KGI's 2012 Commencement is a Global Celebration
Approximately 600 graduates, family members and friends attended KGI's 2012 Commencement on Saturday - making it the largest event ever held on campus. More than 300 supporters from across the United States and throughout the world, including India, Mexico, Nigeria, the United Kingdom, Malaysia, Saudi Arabia and Australia also joined the celebration via a webcast, which streamed the entire program beginning at 11 a.m.
"One of my favorite parts of the day is welcoming graduates' families, as well as returning KGI alumni, to our campus, whether it be in person or through our webcast, and this year I saw more areas of the U.S. and more countries from around the world represented here than ever before. It truly was an honor to preside over this, our 11th Commencement ceremony," said President Sheldon Schuster, who hosted a breakfast for students and their families prior to the ceremony.
Fifteen members of MBS graduate's Abhishek Chandiramani's family gathered in India to watch the live feed, while an uncle in the UK and an aunt on the East Coast were also able to tune in for the whole program. "I am really thankful to KGI for showing the commencement ceremony live. Because my parents were virtually present, it almost felt like they were here all along and cheering for me," he said, adding a quote passed along from his brother. " 'Your dad's eyes were gleaming with pride. Your mom had tears of joy, and I felt extremely proud of you. Keep it up!' "
After a welcome by Board of Trustees Chair Robert Curry and an invocation by CUC Chaplain Rabbi Daveen Litwin, President Schuster introduced student speaker Clare Xu, who eloquently summed up the triumphs and challenges that the Class of 2012, which included 93 graduates from the Master of Bioscience (MBS), Postdoctoral Professional Masters (PPM), Postbaccalaureate Premedical Certificate (PPC), Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) and Bioscience Management Certificate programs, experienced during their time at KGI.
"We have soared and caught a glimpse of the big-picture of life sciences today. In healthcare, for example, we see the pieces - the pharmacists, doctors, and patients - how they interact with bankers, rule makers, and insurers. Everywhere the pieces cross paths, lies an opportunity to enable medical solutions to reach, touch, and save lives," Xu said, ending with a call for her classmates to remember that they were treading in the footsteps of giants such as Genentech and Amgen and to "take notice and take care, as we carve our own trails forward."
While Xu spoke of her class's collective journey, Commencement speaker Tina Nova, president of Genoptix, Inc., told the graduates that by pursuing a career in life sciences, they were not just following a career path but choosing a life. "And, it really is a life," Novak said, adding that when she left her hometown of Delano, California, bound for college in her yellow Camaro with her three posters - one of Cesar Chavez, one of Joe Namath and one of Crosby, Stills and Nash - she never dreamed of the life she'd find in the bioscience field.
Other highlights of the day included remarks from Alumni Board President Nicole Sindy, MBS '09 and the recognition of James Cregg as KGI's first professor emeritus. Jack Stark, a founding member of KGI's Board of Trustees and president emeritus of Claremont McKenna College, received an honorary degree, while Darren Leva, MBS '05 was presented with the Alumni Volunteer Award. Graduates Kyle Mak and Lauren Breslin presented the 2012 Legacy Class Gift, a three-panel art piece - now hanging in the 517 lecture hall - which uses images of science and business to embody the values and culture of KGI and its students.
This year's pre-Commencement activities also included the Student Awards Luncheon and a Presidential Reception, both held on Friday, May 11. President Schuster also hosted a small dinner with Tina Nova at which Jack Stark was an honored guest.