May 17, 1999 Vol. III, No. 16

Distinguished Speakers to Highlight Commencement

Assembly Speaker Villaraigosa, J.D. Power III and Disney Producer Hahn will Address Graduates

California Assembly Speaker Antonio Villaraigosa (left), businessman J.D. Power III and "The Lion King" producer Don Hahn (right) are among the trailblazing community leaders slated to address Cal State Northridge students when they graduate next month.

An estimated 6,908 students are candidates to receive diplomas-some 5,834 for bachelors and 1,074 for masters in about 50 fields-in a series of ceremonies beginning Tuesday, June 1, with the university's Honors Convocation.

"I am extremely proud of our 1999 graduates," said CSUN President Blenda J. Wilson. "They have worked very hard to reach this pinnacle, and they now begin a new phase of their lives.

"Many of our students have overcome great obstacles to complete their studies, and I am confident that they have the knowledge and skills to succeed and contribute to their communities as they lead us into the 21st century," Wilson added.

"As this is my last commencement as president of Cal State Northridge, it is very special to me," Wilson said. "It will be an opportunity for me to express my pride in this remarkable university community."

Wilson recently announced she was stepping down as CSUN president to become the first president and CEO of the Nellie Mae Foundation. The New England-based organization works to promote quality education in that region, particularly for under-served groups.

The CSUN graduation celebration begins Tuesday, June 1, with the university-wide Honors Convocation. That will be held at 6 p.m. at the University Club, with Wilson as the speaker. Then, individual college graduation ceremonies will continue daily through Friday, June 4.

The college graduation ceremonies are as follows:

Health and Human Development

Dean Hirsch, president and CEO of World Vision International, will address the College of Health and Human Development at 8 a.m. on Wednesday, June 2, on the Oviatt Lawn at the center of the campus.

Hirsch has negotiated with leaders around the world to further the Christian humanitarian agency's efforts in working with the poor and oppressed to seek justice and promote human transformation through health, development activities and emergency relief.

Engineering and Computer Science

Robert Goetz, vice president of engineering for Lockheed Martin SkunkWorks, will speak to the graduates of the College of Engineering and Computer Science at 4 p.m. on June 2 at the University Club.

Prior to joining Lockheed, Goetz was with the National Aeronautics and Space Administration for 29 years in a variety of positions, including deputy center director at NASA's Lyndon B. Johnson Space Center in Houston.

Arts, Media, and Communication

Don Hahn, producer of such Disney animation classics as "Beauty and the Beast" and "The Lion King," will give the commencement address to the College of Arts, Media, and Communication at 6:30 p.m. June 2 on the Oviatt Lawn.

Hahn, a CSUN alum, began his career in animation with The Walt Disney Studios in 1976 with his work on "Pete's Dragon." Since then, his work has included "The Black Cauldron," "The Great Mouse Detective," and "The Hunchback of Notre Dame."

The college also will present an honorary doctorate of fine arts to internationally acclaimed playwright August Wilson, whose works include "The Piano Lesson" and "Fences," which won the Pulitzer Prize, "Joe Turner's Come and Gone," "Ma Rainey's Black Bottom," and "Jitney."

Business Administration and Economics

J. D. Power III, chairman of J.D. Power and Associates, will speak to the graduates of the College of Business Administration and Economics at 8 a.m. Thursday, June 3, on the Oviatt Lawn.

J.D. Power and Associates is one of the world's leading marketing information firms. Its clients include virtually every automobile manufacturer and importer serving the United States market. The firm has done research projects in a variety of industries including airline, hotel, car rental, telecommunications, credit care/financial and health care.

Powers also will be presented with a honorary doctorate in humane letters.

Science and Mathematics

Mary Ellen Rudin, an internationally recognized mathematician, will be the featured speaker at the College of Science and Mathematics at 4 p.m. June 3 at the University Club.

Rudin has had a long and distinguished career at the University of Wisconsin, where she is currently an emeritus professor of mathematics. Her primary research area is set- theoretic topology, and she has lectured around the world on the subject. She is a fellow of both the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the Hungarian Academy of Sciences, and is the recipient of four honorary doctorates and several prestigious awards.


Assembly Speaker Antonio Villaraigosa will address the College of Humanities at 6:30 p.m. June 3 on the Oviatt Lawn.

Villaraigosa began as a union organizer and quickly became president of the American Federation of Government Employees, Local 3230. He was elected to the Assembly in 1994 and became a key player in the Democratic Party.

He has authored legislation providing health care benefits for millions of children with no health insurance. He also is involved in issues of public transportation, crime prevention, drug rehabilitation programs, juvenile justice reform and gun control.

Social and Behavioral Sciences

The College of Social and Behavioral Sciences will not have a formal commencement speaker. Its ceremony will begin at 8 a.m. Friday, June 4, on the Oviatt Lawn.


Blenda J. Wilson will address the College of Education at 4 p.m. June 4 at the University Club.

-Carmen Ramos Chandler

May 17, 1999

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