Media Advisory: Commencement ceremony this Saturday

ATTENTION: Reporters covering higher education, engineering and technology, and general assignment beats; weekend, photo and TV news assignment desks

WHAT

The University of California, Berkeley’s Commencement 2011 honoring all graduating seniors. More than 2,400 graduates in caps and gowns are expected to process across the stage at Edwards Track Stadium to “Pomp and Circumstance.” At least 15,000 tickets have been distributed for this sold-out event, which includes speeches, awards and faculty in colorful regalia.

An estimated 7,000 students will earn undergraduate degrees this academic year, of which at least 4,700 are graduating this spring. No diplomas are awarded at Commencement, but the names of all participating graduating seniors are called out as they cross the stage to receive a bear pin.

When his name is called, Austin Whitney, a graduating senior paralyzed from the waist down in a car accident in 2007, plans to rise from his wheelchair and walk across the stage wearing a robotic device on his legs known as an exoskeleton. Click here for details about Whitney’s amazing journey.

WHEN

This Saturday, May, 14, 10 a.m.-12:30 p.m.

WHERE

Edwards Track Stadium on the southwest corner of the UC Berkeley campus. See campus map. The entrance for credentialed news media is on Frank Schlessinger Way, which intersects with Oxford Street near the campus’s West Gate.

WHO

This year’s keynote speaker is Paul E. Jacobs, chairman and CEO of Qualcomm Inc, a mobile communications research and development company, and a Cal alumnus. During his speech, Jacobs plans to engage the audience with some innovative mobile applications, including a demonstration of “Augmented Reality,” a feature now available on Android phones.

Also delivering a speech will be Aaron Benavidez, this year’s top graduating senior. Benavidez, a double major in sociology and rhetoric from Stockton, Calif., will receive the University Medal for his scholarship, public service and humanity. Click here for more about Benavidez.

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