The College of Chemistry held its commencement ceremony on May 17 in Zellerbach Auditorium.
A total of 449 students received their diplomas, 230 from the Department of Chemistry, and 219 from the Department of Chemical and Biomolecular Engineering. Of the 449 students, 287 earned undergraduate degrees, 29 earned master’s degrees, and 133 earned Ph.D. degrees.
Douglas Clark, dean of the college, started the festivities by letting the students, their families and friends know, “This is my first commencement as dean and I couldn’t be more excited!”
He continued, “The College of Chemistry has a great and illustrious history: Many of the most important discoveries in chemistry and in chemical engineering have been made here... As graduates of the college, you are now part of its distinguished history, and you deserve to take great pride in your accomplishments.”
Clark introduced the two students speakers, chemistry’s Melanie Wathugala and CBE’s Pritha Hait. Together they brought unusual life histories and international perspectives to the ceremony. Wathugala, who grew up in southern California and Louisiana, is from Sri Lanka, and Hait was born in India but calls Kuwait home.
The planned commencement speaker, noted chemist and educator Marye Anne Fox, had to bow out at the last moment due to illness, but her shoes were ably filled by chemistry professor Carolyn Bertozzi.
Said Bertozzi, “Last week I was at another graduation thinking how hard it must be to give a decent commencement speech. Thankfully, I thought, I am not a public figure and will therefore never be asked. So you can imagine my surprise when Dean Clark asked me yesterday to fill in for Marye Anne Fox.”
Bertozzi quoted from Fox’s speech while offering some homegrown insights of her own. She concluded with, “Bottom line: Share in your parents lives, don't cling too tightly to old facts, and continue learning from each other. We are proud to have you forever in our family!”