Dr. George R. Blumenthal — astronomer, astrophysicist, and Chancellor of the University of California, Santa Cruz (UCSC) — will be the 2014 commencement speaker at Santa Monica College.

SMC’s 84th commencement ceremony will be held at 6 p.m. Tuesday, June 17 at Corsair Field. For the fifth year in a row, the ceremony will also be webcast live and available on the SMC Alumni Association webpage (alumni.smc.edu).

About 600 graduates are expected to attend the festivities, which will also feature the awarding of the Santa Monica College Distinguished Alumni Recognition Award to author Michele Serros, renowned as a poet and award-winning spoken word artist.

“We’re honored to have Chancellor Blumenthal address our graduates and reinforce the strong and deep relationship SMC has with the University of California,” said SMC President Dr. Chui L. Tsang. “We have worked hard to prepare our students for the academic challenges ahead of them, and the result is that SMC continues to be the state leader in transfers into the UC system.”

Chancellor Blumenthal is widely known and respected for his efforts to increase access to the University of California and for his commitment to diversity among students, staff, and faculty. He received the 2012 Outstanding Senior Leadership Award from the Council of University of California Staff Assemblies (CUCSA) in recognition of his advocacy on behalf of staff, and has been an honorary member of CUCSA since 2005.

Through the alumni webpage, SMC graduates will also be able to watch videos and read and post comments. Graduates and SMC friends are encouraged to visit and “like” the Alumni Association’s Facebook fan page (facebook.com/SMCAlumni), as well as upload their graduation photos. They can also tag their pictures to Flickr or Twitter with #smcgrad14 that will be published on the alumni website.

After the ceremonies, the SMC Alumni Association is hosting a reception on the quad, with free hors d’oeuvres, beverages, and photo booths where pictures will be taken and uploaded to the SMC Alumni website. A compilation video will be available on the alumni website about a week after graduation.

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