USC announces speakers for commencement satellite ceremonies

May 7, 2018

Global media leader Oprah Winfrey, Warner Bros. Chairman Kevin Tsujihara, Washington Post Publisher Frederick J. Ryan Jr. and musician are among the featured speakers.

Contact: Ron Mackovich at (213) 810-8583 or

The University Park Campus will be filled with more than 60,000 Trojan Family members when USC’s 135th commencement ceremony is held Friday, May 11.

Siddhartha Mukherjee, Pulitzer Prize-winning author and pioneering oncologist, will deliver the commencement address.

Five honorary degree recipients will be recognized for their contributions as philanthropic, academic, scientific, arts, civic and military leaders. The honorary degree recipients are Mukherjee, Los Angeles Police Chief Charlie Beck, Maj. Gen. Charles F. Bolden Jr., internationally renowned biochemist Jennifer A. Doudna, and cinematic artist and international peace activist Forest Whitaker.

More than 15,000 degrees will be conferred during USC’s commencement this year, either at the main ceremony in Alumni Park or one of the 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.

On Saturday, May 12, the Keck School of Medicine of USC will hold its satellite ceremony for M.S., PhD and MPH graduates. The speaker will be Mary Helen Immordino-Yang, professor of education, psychology and neuroscience at the USC Rossier School of Education and the Brain and Creativity Institute.

The speaker at the Keck School of Medicine of USC’s satellite ceremony for MD graduates, also on May 12, will be Gary H. Gibbons, director of the National Heart, Lung and Blood Institute at the National Institutes of Health.

The baccalaureate ceremony for USC degree candidates and their families will be held at 5 p.m. on Thursday, May 10, at Bovard Auditorium. Philanthropist and entrepreneur Tina Knowles-Lawson will deliver the keynote address at the nondenominational, interfaith celebration. The baccalaureate dinner will follow at 6:30 p.m. on Pardee Way.

The Reserve Officers Training Corps joint commissioning ceremony will be held Saturday, May 12, at Bovard Auditorium. The speaker will be Lt. Gen. Joseph Osterman, deputy commander of the U.S. Special Operations Command.

On Friday, May 11, diplomas will be presented at satellite ceremonies for individual schools and will feature the following speakers:

USC Leventhal School of Accounting
Tim Ryan, U.S. chairman and senior partner, PwC

USC School of Architecture
Christopher Hawthorne, chief design officer, city of Los Angeles

USC Roski School of Art and Design
Judy Baca, founder, Social and Public Art Resource Center

USC Marshall School of Business (Graduate)
Mark Weinberger, global chairman and CEO, EY

USC Marshall School of Business (Undergraduate)
Timothy C. Draper, founder, Draper University

USC School of Cinematic Arts
Kevin Tsujihara, chairman and CEO, Warner Bros.

USC Annenberg School for Communication and Journalism
Oprah Winfrey, global media leader

Herman Ostrow School of Dentistry of USC
Michael R. Cousineau, USC professor and community health advocate

USC School of Dramatic Arts (Undergraduate)
Connie Britton, actress and activist

USC School of Dramatic Arts (Graduate)
Andrew J. Robinson, professor of theater practice and acting

USC Rossier School of Education
Ted Mitchell, president, American Council on Education

USC Viterbi School of Engineering (Graduate)
USC Trustee Wanda Austin, CEO (retired), The Aerospace Corp.

USC Viterbi School of Engineering (Graduate Computer Science)
Harel Kodesh, operating partner, Silver Lake Partners

USC Viterbi School of Engineering (Undergraduate)
A. C. “Mike” Markkula Jr., co-founder, Apple and founder and chairman, Echelon Corp.

USC Leonard Davis School of Gerontology
Jeannine English, former president, AARP

USC Jimmy Iovine and Andre Young Academy, musician, entrepreneur and philanthropist

USC Gould School of Law, (JD graduates)
USC Trustee Frederick J. Ryan Jr., publisher and CEO, The Washington Post

USC Gould School of Law (Graduate and International Programs)
Ambassador Lamia Mekhemar, consul general of Egypt in Los Angeles

USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences (Group 1)
Andrew Stott, dean of undergraduate education

USC Dornsife (Group 2)
Steven Finkel, dean of graduate and professional education

USC Dornsife (Group 3)
Amber D. Miller, dean

USC Dornsife (Group 4)
Ange-Marie Hancock Alfaro, dean’s leadership fellow, professor of political science, gender studies and sociology

Keck School of Medicine of USC, Health Promotion and Global Health Programs
Michael Hochman, associate professor of clinical medicine

Keck School of Medicine of USC, Physician Assistant Program
Matt Dane Baker, provost, Thomas Jefferson University

USC Thornton School of Music
Billy Childs, Guggenheim fellow, Grammy-Award winning composer and pianist

USC School of Pharmacy
Eileen Goodis, entrepreneur and advocate for homeless women

USC Price School of Public Policy
Mark Ridley-Thomas, Los Angeles County Supervisor

USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work
Marilyn L. Flynn, dean

USC Bovard College
Jeff McHenry, former head of leadership development and recruitment, Microsoft

USC Division of Biokinesiology and Physical Therapy
Matt Barkley, NFL quarterback

USC Chan Division of Occupational Science and Occupational Therapy
Varun Soni, vice provost for campus wellness and crisis intervention, dean of religious life

Other satellite ceremony speakers will be posted on websites of the individual schools.

For more information about USC commencement, visit