of the Federal Agency for Health Care Policy and Research from 1992 to 1994. She has also held the position of co-vice chair for Congress’ Institute of Medicine and helped in the completion of their report on “Unequal Treatment: Confronting Racial and Ethnic Health Disparities.”

The Claremont Graduate University keynote address will take place at 9 a.m. on Saturday, May 18 at the Mudd Quadrangle (East Tenth Street and Dartmouth Avenue).


Keck Graduate Institute

The Keck Graduate Institute will be welcoming Freda Lewis-Hall as their featured keynote speaker for the 2013 commencement ceremony. She is currently the chief medical officer and executive vice president of Pfizer, Inc.

Ms. Lewis-Hall has held leadership roles in biopharmaceutical companies including Vertex, Bristol-Myers Squibb and Eli Lilly. In 2010, she was appointed by the Obama administration to the inaugural board of governors for the patient-centered outcomes research institute. Ms. Lewis-Hall was named Savoy’s Top Influential Women in Corporate America in 2012 and Healthcare Businesswomen’s Association 2011 “Woman of the Year.”

The Keck Graduate Institute keynote address will take place at 11 a.m. on Saturday, May 18 on the East Lawn (located between Wharton Drive and Watson Drive).


Pitzer College

The Pitzer senior class has selected writer and comedian Jon Lovett as this year’s keynote speaker. He is the co-creator and head writer for the NBC sitcom 1600 Penn.

Prior to 1600 Penn, Mr. Lovett spent 3 years writing speeches for President Barack Obama. He has also used his humor as chief speech writer for Hillary Clinton during her time as senator and during her presidential campaign.

The Pitzer College keynote address will take place at 10 a.m. on Saturday, May 18 at the Commencement Plaza (located between Mills Avenue and Ninth Street).


Claremont McKenna College

Claremont McKenna College Trustee and financier George Roberts will be speaking at the commencement ceremony for Claremont McKenna. He is the co-founder of Kohlberg Kravis Roberts & Co. and serves as co-chairman and co-chief executive officer.

Mr. Roberts has donated generously to his alma mater since graduating and raised a total of $60 million to build, support and strengthen the College’s academic environment. A state-of-the-art fitness and athletics facility was announced to be named after Roberts in December 2012.

The Claremont McKenna keynote address will take place at 2 p.m. Saturday May 18 at the Pritzlaff Field (located between East Sixth Street and North Claremont Boulevard.).


Scripps College

Recognized distinguished alumnae Ruth Markowitz Owades will deliver the 2013 commencement speech for Scripps College.

Ms. Owades founded the Gardener’s Eden Catalogue and Calyx & Corolla flower company. As CEO of Calyx & Corolla, she formed a partnership with FedEx to deliver flowers directly from the grower to customers. Ms. Owades companies have been recognized worldwide through case studies. She was named best Entrepreneur by Business Week.

The Scripps College keynote address will take place at 5 p.m. on Saturday, May 18 on the Elm Tree Lawn (located between East Ninth Street and Amherst Avenue).


Pomona College

The principal speaker for Pomona College will be Walter Isaacson, the president and CEO of the Aspen Institute. He is a former chairman and CEO of CNN and former editor of Time magazine.

Mr. Isaacson has published several books including Steve Jobs (2011) and Kissinger: A Biography (1992). He is the chairman for the board for Teach for America; vice chair of Partner for a New Beginning and, from 2009 to 2012, he served as a chairman of the Broadcasting Board of Governors which oversees international broadcasts of the US.

The Pomona keynote address will take place 10 a.m. on Sunday, May 19 at Marston Quadrangle (located between Fourth Street and Sixth Street in Claremont).

Pomona will stream its ceremony live online for those unable to attend at


Harvey Mudd College

Nobel Laureate Carl Wieman will be giving the keynote address for the Harvey Mudd College commencement ceremony. He received the 2001 Nobel Prize for the creation of the first Bose-Einstein condensation, which lead to the understanding and control of atoms on a quantum level.

Mr. Wieman founded the Science Education Initiative at the University of Colorado and the Carl Wieman Science Education Initiative at the University of British Columbia. In 2010 Wieman was appointed associate director for science in the Obama White House Office of Science and Technology Policy.

The keynote speech will take place at 1:30 p.m. on Sunday, May 19 in Mudd Quadrangle.

—Christina Collins Burton


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