The UCLA Samueli School of Engineering held its 2018 commencement on Saturday, June 16, at Pauley Pavilion. Approximately 770 bachelor’s degrees, 425 master’s degrees, and 110 doctoral degrees were conferred at the ceremony. More than 9,000 family members and friends of the graduates attended.
“Your new degree represents so much more than the mere completion of requirements,” said Jayathi Murthy, the Ronald and Valerie Sugar Dean, in her welcome remarks to the graduates. “It is the foundation of knowledge that you will depend on you as you accept new challenges. Just as many UCLA engineers have done before you, I have no doubt that you will lead the charge — that you will engineer change to improve the world.”
Following the hooding of Ph.D. graduates, Murthy introduced the distinguished speaker, the Honorable Heidi Shyu MS ’81, Engr ’82, a veteran aerospace industry executive and a former Assistant Secretary of the Army for Acquisition, Logistics, and Technology.
Shyu told the graduates how her grandmother, who lived in China, was persistent at continuing past her elementary school education. The story inspired Shyu and remained with her, influencing her own career.
Shyu also noted that to achieve her success, she had to overcome additional challenges as a woman, as an immigrant, and an Asian American.
“The opportunities in this country are limitless but that doesn’t mean there aren’t challenges,” she said “It is up to you to take the initiative to overcome whatever obstacles are in your way.”
Student speaker Gerardo Franco, a 2017 bachelor’s degree recipient who received his master’s degree on Saturday, offered thoughts on the values that the graduates should keep in mind as they go forward. He spoke of working towards personal growth and seizing opportunities when the chance arose.
Franco also recounted how a Bruin engineering alumnus became an important mentor for him while he was attending community college. And he encouraged the graduates to consider their potential role as a future mentor.
“Each one of us is the sum total of the seed various mentors have planted in us,” he said. “Plant seeds in others and watch them take root.”