More than 40,000 graduates and their families are expected to fill Alumni Memorial Park and the sites of 34 satellite ceremonies for the 125th annual commencement at USC Friday.
“Students take their place in a long procession of Trojans, stretching back through the years to USC’s first commencement in 1884 — and indeed, back to the day in 1880 when USC first opened its doors,” said USC President Steven B. Sample.
Degree candidates, Half Century Trojans, faculty and distinguished guests will form a processional leaving Bovard Auditorium at 8:30 a.m. Sample will preside over the main ceremony beginning at 9 a.m. in Alumni Park, and Walt Disney Co. chief executive officer Robert Iger will deliver the commencement address.
Iger will receive one of four honorary degrees presented by USC. The other recipients are community organizer Sweet Alice Harris, television legend Norman Lear and philanthropist Harlyne J. Norris. The university also will honor valedictorian Julianne Yulan Gale and salutatorians Reed Doucette and Andrew Horning.
More than 10,000 degrees will be conferred at the commencement, including about 475 Ph.D.s.
Diplomas will be presented at satellite ceremonies for individual schools. Speakers at these ceremonies will include actress Geena Davis at the USC Annenberg School for Communication; columnist Arianna Huffington at the USC Annenberg School of Journalism; producer Brian Grazer at the USC School of Cinematic Arts; Nobel Prize-winning chemist Kary Mullis at the Keck School of Medicine of USC; Rep. John Campbell, a USC alumnus, at the Air Force ROTC ceremony; and developer Rick Caruso, a USC trustee and alumnus, at the USC School of Policy, Planning, and Development.
In addition, more than 72 receptions will honor the graduates.
The baccalaureate ceremony for USC degree candidates and their families will be held Thursday in Bovard Auditorium. Richard Mouw, president of the Fuller Theological Seminary, will deliver the keynote address at the multi-faith service. The baccalaureate dinner will follow at 6:30 p.m. on Pardee Way.
The Chicano/Latino Celebration, African American Cultural Celebration and Asian Pacific Graduate Celebration will be held at 8 p.m. Thursday at Howard Jones Field, in Bovard Auditorium and on the lawn south of Harris Hall, respectively.