Dr. George R. Blumenthal – astronomer, astrophysicist, and Chancellor of the University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC) – will be the 2014 commencement speaker at Santa Monica College.
SMC’s 84th commencement ceremony will be held at 6 p.m. Tuesday, June 17 at Corsair Field. For the fifth year in a row, the ceremony will also be webcast live and available on the SMC Alumni Association webpage (http://alumni.smc.edu). Families and friends from all over the world who are not able to attend graduation will be able to watch the ceremony and see the graduates receive their diplomas.
About 600 graduates are expected to attend the festivities, which will also feature the awarding of the Santa Monica College Distinguished Alumni Recognition Award to author Michele Serros, renowned as a poet and award-winning spoken word artist.
“We’re honored to have Chancellor Blumenthal address our graduates and reinforce the strong and deep relationship SMC has with the University of California,” said SMC President Dr. Chui L. Tsang. “We have worked hard to prepare our students for the academic challenges ahead of them, and the result is that SMC continues to be the state leader in transfers into the UC system.”
Dr. Blumenthal was appointed the tenth UC Santa Cruz chancellor in September 2007, after 14 months as acting chancellor. He has been at UCSC since 1972 as a professor, researcher, and campus leader, serving on a number of governing boards in science, technology, and education. He is co-chair of the Joint Graduate Board of the UC and California State University systems, and vice chair of the California Association for Research in Astronomy, which oversees the W. M. Keck Observatory on the summit of Mauna Kea, Hawaii. He is also a member of the California Council on Science and Technology, serves on the board of directors of the Bay Area Science and Technology Consortium (BASIC), and is the chair of University Associates–Silicon Valley LLC.
Dr. Blumenthal is recognized internationally for his contributions to pioneering research on cosmological issues, including the role of dark matter in the formation and evolution of the structure of the universe. He has authored numerous journal articles and conference papers, and is a co-author of the astronomy texts “21st Century Astronomy” (now in its fourth edition) and “Understanding Our Universe” (second edition to be published in late 2014).
Dr. Blumenthal, UCSC’s former department chair of Astronomy and Astrophysics, was the 2004-2005 chair of the UC Academic Senate, the 2003-2005 faculty representative to the UC Regents, and the 2001-2003 chair of the UCSC division of the Academic Senate. In 2010, he received the top UC honor for service: the Oliver Johnson Award for Distinguished Leadership in the Academic Senate.
Chancellor Blumenthal is widely known and respected for his efforts to increase access to the University of California and for his commitment to diversity among students, staff, and faculty. He received the 2012 Outstanding Senior Leadership Award from the Council of University of California Staff Assemblies (CUCSA) in recognition of his advocacy on behalf of staff, and has been an honorary member of CUCSA since 2005.
Through the Alumni webpage, SMC graduates will also be able to watch videos and read and post comments. Graduates and SMC friends are encouraged to visit and “like” the Alumni Association’s Facebook fan page (http://www.facebook.com/SMCAlumni), as well as upload their graduation photos. They can also tag their pictures to Flickr or Twitter with #smcgrad14 that will be published on the Alumni website.
After the ceremonies, the SMC Alumni Association is hosting a reception on the Quad, with free hors d’oeuvres, beverages, and photo booths where pictures will be taken and uploaded to the SMC Alumni website. A compilation video will be available on the Alumni website about a week after graduation.