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Help Us Choose Our Commencement Speakers

September 5, 2018

Dear Campus Community,

Commencement is the time of year when we celebrate our graduates and their achievements, but it is truly a campuswide celebration. When the graduates cross the stage, they symbolize the Bobcat spirit that we all have. Likewise, the keynote speakers who address each class inspire us and our graduates as they continue their journeys.

This year, we are introducing a keynote speaker nomination process for Spring Commencement and invite all members of the university community — students, faculty, staff, trustees and alumni — to recommend potential speakers.

The Class of 2018 heard from CNN contributor Maria Cardona and entrepreneur and civic leader Lenny Mendonca. Prior classes have been inspired by esteemed speakers like first lady Michelle Obama (2009) and Lt. Gov. Cruz Bustamante (2012).

Now, we are asking YOU to help us find the speakers who will inspire our spring graduates.

Who does the Class of 2019 need to hear from? Who can deliver a message that embodies not just the entrepreneurial spirit of our campus, but also the principles that make UC Merced the stellar institution we all know it to be?

Maybe it’s a former colleague, mentor or friend, or someone who has inspired you from afar. Who can motivate the next class of leaders to do what it takes to be champions in their fields and contributors in their communities?

An advisory panel of students, faculty and staff representatives will evaluate all nominees and present recommendations to the Deans’ Council, who will approve and rank the nominees before forwarding the final list to the Chancellor. The Deans’ Council will help identify individuals interested in serving on the advisory panel.

Nominees will be evaluated using the following criteria:

  • individuals who have a record of exemplary accomplishments in their chosen field or in service to society;
  • relevance to, and resonance with, UC Merced’s graduating class;
  • compatibility with the UC Merced Principles of Community ; and
  • a reasonable chance that the nominee will accept the invitation to be a Commencement speaker.

Nominations can be made online, and the deadline for nominations for the Spring 2019 Commencement ceremonies is Oct. 1, 2018. Questions about the nomination process may be sent to .

It’s my sincere hope that you’ll take this opportunity to carefully consider those in your close and extended network who might best launch our next graduating class with their words of encouragement and inspiration.

Best, Ed

E. Edw. Klotzbier
Vice Chancellor
Chief External Relations Officer