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Chief justice of state first of graduation speakers

May 10, 2011

Photo: Judge Tani Cantil-Sakauye

Chief Justice Tani Cantil-Sakauye

Tani Cantil-Sakauye, chief justice of California and an alumna of the University of California, Davis, will lead off the distinguished guest speakers for 12 commencements at the university beginning on Friday, May 13.

She will speak at the ceremony for the School of Law at 4 p.m. at the Mondavi Center. Other guest speakers — all but one of them alumni — will be:

  • Richard Hodes, an American doctor who has worked with a humanitarian organization in Ethiopia for more than 20 years, on May 21;
  • Mary Catherine Swanson, founder of the AVID program that helps prepare thousands of students for admission to college, on June 8;
  • David Kappos, the under secretary of the U.S. Department of Commerce for intellectual property and director of the United States Patent and Trademark Office, on June 10;
  • Maurice J. Gallagher Jr., head of Allegiant Travel Company, on June 11; and
  • Bill Sullivan, head of Agilent Technologies, on June 11.

Cantil-Sakauye, sworn in four months ago, serves as chief justice of the California Supreme Court and chairs the Judicial Council of California, the administrative policymaking body of state courts, and the Commission on Judicial Appointments. The first Asian-American to lead the state’s judiciary, Cantil-Sakauye earned an undergraduate degree in rhetoric in 1980 and a law degree in 1984 from UC Davis.

Hodes, Ethiopia medical director for the American Jewish Joint Distribution Committee, will speak at the School of Medicine ceremony at 10 a.m. on May 21 at the Mondavi Center. Hodes has been in charge of the health of Ethiopians immigrating to Israel; he is currently senior consultant at a Catholic mission helping destitute individuals who suffer from heart and spine diseases and cancer. His work is the subject of the HBO documentary “Making the Crooked Straight” and the book “This Is a Soul: The Mission of Rick Hodes.”

Swanson, whose numerous accolades and awards include being named America’s Best Teacher in 2001 by CNN/Time Magazine, will speak at the School of Education ceremony at 4 p.m. on June 8 at the Mondavi Center. A high-school English teacher for 20 years, she founded AVID (Advancement Via Individual Determination), a nonprofit college readiness program active in more than 4,500 schools in the U.S. and 16 countries and territories. Swanson received her teaching credential at UC Davis in 1967.

Kappos, who advises the U.S. president and his administration on intellectual property matters, will speak at the College of Engineering ceremony at 3 p.m. on June 10 in the ARC Pavilion. He graduated from UC Davis with a bachelor’s degree in electrical and computer engineering in 1983 and later earned a law degree from UC Berkeley.

Gallagher, who is chairman and chief executive officer of Allegiant Travel Company, will speak at the Graduate School of Management ceremony at 10 a.m. on June 11 at the Mondavi Center. Based in Las Vegas, Allegiant links travelers in small cities to leisure destinations.

Maurice and his wife, Marcia Gallagher, established the Maurice J. and Marcia G. Gallagher Endowed Chair in Finance at the management school, and the school’s new building on the Davis campus is named in Gallagher’s honor. Gallagher graduated from UC Davis in 1971 with an undergraduate degree in history and later earned an MBA from UC Berkeley.

Sullivan, who is president and chief executive officer of Agilent Technologies, will speak at the 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. ceremonies of the College of Agricultural and Environmental Sciences on June 11 in the ARC Pavilion. Agilent Technologies is a leading measurement company and a technology leader in chemical analysis, life sciences, electronics and communications. Sullivan received a Bachelor of Science degree from UC Davis in 1972.

Other commencements will be held as follows:

  • June 9 — Graduate Studies at 4 p.m. in the ARC Pavilion;
  • June 10 — College of Biological Sciences at 10 a.m. in the ARC Pavilion;
  • June 10 — School of Veterinary Medicine at 10 a.m. at the Mondavi Center; and
  • June 12 — College of Letters and Science at 9 a.m. and 2 p.m. in the ARC Pavilion.

The School of Law will award 21 Master of Laws and 199 Juris Doctor degrees at its ceremony. Estimates of degrees to be awarded at the other ceremonies will be available in June.

Tickets are required for all commencement ceremonies except Graduate Studies, and they are distributed to graduating students by individual schools and colleges.

UC Davis will offer live and on-demand webcasts of each of the commencements at http://commencementvideo.ucdavis.edu/.

About UC Davis

UC Davis is a global community of individuals united to better humanity and our natural world while seeking solutions to some of our most pressing challenges. Located near the California state capital, UC Davis has more than 34,000 students, and the full-time equivalent of 4,100 faculty and other academics and 17,400 staff. The campus has an annual research budget of over $750 million, a comprehensive health system and about two dozen specialized research centers. The university offers interdisciplinary graduate study and 99 undergraduate majors in four colleges and six professional schools.

Additional information:

Media contact(s):

  • Julia Ann Easley, UC Davis News Service, (530) 752-8248, jaeasley@ucdavis.edu, cell (530) 219-4545

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