April 26, 2018

Commencement 2018: What You Need to Know

CGU's Ceremonial Mace
CGU’s Ceremonial Mace on its stand in the Board of Trustees Room. Again at this year's Commencement, the mace will lead the procession of graduates and faculty members.

Claremont Graduate University is proud to announce its 91st annual Commencement, which will take place May 12, 2018, at 9:00 am on the Mudd Quadrangle, located along 10th Street on the north lawn of the Honnold/Mudd Library.

Some 300 master’s and doctoral candidates will receive degrees at this year’s ceremony, which will include remarks by acclaimed documentary filmmaker and scholar Daniel E. Walker and the charge given by alumna Jeanne Holm. Holm, who earned her master’s in 2001 in Information Systems Management, is this year’s Distinguished Alumni Award Recipient.

More information on Walker, Holm, and the other honorary degree and alumni award recipients can be found below.

Event details and related information, including parking.

Commencement Forum

On the eve before Commencement, the honorary degree recipients will participate in the Transdisciplinary Studies forum experience, “Re-Imagining the University Through the Arts,” which will be held May 11 at 3:30 p.m. in the Peggy Phelps and East Art Galleries. Drinks and hors d’oeuvres will be served. The event is open to the public.

More details on this year’s Commencement Forum.

Honorary Degree Recipients

Commencement speaker Daniel E. Walker
Daniel E. Walker, this year’s Commencement speaker

Daniel E. Walker, Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa: Walker is a filmmaker, scholar, social entrepreneur, and public speaker whose films include When Roosters Crow, Sol Brothers, The Ten, and Let’s Have Church. The founder/director of the Long Beach Indie International Film Festival, he is the author of the book No More, No More: Slavery and Cultural Resistance in Havana, a producer on KCET’s Artbound, and executive producer of numerous works of Honduran playwright Rickerby Hinds. A professor of history at El Camino College, he is the founder and curator of the Gospel Music History Archive at the USC Digital Library and for more than a decade served as a research associate at USC’s Center for Religion and Civic Culture. The Board Chair of the BLU Educational Foundation, his major exhibitions include Sunshine and Central (USC Sol Price Center for Social Innovation) and How Sweet the Sound: Gospel Music in Los Angeles (California African American Museum).


Kim Stringfellow, honorary degree recipient
Kim Stringfellow, honorary degree recipient

Kim Stringfellow, Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa: Stringfellow is an educator, writer, independent curator, photographer, and artist based in Joshua Tree, California. Her work combines cultural geography, public practice, and experimental documentary to create a socially-engaged, transmedia understanding of places. An associate professor at San Diego State University’s School of Art + Design, Stringfellow is the author of two books, Greetings from the Salton Sea: Folly and Intervention in the Southern California Landscape, 1905–2005 and Jackrabbit Homestead: Tracing the Small Tract Act in the Southern California Landscape, 1938–2008. As project director for the Mojave Project, Stringfellow also received the California Documentary Project (CDP) Production Grant for New Media from California Humanities in 2015 and a CDP Research and Development Grant for this project in 2014. She is a co-editor for ARID: A Journal of Desert, Art and Ecology, and a regular contributor to KCET Artbound.


Zubaida Bai, honorary degree recipient
Zubaida Bai, honorary degree recipient

Zubaida Bai, Doctor of Humane Letters, honoris causa: Bai is the founder and CEO of ayzh (pronounced “eyes”), a social enterprise company based in India that designs products to improve the health of women and girls throughout their reproductive lives. Bai’s goal for ayzh has been to create vital, affordable, simple, and beautiful products, and to find distribution channels capable of reaching even the most remote communities. In 2010, Bai launched ayzh with janma, a $3 clean birth kit that provides mothers with safe, sterile conditions at the time of childbirth. Since 2012, Bai’s company has sold more than 250,000 kits to some 300 health institutions in 20 countries, touching the lives of more than 500,000 women and newborns. Bai is now expanding her product line to include kits for newborn, postpartum, and menstrual health, while scaling her proven model across India and into Africa. Bai has been named a Young Global Leader by the World Economic Forum, a Maternal Health Champion by Ashoka, a TED speaker (Fellow and Resident), and a United Nations SDG Pioneer by the United Nations Global Compact.

2018 Distinguished Alumni Award Recipient

CGU alumna Jeanne Holm, recipient of the Distinguished Alumni Award
CISAT alumna Jeanne Holm, who serves as the senior technology advisor to Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti

Jeanne Holm (MS ’01): A graduate of CGU’s Information Systems & Technology program, Jeanne Holm is an open data leader who has blazed multiple trails in the field. Technological advances continue to radically shape the flow of information, and Holm has served as a key player in improving technological support for information services at the federal and local levels. Currently Holm holds several roles with the City of Los Angeles—as deputy chief information officer/assistant general manager and as senior technology advisor to Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti. Holm once told a reporter that her roles with the city have given her “the chance to really make a difference to people who I see every day on the street.” Previously she was a chief knowledge architect for NASA, driving innovation through collaborative systems, knowledge sharing, and social platforms; a senior consultant with the World Bank; and an evangelist for the Obama White House’s open government data initiative, among other positions.

2018 Distinguished Alumni Service Award Recipients

Psychology alumnus Ralph Miller
Alumni service award recipient Ralph Miller

Ralph H. Miller (PhD, Psychology, ’79): “Amazing.” “A builder of confidence.” “Cool.” For more than thirty years, students used the same words and phrases to describe their experiences of studying with Ralph Miller. In April, the CGU alumni community mourned Miller’s passing after his battle with cancer. An emeritus professor of technology and operations management in the College of Business Administration at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, Miller dedicated his efforts to supporting generations of students and advancing their research in the fields of statistics, data analysis, research design, and methodology at the undergraduate and graduate levels. Miller held a doctorate from CGU, a master’s degree from San Jose State University, and a bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Berkeley, all in the field of psychology.


Education doctorate alumnus Felton Williams
Alumni service award recipient Felton Williams

Felton Williams (PhD ’85): For more than four decades, Felton Williams has been an educational leader, teacher, and advocate on behalf of countless children and their families living in the many communities of southern Los Angeles County. Williams currently serves as a member of the Long Beach Unified School District Board of Education. During his tenure, he has also held the role of board president during four academic years. Long Beach Unified, the third largest school district in the state, has an operating budget of $700 million, with 6,000 teachers and staff and a student population of more than 84,000. His past administrative experience with California State University, in Long Beach and Dominguez Hills, includes serving as assistant to the associate dean of instructional services at Long Beach, and as assistant to the president and affirmative action officer at Dominguez Hills. Williams holds a doctorate in higher education from CGU, where he studied with Peter Drucker, and an MBA and bachelor’s degree in business administration from Cal State Long Beach.