Lieutenant Governor to Address This Year's Graduates

MERCED - The Class of 2007 is getting ready for its big moment.

University of California, Merced's second commencement ceremony will feature California's Lt. Gov., John Garamendi, Sr., offering the keynote address and new Chancellor Steve Kang presiding over the ceremony.

"John Garamendi, Sr., has inspired the UC Merced campus community and friends of the university since he served as the founding chairman of the UC Merced Foundation Board of Trustees," said Chancellor Steve Kang. "Now, to our delight, our graduates and their families will get the same chance to be inspired by this longtime supporter of our campus. It's a great honor to have Lt. Gov. Garamendi address our commencement."

This year, the ceremony starts at 9 a.m. Friday, May 18, on the quad between the library and the Classroom and Science & Engineering buildings.

The outdoor ceremony should accommodate faculty, staff and students and their families, even though this year's graduating class is more than 20 times larger than last year's! This year, UC Merced has about 75 grads. Last year's commencement had three.

As the ceremony ends, the Class of 2007 will walk across the Scholars Lane Bridge to the post-graduation reception, signifying that they've come full circle. The walk is opposite the one they took as pioneer students on the campus's opening day in September 2005.

The Audition Committee, made up of four graduating seniors and four faculty or staff members, has chosen a student to present a speech with this year's theme: "We came to make history; we leave having changed our own."

Josh Bolin, a world cultures and history major, has been chosen to deliver the student speech. He's a member of the Student Government Advisory Committee; serves as chief justice of the ASUCM Court; is director of professional development for the Rotaract club; works as a peer tutor; was a resident assistant in on-campus housing; and served as a student ambassador.

Before all the graduates' tassels are turned, the Class of 2007 will present its gift to the university, a statue of the mascot, the Golden Bobcat.

"In his two years at UC Merced, Josh Bolin has been an active student leader inside and outside of class and on and off campus," said Jane Lawrence, vice chancellor for student affairs. "In addition to community service with Roteract and Circle K, Josh has been a resident assistant, a leader in student government, and a student ambassador for the Transfer Student Association. He leaves behind a legacy of service to the university and the community."

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