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USC announces speakers for 2023 commencement satellite ceremonies

A senator and chief executive officers, innovators, artists and academic leaders from a number of disciplines will headline school ceremonies.

May 08, 2023

Contact: USC Media Relations,, (213) 740-2215

Prominent speakers from the worlds of medicine, business, the arts and government will be featured at USC’s 140th commencement ceremony, as more than 20,000 degrees are conferred Friday, May 12.

USC President Carol L. Folt will preside over the main ceremony beginning at 9 a.m. at Alumni Memorial Park.

Kevin Feige, head of Marvel Studios, will deliver the commencement address.

Feige is also one of three distinguished figures who will receive honorary degrees. Nobel Prize-winning chemist Frances Arnold and labor and civil rights leader Dolores Huerta are the other recipients.

Keck School of Medicine of USC

On Saturday, May 13, the Keck School of Medicine of USC will hold its satellite ceremony for its Doctor of Medicine program. The speaker will be Kimberly Manning, professor of medicine and associate chair of diversity, equity and inclusion at Emory University School of Medicine.

The Keck School of Medicine’s PhD, DNAP, MS and MPH ceremony, also May 13, will feature speaker Peter Kraft, director of the Trans-Divisional Research Program in the National Cancer Institute’s Division of Cancer Epidemiology and Genetics.

Satellite ceremonies

On Friday, May 12, diplomas will be presented at satellite ceremonies for individual schools and will feature the following speakers:

USC School of Architecture
Kulapat Yantrasast, designer and architect for the cultural arts

USC Roski School of Art and Design
Timothy Olyphant, actor and alumnus

USC Division of Biokinesiology and Physical Therapy
Emma K. Stokes, vice president for global engagement, Trinity College Dublin

USC Marshall School of Business (Graduate)
Kevin Plank, founder and executive chairman of Under Armour

USC Marshall School of Business (Undergraduate)
Cathie Wood, founder and chief executive officer, Ark Investment Management

USC School of Cinematic Arts
Ron Howard and Brian Grazer, filmmakers, alumni and co-founders of Imagine Entertainment

USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism
David Chang, food, culture and media innovator, founder of Momofuku

USC Kaufman School of Dance
Brenda Dixon Gottschild, author, artist and professor emerita of dance studies, Temple University

Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry of USC
Lourdes Baezconde-Garbanati, distinguished professor of population and public health sciences; associate dean for community initiatives; associate director for community outreach and engagement, Keck School of Medicine of USC

USC School of Dramatic Arts (Undergraduate)
Beck Bennett, actor, comedian, alumnus and former Saturday Night Live cast member

USC School of Dramatic Arts (Graduate)
Madhuri Shekar, playwright

USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology
Shari Thorell, chair of the USC Leonard Davis School Board of Councilors, founder of ST Enterprises and Half Century Trojan

USC Rossier School of Education, Doctoral Ceremony
Natalia Molina, distinguished professor, USC Department of American Studies and Ethnicity at the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences

USC Rossier School of Education, Master’s Ceremony
Ruha Benjamin, author and Alexander Stewart 1886 Professor of African American studies at Princeton University

USC Viterbi School of Engineering (Graduate)
Melissa Orme, vice president, Boeing Additive Manufacturing
Nariman Yousefi, executive vice president, Automotive, Coherent DSP and Switch Group, Marvell Technology

USC Viterbi School of Engineering (Undergraduate)
Mark Stevens, managing partner of S-Cubed Capital

USC Jimmy Iovine and Andre Young Academy
Asma Ishaq, chief executive officer, Modere

USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences
Edoardo Ponti, film director and alumnus

USC Gould School of Law (JD graduates)
Mazie K. Hirono, United States senator

USC Gould School of Law (Graduate and International Programs)
Karen Wong (JD ’86), retired Milbank partner and former chair of the USC Gould Board of Councilors

Keck School of Medicine of USC, Health Promotion and Global Health Programs
Barbara Ferrer, director, Los Angeles County Department of Health

Keck School of Medicine of USC, Physician Assistant Program
Dawn Morton-Rias, president and chief executive officer of the National Commission on Certification of Physician Assistants

Keck School of Medicine of USC, Master’s in Speech-Language Pathology
Elizabeth Peña, associate dean of faculty development and diversity, School of Education, University of California, Irvine

USC Leventhal School of Accounting
Peter Griffith, executive vice president and chief financial officer, Amgen

USC Thornton School of Music
Iris S. Levine, music educator, choral conductor, founder and artistic director of VOX Femina

USC Alfred E. Mann School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences
Janet S. Wright, director of the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Division for Heart Disease and Stroke Prevention

USC Price School of Public Policy
Mary Daly, president and chief executive officer of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco

USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work
Barbara Solomon, professor emerita, recipient of the Presidential Medallion and the USC Faculty Lifetime Achievement Award

USC Bovard College
Theodore Johnson, adjunct professor, author and political scientist

USC Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy
Erna Blanche, professor of Clinical Occupational Therapy

Veterans and military-affiliated graduation celebration will be held May 10, with remarks from USC President Carol L. Folt. Retired Navy SEAL Ty Smith is the featured speaker.

Joint ROTC Price School of Public Policy ceremony will be held Saturday, May 13, at 10 a.m. at Bovard Auditorium. Commissioning ceremonies for individual branches will follow.

The baccalaureate ceremony for USC degree candidates and their families will be held at 5 p.m. on Thursday, May 11, at Bovard Auditorium. Trustee Rick Caruso will deliver the address.

For more information, visit the USC commencement website.

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