Los Angeles Mayor to Serve as Commencement Speaker

Los Angeles Mayor Antonio R. Villaraigosa will present the keynote address at Claremont McKenna College’s 60th Annual Commencement ceremonies at 2 p.m. on Saturday, May 12 on Pritzlaff Field, located south of Bauer Center.

“We spent a lot of time looking for the perfect Commencement speaker, and I’m really excited that Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa accepted our invitation,” said senior class president Alex Piazza. “He is an inspirational speaker with a powerful biography and a lifelong commitment to making his community–our community–better. I cannot think of anyone who can relate as well as he can to the interests of our graduating students.”

Villaraigosa, elected to office in July 2005 as the 41st mayor of Los Angeles, has established himself as a national leader in programs addressing education, public safety, and transportation. He was named by Time as one of the 25 most influential Latinos and by U.S.News and World Report as one of “America’s Best Leaders.”

Born Antonio Villar, Villaraigosa (a combination of surnames with wife, Corina Raigosa), grew up in the City Terrace neighborhood of East Los Angeles, the oldest of four children raised by a single mother. After graduating from Theodore Roosevelt High School, he earned his bachelor’s degree from the University of California, Los Angeles, and later graduated from the People’s College of Law.

Villaraigosa’s career in public service began with the United Teachers Los Angeles (UTLA), serving as field representative/organizer. In 1994, he was elected to the California State Assembly, and in 1998, as Assembly Speaker, during which he oversaw passage of landmark state legislation including the modernization of public schools and the Healthy Families program, providing healthcare for more than 500,000 California children.

After narrowly missing election as Los Angeles mayor in 2001, Villaraigosa landed a seat on the Los Angeles City Council, District 14, and is credited among other issues with helping resolve the Metropolitan Transportation Authority’s transit strike.

(Full biography: http://www.lacity.org/mayor/bio1.htm )

For a second year, Claremont McKenna College’s Commencement ceremonies will be held on a Saturday afternoon, on Pritzlaff Field. Seating for the ceremony is on a first-come basis.

View Commencement schedule: http://www.claremontmckenna.edu/news/events/commencement/2007/