Caltech will celebrate its 127th Commencement in a virtual degree conferral and graduation ceremony starting at 10 a.m. Friday.
227 Bachelor of Science, 104 Master of Science, and 145 Doctor of Philosophy candidates will be recognized individually as their name is read alongside the presentation of a personalized slide and their degree is conferred.
Many of the graduating Caltech students lamented the commencement will not be in person. In response, the Institute devised a simultaneous in-person gathering that will allow fully-vaccinated candidates to celebrate together on campus in the company of their peers and to watch the virtual commencement ceremony outdoors.
“We have heard very clearly from our student leaders and representatives that what is most valued this June is the opportunity for our graduating students to return to campus and to safely gather with one another to celebrate their achievements,” Caltech president Thomas F. Rosenbaum, Provost David A. Tirrell, and Vice President for Student Affairs Kevin M. Gilmartin explained in a letter to the Caltech community in April.
The graduating students will have access to staged photo areas for individual and group pictures during the watch party.
The ceremony will include remarks from Rosenbaum and Board of Trustees Chair David Lee, a keynote address, remarks from notable alumni, and the conferral of undergraduate and graduate degrees.
The 2021 commencement keynote speaker will be Norman R. Augustine, a longtime leader in the aerospace industry.
Augustine has served as assistant secretary of the Army and undersecretary of the Army, been awarded the Department of Defense Civilian Distinguished Service Medal five times, is a former president of the American Red Cross, and in the civilian world led Martin Marietta Corp. through its merger with the Lockheed Corp. to form the aerospace and defense company Lockheed Martin.
Following Augustine’s keynote address, five notable Caltech alumni will each offer remarks on the theme of “resilience”:
Maryam Ali (BS ’05) medical writer, Medtronic Neurovascular
Christopher Blaszczak-Boxe (MS ’01, ’02, PhD ’05), assistant professor, Medgar Evers College, CUNY
Morgan L. Cable (PhD ’10), Astrobiology and Ocean Worlds Group supervisor, NASA Jet Propulsion Laboratory
Tara Gomez-Hampton (PhD ’11), associate director of medical affairs, Biosense Webster, Inc.
Mason Smith (BS ’09), software developer, TGS Management Company