SPEAKER

Dr. Anna Lee Fisher

Dr. Anna Lee Fisher

Anna Lee Fisher, member of NASA’s first astronaut class to include women, first mother in space, to deliver 2019 College Commencement Address

Dr. Anna Lee Fisher, a chemist, physician and member of NASA’s first astronaut class to include women — as well as the first mother in space and a three-time UCLA graduate — will be the distinguished speaker for the UCLA College commencement on Friday, June 14.

Fisher will speak at both commencement ceremonies, which are scheduled for 2 p.m. and 7 p.m., in Pauley Pavilion, as the campus continues the celebration of its centennial year.

“Anna Fisher is an extraordinary illustration of what one person can achieve with determination, focus and hard work,” said Patricia Turner, senior dean of the UCLA College. “She is an example to all Bruins that one can truly reach beyond the stars. I know our graduates and their guests will be inspired by her wonderful journey as we celebrate all that UCLA has accomplished over the past 100 years and look forward to all that is yet to come.”

Fisher was selected by NASA in 1978 to be among the agency’s first female astronauts. In 1983, just two weeks before delivering her daughter, she was assigned to her flight on the space shuttle Discovery, and she embarked on mission STS-51A in 1984 when her daughter was just 14 months old — making her the first mother in space.

She has served NASA in several capacities throughout her career. In addition to serving on space missions, Fisher was the chief of the Astronaut Office’s Space Station branch, where she had a significant role in building the foundation for the International Space Station. She also worked in the mission control center as a lead communicator to the space station.

Before retiring in 2017, Fisher was a management astronaut working on display development for NASA’s pioneering Orion spacecraft, which will take astronauts farther into the solar system than they have ever gone.

Prior to orbiting the Earth, Fisher pushed into new frontiers at UCLA. She earned a bachelor’s degree in chemistry in 1971, an M.D. in 1976, and a master’s in chemistry 1987.

UCLA will hold two centennial commencements — the June 2019 ceremonies help kick off the campus’s 100th year, and the 2020 ceremonies wrap up the yearlong celebration.

Read more about our distinguished 2019 Commencement speaker in a recent issue of The Washington Post.

STUDENT SPEAKERS

Kaitlyn Kim

Kaitlyn Kim

Ashraf Beshay

Ashraf Beshay

2pm Ceremony

California native Kaitlyn Kim has always wanted to attend UCLA, not surprising since both her parents, alumni and immigrants from South Korea, say their greatest achievement in life was graduating from UCLA. To be able to speak at her own graduation from UCLA is extremely special for her entire family. As a Communication major, she has learned to be rigid with her goals, but flexible in how to achieve them. She now knows that everyone has their own unique story, and that you can always find common ground with others if you try hard enough. She learned that building a mentor/mentee relationship with your professors is one of the most valuable things a student can so, especially at a world-renowned university like UCLA.

As a Bruin, Kaitlyn has been active with the Undergraduate Students Association Council (USAC), Her Campus at UCLA, the Bruin Newsroom, and is a member of the Alpha Iota Chapter of Kappa Delta Sorority. Currently, she is the President of FAST at UCLA, UCLA’s first and only fashion club. She has landed a full-time job after graduation as a fashion buyer for a Fortune 500 clothing company and hopes to one day make it onto Forbes’ “30 under 30” list.

7pm Ceremony

Ashraf Beshay was inspired by UCLA’s global academic reputation, cutting-edge research, and vibrant campus climate. He was inspired to audition because of his unique narrative: an asylum seeker, he was part of the Egyptian Revolution, escaping threats to his family back home in Cairo. His parents, whom he hasn’t seen in five years, are visiting for the first time this June and he wants to make this moment memorable for them. His sister is also graduating, so this occasion is twice as special. While at UCLA he has learned that he cares deeply about fixing the world’s inequities and enjoys doing research. His goal is to become a cardiothoracic surgeon, and prior to attending medical school he plans to volunteer at Ronald Reagan Hospital and conduct research in cardiology.

STUDENT SINGERS

Julie Meng

Julie Meng

Aaron Revilla

Aaron Revilla

Esther Choi

Esther Choi

Sophia Inaba

Sophia Inaba

Naosuke Yamaguchi

Naosuke Yamaguchi

Chan Kim

Chan Kim

Courtney Scott

Courtney Scott

2pm Ceremony National Anthem Singer

Hailing from Moraga, California, Julie Meng was inspired to attend UCLA by its renowned reputation for science education. She has been a strong advocate for STEM student empowerment as a leader for the Life Sciences Student Association and PILOT, UCLA’s only pre-professional public health organization. Julie also cultivated her artistic interests as a member of UCLA Salsa Society and UCLA Chorale. On a personal note, Julie discovered self-confidence, love for art and science, and true supportive relationships at UCLA. By singing at Commencement, Julie commits to giving back, now and always, to a community she loves. She is graduating with a degree in Molecular, Cellular, and Developmental Biology, citing the long hours of research with peers as her most impactful academic experience. After graduation, she will be working for Triage Consulting Group in hospital finance. Looking forward, she hopes to affect change in healthcare leadership by becoming a COO of a major hospital system.

7pm Ceremony National Anthem Singers

Aaron Revilla, a Psychology major, and Esther Choi, a biology major with a double minor in Anthropology and Society & Genetics, have both been members of UCLA’s a cappella community. They began singing together in high school and were thrilled to continue this experience into their college years. Since coming to UCLA, they have each achieved goals related to their love for singing: Esther got to sing at Carnegie Hall over the summer and Aaron was chosen as one of this year’s Spring Sing soloists. They sung The Star Spangled Banner together at their high school graduation and were eager to have the opportunity to sing it together once more in college. After leaving UCLA, Esther plans to become a genetic counselor; Aaron plans to become an educator. UCLA has been a pivotal component of their lives and they are thankful for the tools and resources the university provided that have facilitated their success.

2pm and 7pm Ceremony Alma Mater Singers

Sophia Inaba (Music History), Chan Kim (Statistics), Courtney Scott (Psychology) & Naosuke Yamaguchi (Psychobiology)

The four of us all came together this year through Awaken A Cappella, the first collegiate co-ed a cappella group in Southern California. Some of us joined this year while others have been in the ensemble longer. We have enjoyed getting to sing together, practicing for community events and making lots of memories. Our specific reasons for wanting to sing at graduation vary, but we all see this opportunity as a way to express our love and sentiment for UCLA’s thriving musical community, which has a been a home for each of us. We identify as members that embody the spirit of collaboration between diverse backgrounds, and we want to give back to UCLA in the way that it has given so much to us.

How is the Distinguished Alumni Speaker selected?

A committee, comprised of representatives from the College Faculty Executive Committee – including professors and students, reviews a list of notable alumni and provides the College with several recommendations. Speakers are then invited and scheduled according to their availability.