IRVINE (CBSLA.com) — President Barack Obama will speak at the commencement ceremony for the University of California, Irvine class of 2014 in June, the White House confirmed Thursday.
The historic appearance will mark the accomplishments of more than 8,000 undergraduate, graduate, and professional school students of the graduating class of 2014 and kicks off the campus’ 50th anniversary celebration, UCI officials said.
Chancellor Michael Drake said President Obama will deliver the keynote address to a diverse class in which nearly 50 percent are first-generation university graduates.
“We are thrilled that the President has accepted our invitation to deliver the keynote address at our commencement exercises this June,” Drake said. “We are proud of the progress we have made during our first half century, and are looking forward to even greater achievements in the years to come.”
UC Irvine extended the initial invitation to the president in an April 2013 letter from Chancellor Drake that outlined the accomplishments of the relatively young campus, which was founded in 1965.
Students and staff later followed up on that effort with signatures on approximately 10,000 postcards from Anteaters of all stripes – students, faculty, staff and alumni. In March, a delegation delivered the postcards and a student-produced video invitation to the White House Office of Public Engagement, school officials said.
KNX 1070’s Mike Landa reports regardless of their political leanings, many UCI students reacted positively to the announcement.
“I think it’s pretty cool, because a presidential figure is kinda distant a lot of times, and to have him come to this area and connect with people is a pretty cool opportunity,” said one student.
“UC Irvine’s turning 50 years old, and to have the President come and he’s 52, I think that’s amazing,” another student commented.
In June 1964, President Lyndon B. Johnson dedicated the land that would become UC Irvine shortly following his introduction of the Great Society agenda.
The 2014 commencement ceremony is set for Saturday, June 14, at Angel Stadium in Anaheim.