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06/14/2013 16:49:24

Caltech's 119th Commencement

Caltech's 119th annual commencement ceremony took place June 14 on Beckman Mall. This year, Caltech celebrated the accomplishments of 588 graduates, awarding 256 bachelor's degrees, 96 master's degrees, 2 engineer degrees, and 236 doctoral degrees. (Two of Caltech's graduates simultaneously earned and received both their bachelor's and master's degrees.)

University of Michigan president and biochemist Mary Sue Coleman delivered the keynote address, titled "Making a Wonderful Life," incorporating life lessons from the experiences of Caltech alumnus and legendary filmmaker Frank Capra (BS '18). Coleman's bits of advice for this year's graduates included:

  • "Do not be afraid to take yourselves in an unknown direction. A little ingenuity—and critical thinking skills of your college education—will set you on a path of discovery. You may never look back."
  • "Always let the human story—what Capra called the 'worth of the individual'—be part of your life work. You will be richer for it."
  • "Technology cannot fix everything, and this is where you must—absolutely must—keep the human dimension in full accord."

During his final commencement ceremony as Caltech's president, Jean-Lou Chameau also shared some of his principles about life and leadership with the graduates. He encouraged them to "stay open to the unexpected and to new possibilities. Today, you leave Caltech not just prepared to contribute to society as scientists, mathematicians, engineers, business people, scholars, and so on; you leave ready to serve as leaders, global citizens, innovators, and scholars."

At the end of the ceremony, David Lee, chair of Caltech's Board of Trustees, announced that the trustees had unanimously elected Chameau as president emeritus of the Institute and had also funded a professorship in his name.

Some notable facts about the Caltech undergraduate class of 2013:

  • The graduates included 100 women and 156 men.
  • They came from 33 states and the District of Columbia, and 18 foreign countries.
  • 50 students graduated with two options.
  • 15 students completed a minor.
  • 166 students graduated with honors.

Some notable facts about the Caltech graduate class of 2013:

  • The graduates included 95 women and 239 men.
  • They came from 31 countries (including the United States).
  • There were five MD/PhD candidates.
  • It was the largest PhD class in a decade.

As the Caltech community and friends marked this milestone—and the important transition from Caltech students to alumni—they also reflected on the successes, lessons, problem sets, SURFs, and other unique research opportunities that helped the students arrive at commencement. Learn about some of Caltech's graduates in the Senior Spotlight series, a collection of online stories that highlight the individual accomplishments of Raymond Jimenez, Judy Mou, Mason Freedman, and Megan Jackson.

Written by Andrew Allan