UC Merced

Pulitzer winner, HP diversity chief to speak at UC Merced graduation ceremonies

Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author Héctor Tobar will speak May 14 at the UC Merced commencement ceremony for the school of social sciences, humanities and arts.
Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and author Héctor Tobar will speak May 14 at the UC Merced commencement ceremony for the school of social sciences, humanities and arts. Opale

A Pulitzer Prize-winning journalist and a high-ranking officer from a multinational computer company have been pegged to be speakers at UC Merced commencement ceremonies in May, the university announced Tuesday.

HP Inc. Chief Diversity Officer Lesley Slaton Brown will speak at 9 a.m. May 13, and journalist and author Héctor Tobar takes the microphone at 9 a.m. May 14.

The campus expects more than 1,000 undergraduate and graduate students to participate in the two graduation events, according to a news release.

“We’re delighted to have two exceptional and successful individuals – Mr. Tobar and Ms. Slaton Brown — address our graduates this year,” Chancellor Dorothy Leland said in a statement. “Both have made their marks in their respective fields and will impart their experiences and words of wisdom to our graduating class of 2017.”

1,000Number of undergraduate and graduate students expected to walk the stage

Slaton Brown will address candidates from the schools of engineering and natural sciences, while Tobar will appear before candidates from the school of social sciences, humanities and arts.

Slaton Brown, who has a bachelor’s degree in communications from Boise State University, has more than 20 years of experience in the technology industry, where she’s focused on business strategies and outcomes for corporations, startups and nonprofits, according to a news release.

She was named the 2016 Woman of the Year in Technology by the Silicon Valley Chapter of the National Coalition of 100 Black Women Inc. and received the 2016 Multicultural Leadership Award of the National Diversity Council, among other recognition.

Tobar is the author of four books including “The Barbarian Nurseries,” which won the California Book Award Gold Medal for fiction, according to his website.

Both (speakers) have made their marks in their respective fields and will impart their experiences and words of wisdom to our graduating class of 2017.

Chancellor Dorothy Leland said in a statement

His nonfiction book “Deep Down Dark: The Untold Stories of 33 Men Buried in a Chilean Mine and the Miracle that Set Them Free,” was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award and the Los Angeles Times Book Prize. It was also adapted into the movie “The 33.”

His bachelor’s degree in Latin American studies and sociology is from University of California, Santa Cruz, and his master of fine arts in creative writing is from the University of California, Irvine, according to a news release.

Tobar was part of the reporting team that earned a Pulitzer Prize for coverage of the 1992 Los Angeles riots, according to a news release.

The campus’s expansion under the Merced 2020 Project means the South Bowl, where graduation has been held for the past several years, will not be available for the ceremonies. Instead, they will be held in the Carol Tomlinson-Keasey Quad, which surrounds the “Beginnings” statue, officials said. Commencement is a ticketed event for invited guests.

For more, go to commencement.ucmerced.edu.

Thaddeus Miller: 209-385-2453, @thaddeusmiller

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