2018 Graduate Commencement, Berkeley Engineering

2018 Graduate Commencement, Berkeley Engineering

October 14, 2019 1 By Stanley Isaacs


(Pomp and Circumstance processional) (Applause & chatter as Pomp and Circumstance plays) – Good morning! I’m Steven Glaser, and I’m honored to serve as faculty marshal for
today’s celebration. Welcome to today’s College of Engineering commencement ceremony honoring our masters
and doctoral candidates. We are delighted to have you here to share in their special day. Today’s ceremony is being webcast. If you’d like to share the
address with family and friends, it is engineering.berkley.edu/begrad18. To everyone who has tuned in, welcome. To begin the ceremony,
we have invited singers from UC Men’s Chorale to
sing the national anthem. Please stand. ♪ O say can you see ♪ ♪ by the dawn’s early light ♪ ♪ What so proudly we hailed ♪ ♪ at the twilight’s last gleaming ♪ ♪ Whose broad stripes and bright stars ♪ ♪ through the perilous fight ♪ ♪ O’er the ramparts we watched ♪ ♪ were so gallantly streaming ♪ ♪ And the rockets’ red glare ♪ ♪ the bombs bursting in air ♪ ♪ Gave proof through the night ♪ ♪ that our flag was still there ♪ ♪ O say does that
star-spangled banner yet wave ♪ ♪ O’er the land of the free ♪ ♪ and the home of the brave ♪ (applause) Thank you so much, please be seated. This morning’s commencement celebration is devoted entirely to our
masters and doctoral candidates. UC Berkeley is recognized
as a world-leader in graduate education with more
top-ranked graduate programs than any other university in the world. At the College of Engineering, many of our graduate programs have seen a steady
increase over the years. All our programs are
ranked amongst the top five in the nation, and four
occupy the number one spot. In front of us today are nearly
900 exceptional individuals who have earned a graduate degree from Berkeley Engineering this year. As you know, this year also marks the University of California
150th anniversary. Interesting, it’s also
the 149th graduation, so things went quicker back then. The University was founded in 1868 with the Colleges of Agriculture, Mining, and Mechanical Arts. The latter two are the forerunners of today’s College of Engineering. So, as you look to your fugure,
we hope that you also carry with you the pride in our history. We have a great program
planned this morning, and we ask that everyone please
stay for the entire event out of respect to all our graduates. To offer the first of what might be many congratulations to our graduates, I am pleased to present
Dean Shankar Sastry Dean of the College of Engineering. Please welcome Dean Sastry. (applause) – Good morning, graduates. That’s your cue to say
good morning (laughs) Today is the day I eagerly
anticipate each academic year. It’s my favorite day. And it feels particularly
special this year as I close out my tenure
as Dean while at Berkeley, and Berkeley Engineering
celebrates its sesquicentennial. In plain English, that’s
the 150th anniversary. I know I speak for all
of my faculty colleagues in saying how proud we are to have prepared you for this day. In your graduate studies,
you have tackled challenges through original research
and hands-on innovation while deepening your understanding of the impact that
engineers have in society. You contributed your own
insights and discoveries to the world-wide legacy
of engineering knowledge. We are proud to send you off as graduates of the world’s best engineering school, Berkeley Engineering! (applause) This day belongs to you, our graduates, and to the families who
are with us here today, and we want to thank you for supporting the success of our students. Congratulations! (applause) Our Berkeley Engineering
graduates are truly exceptional. Not only are you dreaming
about a better future for all, you are inventing it. As engineers, you take up an idea, you use your hearts, minds, and your hands, and a
lot of trial and error, to create something completely new. Now, you’re leaving
Berkeley ready to navigate and lead our interconnected
and interdependent world. We need your talents more than ever. We need your vision and expertise to build a safe and healthy world for our children and grandchildren. We need your understanding
of ethics and social justice as we introduce new technologies that carry complex
implications for human society. We need you to answer the
call of the citizen engineer. Let me send you off with
a favorite quote of mine from that most visionary engineer known to human history, Leonardo da Vinci. He speaks to both the
dreamer and the inventor in all of us by saying, “I have been impressed
with the urgency of doing. “Knowing is not enough; we must apply. “Being willing is not enough; we must do.” Wherever you go, remember that you will always
be a Berkeley engineer. Take your responsibility seriously. Stay in touch, and go Bears! (applause) One of the highlights of commencement is to introduce our
exceptional student speakers. This year, Tsai-Chu Yeh, who graduates today with a
Masters of Translational Medicine will be our master’s student
commencement speaker. She will be followed
by our doctoral student commencement speaker, Joseph Charbonnet, who is graduating with a PhD in civil and environmental engineering. If Joseph Charbonnet’s
name sounds familiar, it may be because he recently
won the UC-wide Grad Slam, also known as the Slammy, with a the three-minute
explanation of his dissertation on the use of sand to clean stormwater. I understand that his speech this morning will touch on a different topic, however. Joe was born in Gainsville, Florida to parents who were lifelong teachers. He grew up in a family that
nurtured his love of science. Before joining us at Berkeley, he earned his bachelor’s degree in environmental
engineering at Georgia Tech. Notably, Joe was a student at Georgia Tech while our keynote speaker, Gary May, was there as Dean of Engineering. It’s a happy accident
that today’s commencemnet facilitated a reunion of sorts since Joe and Gary are seated next to or reasonably close to each other. But first, you’ll hear from another stellar student, Tsai-Chu Yeh. Tsai-Chu was born in Taiwan
to a family of physicians. Both her parents and her
two siblings are doctors, so she developed an early
love of helping improve people’s lives through quality healthcare. Fortunately for us,
Tsai-Chu’s desire to go beyond treating individual patients
to solving broader healthcare problems brought her to
the interdisciplinary UC Berkeley UCSF Masters in
Translational Medicine prgoram. We call it the Andy Grove
Program in honor of Andy Grove who really pushed us
to create this program. At Berkeley, she was based in
the Bioengineering Department where she worked on exploring the idea of gene therapy to treat disease. Whilie she’s not in the lab, she manages to find time to volunteer at non-profits like the
Foundation for Fighting Blindness, which supports efforts to prevent and treat vision loss around the world. Please join me in welcoming Tsai-Chu as our master’s student
commencement speaker. (applause) – Greetings, family, friends, faculty, alumni, and congratulations
to the class of 2018! (applause) I stand before you as a less conventional choice for student speaker because I am not an enginner by training. But, before you start questioning the decision of the committee, I would like to tell you why we doctors and engineers share so much in common. We both take time to enjoy
the little things in life such as those little
bugs in the human body and those little bugs in our code. We both love working late into
the night and on holidays. And we don’t stop when we’re tired. We only stop once we’ve found a solution. But it’s not just our achievements or the recognition
received that motivate us. It is the real impact and indelible marks we leave on others’ lives that fulfill us. On my first morning here, our program director
laid out a table of tools ranging from the hammer to
a measuring tape to a spoon, and instructed us to choose one without knowing what it was for. From there we got into groups
for our ice-breaking session, which was literally to
break a giant ice block using our tools, until it
weighed exactly one kilogram. I looked down at my spoon in dismay. Standing here now with all
of you, my fellow graduates, I realize that we’re
facing a similar challenge. The world is changing
unpredictably around us, faster than ever before, and
the tools we have in hand may rapidly become outdated. We’re simply not matched to
the problems we are faced with. When we got to Berkeley,
we each picked a discipline that matched our personal stance, without knowing what
tasks we’ll now encounter. Whether you picked a stethoscope, a calculator, or a pipette, I want to reassure you that we’ve learned far more at Berkeley than just how to use a tool. However things unfold from here on out, our mission will be accomplished as we found out with the ice block. Not by any single tool, but by our combined creativity, critical thinking, and team work. During a visit to Tibet, I met Yomei, a local student who had
dropped out of school due to financial strains, even though the education
was provided for free. I later learned she had to
spend all of her time working in order to raise her siblings, although graduating was her dream. A year later as we were corresponding, I found out she had used all of her extra savings to buy coal to provide heat so the students who were forced to work in the summer could continue to learn
during the freezing winter. By being in the world’s
best public university, we’re all blessed with having
more than one tool in hand to better the world. Yomei, who had almost nothing in hand, except for her own
motivation and determination, made this world a little
better than she found it. The world outside of
Berkeley may be filled with people ready to
tell you to be realistic, but the truth is no one
really knows what is possible until they actually try. As the great German
philosopher Nietzsche noted, “He whose life has a why
can bear almost any how.” It is all about our willingness to put one foot in front of the other, to better the lives of those around us. Scientist, or artist. Doctor, or engineer. Whatever your background may be, the same holds true for each of us. Life takes on the
meaning that you give it. This year, we celebrate
Cal’s 150th birthday, and are reminded of all the
life changing discoveries and miracles that have happened here. Here at Cal, we do not merely strive to meet the gold standard. Together, we create the
new golden bear standard. Which is not only to be a bright light for others to try toward, but to make others around
us shine brighter as well. Here at Cal, history has been made and we have been given the
power to shape the future. But there’s no way we
could have gotten this far, or will achieve what’s to come, without all of you who have been there for us since day one, and are still with us here today. So now, on my last day here at Cal, if I were faced with the
same ice-breaking challenge, I would worry less about
which tool I’d choose, because it is not the
tool in hand that matters, but the will in mind. My fellow Bears, let’s
take the light Berkeley has sparked in us and go after our dreams. Go bright, go bold, go brave, and go Bears. (applause) Now, please join me in welcoming the Ph.D. student commencement
speaker, Joe Charbonnet. (applause) – All right, y’all. I’mma spoil the end of the speech for ya. This speech is going to end with you cheering Go Bears! But, but, but, it is my sincere hope that when you shout Go Bears
at the end of this speech it will mean something different to you than it does right now. But first, let me start by asking do you ever go up to the
top of the Campanile? Yeah, yeah, I know that
this is super cheesy, but sometimes when I was stuck on a really thorny problem in my research, I would go up to the top
of the tower to think because I found that when
you’re up above it all, you gain a certain clarity. From the top, trouble seems smaller and inspiration just
comes a little bit easier. Our education and training now position us near the top of our fields. Just as from that tower we
see the world in a new way, so too does our education
give us a new perspective on the problems that we
are now called to face. My mother knows this. You see, she came to
this country as a child with little money and no English, but with a strong conviction
that with hard work and a good education, you
can be on top of the world. And she became a science teacher. And for 30 years, she has taught kids that if you want to make it to the top, you have to be inquisitive and creative and seek the great education that you get at places like Berkeley. Because at the top, there’s
that certain clarity. From great heights the
naysayers seem smaller and inspiration comes easier. As high as those bells
are above our campus, so now are you fellow
graduates above your doubters. My mother taught me that. And if that is not proof
that immigrants and refugees are precisely what make
this country great, I am not sure what is! (audience cheers and applauds) So, in recognition in all of the lessons and all of the hard work
that each of our families have put into getting us here, I’ll ask that we graduates turn and give a huge round of
applause to our families for helping so much. (graduates applaud) So what does all of that have
to do with saying Go Bears? I know, right? Well, there are cynics among us, you know who you are, who consider the bear to
be an odd mascot for Cal. And it is true. Despite being a symbol for our state, there haven’t actually been grizzly bears in California for nearly 100 years. But the bear is actually a perfect symbol for our institution. Bears are down, close to the ground! And they sniff around
with great curiosity! But, when they attack, they stand upright, they reach way up with their big paws, and they come down with a fury from above. Attacking problems from above. More than anything else, fellow graduates, that is what makes you and I Bears. All those nights that
you stayed up in lab, all those reports you wrote, all those equations you derived, all those equations you derived, all those equations you
derived, (audience laughter) those were preparing you to be a Bear. You see, the skills that you gained here allow you to stand near
the top of your field, to look out and see the
problems around you, be they energy, or drought, or earthquakes, or machine learning, and reach way up with your big brain, and to attack them from above! So now we’re gonna do a cheer that we have done many times before. And when I say Go, you’ll say Bears, but this time, this time, don’t think of Go Bears
as a hokey platitude or a silly cheer for a football team that you’ve never actually went and saw. (audience laughs) Think instead of Go Bears
as your marching orders from this commencement. Think of Go Bears as an exhortation to look down from the high place that you have earned
along with your degree from here at Berkeley
and attack every problem with all the might and strength and power that your time here has given you. Go!
– Bears! – Go!
– Bears! – Here comes climate change! Go! – Bears! – Here comes a cyber attack! Go!
– Bears! – [Joe] Here comes a mission to Mars! Go!
– Bears! – Go!
– Bears! – Go!
– Bears! – Thank you all! (cheering and applauding) – Thank you, Joe, that
was rousing, and Chu. We wish the two of you
the very best of luck. We have no doubt that you’ll
make Berkeley very proud. It’s now my great honor to introduce an esteemed Berkeley engineering alumnus, and the Chancellor of UC Davis, Gary May, who will deliver today’s
commencement address. Earlier, I alluded to the fact that Gary was the Dean of Engineering
at Georgia Tech. What I will add now is that his warmth and dynamic leadership made
him incredibly effective and popular with his academic colleagues, as well as with the students. It was at Georgia Tech where Gary earned his bachelor’s degree, but we claim him as one of our own because he came to Berkeley Engineering for his graduate studies. He earned his masters and Ph.D. in electrical engineering
and computer science at Berkeley with Costas Spanos, and then returned to Georgia Tech as a faculty member. In 2010 he was named as
Electrical Engineering Distinguished Alumnus at Berkeley and the following year, he was named as Georgia Tech’s Dean of Engineering. Gary has received numerous honors for his research which is in the field of computer-aided manufacturing of integrated circuits. But he’s also recognized nationally as a life-long champion of equity, diversity and inclusion in academia and industry. We saw clear evidence of this at Berkeley where Gary co-founded BGESS, the Black Graduate Engineering and Science Student’s Group, which just celebrated it’s
30th anniversary in February. While Dean of Engineering at Georgia Tech, Gary helped create ambitious programs designed to increase the number of underrepresented Ph.D.’s
in science and engineering. Under Gary’s leadership, hundreds of traditionally
underrepresented students have received their Ph.D.’s
in science or engineering at Georgia Tech, the most in such fields in the nation. For his innovations in education programs, for underrepresented groups in enginnering Gary was honored in 2015 with the Presidential Award for Excellence in Science, Mathematics, and Engineering Mentoring by President Barack Obama. Gary is an expert, of course, in semi-conductor manufacturing and was recognized for this by his election to the
National Academy of Engineering in February 2018. Last fall, UC Davis made the wise decision to recruit Gary back to California, naming him the campuses seventh Chancellor and we were delighted. We feel extremely fortunate to have him here today as your keynote speaker. Please give a warm welcome to Chancellor Gary May. (applause) – Thank you, so much Dean Sastry, distinguished members of the stage party, faculty, staff, friends, family, most importantly, graduating students of UC Berkeley’s College of Engineering. (applause) I’m so honored and pleased to be back here to celebrate such a joyous
and memorable occasion. I really feel a wave of nostalgia every time I come back
to Berkeley’s campus. The last time I was in this facility, I was receiving my Ph.D. hood and I remember walking across the stage to the chagrin of the Marshall, I kept walking straight out to the exit to see my family. Don’t do that. (audience laughter) Such a bad example for a Chancellor. Please don’t do that. When I was a graduate student back here in the late 1980’s, I really never envisioned standing here as the graduating class
commencement speaker. When he invited me to speak, I asked the Dean Sastry what I should talk about. He thought about it for a minute and then he said to me, you should talk about ten minutes, these students wanna get their hoods. (laughter) and diplomas, and get out of here. So I’ll try to honor that. I know what you’re all thinking, I hope he’s as good as
the student speakers were. (laughter) They were really good, you guys are excellent. (applause) So looking at all the caps and gowns out in the audience right up against the Berkeley hills and Hayward Fault, (laughter) I can’t help but have a flash-back to that ceremony that I had back in 1991 when I earned my Ph.D. But there are really two things that set me distinctly
apart from those days. Number one, now I get
to wear fancier gear. Even a little bling. (laughter) As a Chancellor at
commencement ceremonies. And number two, back then, I never really imagined that I’d be as happy as I am today. I wanna share with you
why I think that is. Every day I try to learn something, to help someone, and to make the world a
little bit better place. Earning degrees from UC Berkeley allowed me to do all of those things. If we think and behave like this we’ll be doing something that is extraordinary for society and for our own well being and for our own happiness. What I mean when I say make the world a better place, is on the surface that might sound trite, like a sound bite from
a Coca-Cola commercial, so let me try to bring this platitude down to Earth, to our world as engineers. Engineers like to build things. I started with LEGO and
Erector sets as a kid and I worked my way up
to integrated circuits. I believe we also share the aspiration to build something that will out last us. Buildings, bridges and dams might immediately come to mind to the civil engineering
graduates among us, but of course, I’m referring to something much more transformational. I’m talking about
accelerating the advancement of innovations that make the world a healthier, safer and
more sustainable place. I’m calling for this advancement because for the past 30 years or so, electrical and computer engineers, computer scientists in particular, have been hyper-focused on moving at hyper-speed, chasing an
insatiable consumer demand for more, better and faster technologies that entertain ourselves
and curate our lives on social media. The rate of this technological change has accelerated to a point where the 2004 birth of Facebook seems like a lifetime ago. Last time I checked, Facebook passed the two billion user mark. And, yes, I’m one of
those more active users. Friend me. (laughter) Most of you graduating students were still kids in 2004. But, perhaps, old enough
to remember the flip phone. They were dumb phones by today’s smart phone standards. The Commodore 64 of phone technology. I told the speech writers the
students wouldn’t get that. (laughter) Ipods were the must-have music player. They’re practically extinct now that smart phones double as music players. Bluetooth technology was on the rise, and Skype emerged as the 21st century way to make a phone call. My great hope for you and
your generation of engineers is that you apply at least much vigor and ingenuity towards technologies to liberate people from poverty, illness and suffering. That buffer the harsher
effects of climate change, and help us adapt to a
changing environment. Don’t get me wrong, I’m not dismissing or discounting the quality of life value of consumer and
entertainment technologies. I love seeing my favorite super heroes come to life on the screen through CGI. And I like my smartphone
as much as the next person. I’m simply hoping for
a time when the public gets just as excited about
technologies that better society as they do about those
that serve the individual. (applause) Thank you. (applause) And I hope and I believe that you, the newest engineering graduates of the best public university system the world has ever known (audience laughter) are poised to help make
that paradigm shift. There’s no shortage of opportunities. Let’s start with health. We’re seeing a growth in technologies to personalize medicine
in exciting new ways. Prescription drugs with
one-type fits-all approach may become a thing of the past. Kind of like that flip phone. Biomedical engineers envision a future in which cancer therapies target a persons unique
genomic fingerprint and are tuned to their personal lifestyle and environment. Engineers are developing diagnostic tools for home care services that scan and send patient data directly to a doctor’s office and predict a response
to customized treatments, all in a matter of minutes. We’re also seeing rapid advancements in molecular imaging that explore the human body in more expedient and less invasive ways. One of my UC Davis colleagues in the National Academy is doing some especially groundbreaking work in that field. Simon Cherry, a professor
of bioengineering, leads a team of researchers at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory and the University of Pennsylvania, that’s developing a PET-CT scanner that can image the entire
body in less than a minute. This could fundamentally change the way cancers are tracked and treated while greatly reducing
a patient’s exposure to radiation. There have also been exciting advances in fluorescence technology that make it easier and faster for doctors to distinguish
cancerous tissue during tumor removal surgery. This technology has the potential to save pathologists a lot of money and a lot of time. I believe we’re seeing
just the tip of the iceberg in these types of health technologies that are increasingly more powerful and more personalized. Engineers will increasingly be tapped for developing sensor
and imaging technology in other areas as well, such as to strengthen
our national security. Aerial surveillance and drone technology is becoming more powerful to the point of identifying individuals in a crowded stadium, like this one. (audience laughter) Hi Alexa. That’s me down here, Gary May. Shoe size, 10 and a half. No bone spurs. (laughter and applause) Mobile air pollution sensors
are now being deployed to advance the science of air pollution and how it affects communities at a level that has
never been done before. Google engineers recently teamed up with the Environmental Defense Fund and the University of Texas at Austin, to map air quality right down to the block you live on. They did this in Oakland, using specially equipped Google Maps cars to measure air pollutants. The results filled important data gaps in traditional stationary air monitoring. They show that urban air pollution can be highly variable from street to street. The researchers believe this
mobile sensing technology can be scaled up to track and map pollutants in cities nationwide and perhaps worldwide. Imaging and sensor
technology is also growing in the field of
environmental sustainability, helping us keep better tabs on the health of our crops, our forests, and our air. The same technologies could be pivotal in addressing food security crises. Currently, about 28% of
the world’s population is malnourished, and the global population is expected to grow 30% in the next 35 years to 9 billion people. Meanwhile, climate change is projected to decrease crop yields in many regions of the world over the same period, with prolonged drought
depressing yields even further. So, obviously, we need to get a lot smarter about how we farm, taking full advantage
of the new technologies available to us. The smart farm of the future
presents a cornucopia, no pun intended, of opportunities for engineers, biologists and environmental scientists to optimize food production systems and to design, develop and operate smart farm machines. Researchers are experimenting with how wireless networks
on farms that use drones can capture real-time data on irrigation and plant nutrition. They’re using robots for
precision planting and weeding and optimal dosing of
pesticides and nutrients. The goal is to optimize food production while minimizing environmental footprint using machines and practices guided by new sensing systems. Here’s another way to make
the world a better place. Ten years ago, the National Academy of Engineering issued a list of 14 grand
engineering challenges to accelerate innovation, to address these critical issues. Challenges included in the
issues I just spoke to, human health, security and environmental sustainability. However, I believe there’s one major long-standing challenge to the engineering profession that’s missing from that list. I’m talking about the sluggish pace of improving diversity in engineering. (applause) This is a grand challenge
that I undertook to address as Engineering Dean at Georgia Tech and now as UC Davis Chancellor, and I’m calling upon you to do the same. When I got that Ph.D. here in 1991, I was one of about 30 African Americans that year who earned doctorates in the field of engineering. Thirty. In the United States. The 30 of us got to know
each other very well. We still keep in touch, it’s a small club. It’s easy to stay in contact. In 2016, 25 years later, the number of African Americans who earned engineering doctorates was a grand total of 173 nationwide, 1.4% of all who earned Ph.D.’s
in engineering that year. So that’s progress, but certainly nothing to brag about. Minorities and women continue to be abysmally underrepresented in STEM fields. It’s important that you, engineering graduates of 2018, champion diversity
throughout your careers. It’s important not only for
the sake of social equity, or because it’s the right thing to do, which it is, diversity is also worth promoting because it gives our
society better outcomes. I’ll give you a few examples of that from the STEM perspective. The first auto air-bags in the auto industry almost killed women passengers. That’s because they had been tested only on crash-test dummies
with male anatomies. So when the air bags deployed, they often hit the woman in the head and could have snapped their necks or caused severe burns or other injuries. This was the result of not having any men on the design team. The first voice activated devices the ancestors of Siri and Alexa, did not respond to a female voice. Again, because there were
no women on the design team. Another example, which
is still contemporary and relevant today, in some public restrooms, if I put my hand under
the automated faucet or soap dispenser with my palms up I get soap or water. However, if I put my hand
under with palms down, I may not. Because the dispenser is
not calibrated properly for my darker complexion. Now, I’m sure that doesn’t happen at the restrooms here at Berkeley. Finally, facial recognition programs still report some
difficulties in recognizing darker skinned faces. So, again, diversity is
a practical consideration that leads to better outcomes. If there were diverse engineers on those design teams in my examples, they would have not overlooked those particular glitches. Diversity is not just a buzz word, it’s not just window dressing or about correctness, political or otherwise. It’s one of the great
strengths of our society. It’s integral to our success. Engineering and science do
not operate in a vacuum. Science and engineering always operate in the context of socioeconomic, cultural and political realities. As the workforce continues
to become more global, and the needs of our planet
become more pressing, we must become both more interdisciplinary and more diverse. Engineers must become
effective public communicators and become more engaged
with public policy makers. We need more engineers
who are broadly educated, who see themselves as global citizens, who can be leaders in
business and public service, and who truly want to make
the wold a better place. I mentioned at the beginning that I try every day to help someone. One thing I have in mind when
I say this is mentorship. All of you have clearly attained rarefied academic success. You’re about to receive a graduate degree from one of the best engineering schools in the nation and one of the top
universities in the world. How’d this happen? How’d you make the cut? Was it all because you were just smarter or worked harder than everyone else? Well, in the south, where I used to work, there’s an expression that goes like this. If you see a turtle
sitting on a fence post, chances are it didn’t get there by itself. Somebody helped the turtle get
to the top of the fence post. People helped you, just like people helped
me become successful. My role models helped
to shape who I am today. Their histories, their challenges and their successes
influenced who I wanted to be and inspired me to become that person. August Eunestavoir was the first black engineering
professor at Georgia Tech and he helped me. He has been there for
me throughout my career. He was here for me in this very facility when I got my Ph.D. in 1991. He was there this past fall for my investiture as
the seventh Chancellor of UC Davis. Three of my former Ph.D. students also traveled very far to attend that investiture service. I have them and many other
former student’s of mine to thank for teaching me the value of being a mentor. I want to highlight the story of one of those former students, because I think it was
particularly compelling. Before Cleon Davis was my Ph.D. student, he was misdiagnosed as a child with a learning disability. An active and a curious
African American kid, he was pigeon-holed as a slow learner. Placed in special education class and driven to and from
his elementary school in the bus for the special ed kids. But his mother persistently
and successfully insisted that that school place
him in mainstream classes. If you fast forward, eventually this slow learner who had been stuck in a special ed class, went on to graduate with a Ph.D. in electrical engineering from one of the top engineering
schools in the country, Georgia Tech. He is now a member of the technical staff at the Applied Physics Laboratory at the Johns Hopkins University. My experience with Dr. Davis cemented my belief that anybody can reach their full potential and be successful, given the right tools,
training and motivation. Mentoring is not, as some see it, an intervention. It’s not so much about keeping students or colleagues from falling
through the cracks, as it is enlightening them with visions of their success. One of my go-to quotes on the power of mentoring comes from the former Surgeon General Dr. Joycelyn Elders, an African American woman, who said, “You can’t be what you can’t see.” Mentors help colleagues and students find opportunities and
successful strategies they did not even know existed. Mentors can bring uplifting,
long-term perspective to students anguished over
their short-term setbacks. Mentoring is about empowering others to be agents of their own success in their careers and their destiny. As I conclude, let me return to where I began on the subject of happiness. My final piece of advice
for the graduates, try not to take yourselves too seriously. Think about the things you did as a kid that probably started you down the track of engineering. Maybe you loved taking apart machines to discover how they worked. Maybe you liked blowing things up with a chemistry set. Perhaps it was all those
model airplanes you built or the computer or video games that you played. Whatever it is, or whatever it was, keep that joy of building and creating and discovery alive throughout your life, no matter how burdened or overwhelming you might feel at times, I promise you, you’ll be up-lifted. Now, to put everyone’s minds at ease, I need to make it clear that I have outgrown my
LEGO and Erector sets. However, I cannot say the
same for my comic books. I still have about 13,000 of them. (laughter) I used to get them right
down here on University. Some of you may wonder what a distinguished
leader of the University, recognized for serious scholarship, why such a person still collects and reads comic books. Well, the fact is that the X-Men, The Avengers and the Justice League are using their powers for good, and that’s what I try to do. Like I said, every day
try to learn something, try to help someone, try to make the world better. Congratulations to the
engineering graduates of 2018. My best wishes for you in your future, live long and prosper. (laughter) And this is the only time and place where I get to say this now, Go Bears! (applause) Thank you. Thank you, please, please. Don’t edit that part out of the video. I’d like to ask my colleague, Vice Chancellor for Equity and Inclusion, Oscar Dubón, to please come to the podium for a special presentation. (applause) – Thank you very much, Gary, and thank you for being a role model to so many of us. Good morning, Berkeley engineers. Good morning, esteemed loved ones. I am Oscar Dubon, UC Berkeley’s Vice Chancellor for Equity and Inclusion and a professor in the Department
of Materials Science and Engineering. I am here today to present the Berkeley Citation, one of the highest honors
the campus bestows. I am truly honored to be doing this. The award recognizes exceptional service to the campus and those whose body of work exceeds the standards of excellence in their fields. Today, I am honored to present the Berkeley Citation to my colleague, my
friend, my former boss, and really one of the special people in the college and on the campus, our Dean of Engineering, Shankar Sastry. (applause) Shankar will you join me to the podium. (applause) The presentation of the Citation is always a surprise, so if Shankar looks like
he’s been caught off guard, he has. At the end of next month, Shankar will return full time to his research and teaching after more than a decade as Dean of the College of Engineering. That decade has been remarkable, thanks in no small part to Shankar’s vision, energy, enthusiasm, for Berkeley and it’s students, Shankar does bleed blue and
gold through and through. With creative new approaches, he met the challenge of
preparing our graduates for a changing world, increasing our focus on design, entrepreneurship, hands-on learning, and integrating business
or clinical skills with engineering. Shankar championed efforts to educate the whole students, with an innovative suite
of student services, from academic and personal counseling, to leadership training. He helped solidify Berkeley’s leadership in innovation and global impact with his direction and support of multi-disciplinary research centers, tackling such issues as cyber security, energy, water, synthetic biology, digital technologies and
alleviating global poverty. Shankar is truly a social justice warrior. I’m really very proud
of that work with him for that. I particularly appreciate Shankar’s role as a champion of broadening participation in engineering. He has overseen steady growth
and enrollment of women, which, this fall, will constitute
30% of the freshman class, (applause) and under-represented minority students and last fall, Berkeley engineering’s comprehensive plan to
advance faculty diversity was recognized by the UC
Office of the President. Nearly 40 years ago, Shankar sat where you students are sitting as an EECS graduate. His connection to Berkeley
is deep and enduring. He’s made Berkeley engineering better, stronger and always more exciting, and for this, we thank him. Shankar, congratulations on winning the Berkeley Citation. (applause) – Thank you Gary, thank you Oscar, and thank you Shankar. Commencement is a proud day for graduates and their families. It is also a proud moment for the University of California. The degrees conferred by the University attest to the high
achievement of our students, and to the fulfillment of the primary task of the University, which is to advance knowledge. Today’s ceremony recognizes engineers who have the degrees of
Masters of Engineering, Master of Science, Master
of Translational Medicine, or Doctor of Philosophy. I would like to invite all our graduates to express your appreciation to family and friends who have supported you in your pursuit of a graduate degree. Please stand and give them a hearty cheer. (applause and cheers) We know what a special day this is and that many of you will
be taking photographs while we’re handing out the degrees. I’d like to ask you to please keep the aisles clear in consideration of those seated. It is now time to grant our candidates with their hard-earned degrees and recognize each one of them by name. Dean Shankar Sastry will
confer the Master’s Degree in the following order. First, the Master of Engineering. This one year degree
combines intensive study and an engineering specialization with coursework in business
and leadership principles, all integrated by an
industrial capstone project. Second, the Master of Science. This degree is granted to individuals who have completed the course of study demonstrating a mastery
or high level overview of a specific field of engineering. Lastly, the Master of
Translational Medicine, a joint program with the University of California, San Francisco, prepares students to use
translational research and technology innovation
to improve health care. Dean Shankar Sastry, please step forward to grant the degrees. (applause) Will the candidates for the degree Master of Engineering please rise. (applause and cheers) In my authority as Dean of Engineering of the University of
California, Berkeley, I grant you the degree
Master of Engineering. I now invite all of you to move the tassel on your caps from the right side to the left side. (applause) Congratulations on your new status as proud graduates of
Berkeley Engineering. Please be seated. (applause) Will the candidates for the
Master of Science degree please rise. (applause) In my authority as Dean of Engineering of the University of
California, Berkeley, I grant you the degree Master of Science. (applause) All of you are now welcome to move the tassel from
the right side to the left. Congratulations as we celebrate together your status as proud Berkeley
Engineering graduates. (applause) Please be seated. (applause and cheers) Finally, the candidates for the Master of Translational Medicine degree. Please rise. (applause) Please rise. (laughter) Commencement speaker. In my authority as Dean of Engineering of the University of
California, Berkeley I grant you the degree of Master
of Translational Medicine. Don’t worry, I’m not
subverting USCF on this, it is a joint degree. I now invite all of you to
move the tassel on your caps from the right side to the left. This proud tradition signifies your new status as Berkeley
Engineering graduates. Congratulations. (applause) Please be seated. – Masters Degree certificates
will be presented to candidates by Dean Shankar Sastry and Phil Kaminsky, Executive Associate Dean of the college. We begin with the Master
of Engineering candidates who will be introduced by directors of the Fung Institute of Engineering Leadership, Professor and Faculty
Director Lee Fleming, Alex Beliaev, Director of the
Academic Capstone Experience, and Wayne Delker, Director of the Corporate Capstone Experience. – Dean Sastry, the candidates for the Master of Engineering degree in the Department of Bioengineering are: For names of graduates, download the commencement program at engineering.berkeley.edu/begrad18-program – Congratulations to you all. (applause) – We are proud of this
fine group of candidates. Congratulations to you all. (applause) We will now confer the Doctoral Degree. Dean Sastry. – The Doctoral Degree
is the highest academic degree awarded by a university. Upon completion of original research, resulting in a major thesis that adds to the knowledge
base in a discipline, we are delighted to
recognize these candidates for their extraordinary achievement. Will the candidates for the degree Doctor of Philosophy please rise. (applause and cheering) In my authority as Dean of Engineering of the University of
California, Berkeley, I grant you the degree
Doctor of Philosophy. No tassels for you,
please be seated (laughs). Congratulations on your accomplishment. – In keeping with academic tradition, we will place the hoods signifying the Doctoral Degree over
the head of each candidate. The hood’s dark blue velvet border represents the Doctoral Degree, and the blue and gold satin lining indicates the degree is awarded by the University of California. The students will be introduced by the chair of their department they will come forward and be joined by the faculty advisor who will present the hood. We start with the candidates from the graduate group in
Applied Science and Technology, who are introduced by professor and chair Junqiao Wu. (applause) For names of graduates, download the commencement program at engineering.berkeley.edu/begrad18-program – Best wishes to all graduates. Thank you. (cheering and applause) – Thank you everyone and congratulations to our class of 2018. You are now and forever Berkeley engineers and graduates of the
finest public university in the nation. And one of the top engineering
schools in the world. Be proud. Remember these years at
Berkeley with fondness. Stay in touch with each other and with us through the
contacts noted in your program. We hope you will come back to share your experiences
and impart your knowledge to those students who follow you. Now, to close today’s program, singers from the UC Men’s Chorale will perform Fight for California. ♪ Our sturdy Golden Bear, ♪ ♪ Is watching from the skies, ♪ ♪ Looks down upon our colors fair, ♪ ♪ And guards us from his lair. ♪ ♪ Our banner Gold and Blue, ♪ ♪ The symbol on it too, ♪ ♪ Means FIGHT! for California. ♪ ♪ For California through and through! ♪ ♪ Stalwarts girded for the fray, ♪ ♪ Will strive for victory, ♪ ♪ Their all at Mater’s feet will lay, ♪ ♪ That brain and brawn will win the day. ♪ ♪ Our mighty sons and true ♪ ♪ Will strive for us anew, ♪ ♪ And FIGHT! for California, ♪ ♪ For California through and through! ♪ – Go Bears on three, Go Bears on three, One, two, three. – Go Bears! (applause) – This concludes our Masters and Doctoral commencement ceremony. You are invited the receptions held by departments of the
College of Engineering. The location of each is
listed in your program. Again, best wishes to our graduates, and Go Bears! (cheers and applause) (“Fight For California” by UC Berkeley)