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Former NAACP head to speak at commencement

Two ceremonies will be held May 21

Ben Jealous, former head of the NAACP, will be the keynote speaker at CSU Monterey Bay’s commencement ceremonies May 21.

This year marks two milestones for CSUMB – the university celebrates its 20th commencement, and for the first time, two ceremonies will be held.

Graduates from the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences and the College of Business will be celebrated at 10 a.m. The 3 p.m. ceremony will honor graduates from the College of Education, the College of Health Sciences and Human Services and the College of Science. Both will be held at Freeman Stadium on campus.

Mr. Jealous, who grew up on the Monterey Peninsula, is one of the country’s most influential leaders on issues of civil and human rights. He graduated from Columbia University, and then earned a master’s degree from Oxford where he was a Rhodes Scholar. At age 35, became the youngest leader of the NAACP in the organization’s long history. He strengthened the NAACP financially and became its public face, taking a thoughtful and prominent role in the ongoing discussions of racial justice, civil and human rights. In 2014, Mr. Jealous became a senior partner at Kapor Capital, which works with tech firms to lay the groundwork for progressive social change. He also is a senior fellow at the Center for American Progress. CSUMB will award him an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree.

Sylvia Panetta, the co-chair and CEO of the Panetta Institute, will also be awarded a Doctor of Humane Letters degree. Mrs. Panetta has been instrumental in helping to develop the institute into a widely respected advocate for civic involvement. The institute works to attract young people to lives of public service, helping them expand their knowledge of the policy process and develop their skills as future leaders. It sponsors Congressional internship and leadership programs for college students and coordinates the Monterey County Reads program.

Published Feb. 17, 2016