Dean’s Message to Class of 2020

May 15, 2020

By UCLA Samueli Newsroom
Dear Class of 2020,

There are few milestones in life as momentous as a college commencement that celebrates your hard work and achievements. I am well aware of the rigor and diligence required to earn a degree in engineering at UCLA, especially for the graduating class this year. You have endured one of the most unprecedented adversities in our history caused by the COVID-19 pandemic. I’m immensely proud of your resilience, ingenuity, adaptability and compassion.

As your Dean, one of the hardest decisions I have had to make was transitioning our spring commencement into a virtual event on Saturday, June 13. Your well-being and the safety of your friends and family have always been at top of our minds, but they are particularly important during this public health crisis.

At a town hall in April, we conducted a live student poll that showed the majority of our graduating class wants both a virtual and an eventual in-person celebration. Working with Associate Dean Richard Wesel, department chairs and our dedicated staff, we want to honor you in the best way we can despite the difficult circumstances. We understand and feel the same disappointment that many of you are experiencing for not being able to participate in a commencement ceremony at Pauley Pavilion. However, t he lack of an in-person commencement does not mean you are not graduating. The Office of Academic and Student Affairs has put exciting plans in motion for a virtual ceremony to mark this truly commendable moment. We want to ensure that the Class of 2020, one that has successfully risen to meet the kind of challenge that shapes an entire generation, receives its well-deserved recognition in a celebration befitting the occasion.

We are excited to announce the 2020 Commencement Speaker will be Jason Droege, who was Uber’s vice president of Uber Everything and helped launch Uber Eats. Jason was one of our students in computer science before becoming a successful entrepreneur. I know you will be inspired by his experience and we are delighted he could join us in celebrating you. There are other important updates on our Commencement website, including information on eligibility, the Order of Engineer, social media activities and the senior class campaign.

We will keep you updated on our plans for an on-campus event when we can welcome you back to your alma mater for us to honor you in person. Until then, we hope you and your loved ones will join us on June 13 so we can celebrate your tremendous achievement together.

I am truly proud of every one of you, and I look forward to offering my congratulations both virtually and in person. Thank you for your steadfastness and perseverance, and for coming together during this difficult time to engineer change. Go Bruins!

With gratitude and affection,

Jayathi Y. Murthy
Ronald and Valerie Sugar Dean

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