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Pomp and circumstance for the planet

Television journalist Tom Brokaw sagely stated in a college commencement speech, “You may think of your degree as the ticket to the good life. Let me ask you to think of an alternative. Think of it as your ticket to change the world.”

Change is a key theme of this year’s Institute of the Environment and Sustainability graduation. The first difference is the zero-waste ceremony will take place in a grander venue. This move was prompted by the growth of IoES’ academic programs.  Alongside the cohort of Environmental Science undergraduates, the educational achievements of Environmental Science and Engineering graduate students will also be recognized.  This is the first year a professional doctorate degree will be awarded by the institute and the first time a doctoral hooding will occur at commencement.

steve westly

Steve Westly, managing partner of clean technology venture capital firm the Westly Group, will deliver the keynote commencement address. Drawing on his unique experiences and with an eye on sustainablity, his speech will honor the occasion and supply inspiration. One of the first executives at eBay, Westly helped guide the company through its period of most rapid growth. A former faculty member of Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business, he currently serves on the Secretary of Energy’s Advisory Board as a representative for the venture capital industry.

Graduation is just another stage in these students' green evolution. The charge to change the world Brokaw spoke of is a challenge the soon-to-be alumni are courageously prepared to accept. The 2013 Institute of the Environment and Sustainability Commencement Celebration will happen on Sunday, June 16 at 10:00 a.m. at UCLA’s Ackerman Grand Ballroom.