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USC announces commencement speaker, honorary degree recipients

Music mogul Jimmy Iovine will deliver the address at this year's commencement in May.

Just over 13,000 Trojans will gather in Alumni Park on May 17 for USC’s 130th commencement. The speaker at this year’s ceremony will be Jimmy Iovine, chairman of Universal Music Group’s Interscope-Geffen-A&M Records.

Iovine has collaborated with some of the music industry’s brightest stars as a producer. He’s brought many of those performers to national attention as co-founder of Interscope Records, cultivated new talent as a mentor on American Idol and serves as co-founder of the audio gear company Beats by Dr. Dre.

Roughly 5,000 undergraduate and 6,000 master’s degrees will be conferred during commencement, either at the main ceremony or one of the satellite events to be held across the University Park Campus.

Satellite ceremony details can be found here. A procession leaving Bovard Auditorium will begin at 8:30 a.m. for the 9 a.m. ceremony. Guests are encouraged to arrive by 7 a.m. to find parking and seating. Wheelchairs will be available for checkout in front of the Widney Alumni House from 6 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Six honorary degree recipients, including Iovine, will be recognized for their contributions as civic, academic and arts leaders in the community:

John Gurdon has led significant advances in the field of developmental biology, particularly through his groundbreaking work in nuclear transplantation and cloning. In the 1960s, his seminal experiments demonstrated the viability of animal cloning and laid the foundation for modern stem cell research. Sir Gurdon’s discoveries have transformed the understanding of how cells and organisms develop and led to major medical breakthroughs. For these singular contributions, he was awarded the 2012 Nobel Prize in Physiology or Medicine.

David Henry Hwang has distinguished himself as a renowned playwright, screenwriter and librettist. He is best known as author of the award-winning play M. Butterfly and also has written Golden Child, Yellow Face and his most recent work, Chinglish. Hwang has received many accolades, including the Steinberg Award for Playwriting, the largest monetary prize in theater. In addition, President Bill Clinton appointed him to the President’s Committee on the Arts and the Humanities, a position he held from 1994 to 2001.

Glorya Kaufman has established a stellar profile as an arts benefactor and has earned an eminent position among the world’s leading champions of dance. For several decades, she has focused her energy on philanthropic ventures, forming a foundation to support dance, fine arts, theater, education, research, medicine and other interests. In 2012, she committed one of the largest gifts in the history of American dance to create and endow the USC Glorya Kaufman School of Dance and construct the Glorya Kaufman International Dance Center at USC.

Edward P. Roski Jr. serves as chairman and CEO of Majestic Realty Co., one of the oldest and largest privately held real estate companies in the United States. He has made several contributions to the surrounding region as a civic leader and as co-owner of the Los Angeles Kings, Lakers and the Staples Center. He is a dedicated USC alumnus who has played a key role for the university through his work as chairman of the USC Board of Trustees.

Gayle Garner Roski is a longtime USC supporter and devoted patron of the arts. She is a talented artist whose watercolors have been exhibited extensively in museums and galleries throughout the world. Together with her husband, Edward, she provided a major gift to USC’s fine arts school, which was renamed the USC Roski School of Fine Arts in her honor. Mrs. Roski remains one of the city’s most passionate cultural ambassadors, heading public art projects throughout the region.

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