Woodbury University to Host Commencement on May 10; Actor/Humanitarian Marlee Matlin and University President Dr. Luis Calingo to Address Class of 2014

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More Than 400 Woodbury University Undergraduate and Graduate Students to Receive Diplomas

Actor/Humanitarian Marlee Matlin

Oscar®-winning actor and humanitarian Marlee Matlin will deliver the commencement address to the Woodbury University Class of 2014 during ceremonies on campus this Saturday, May 10. University president Luís Ma. R. Calingo, Ph.D. will deliver closing remarks to the class.

More than 400 Woodbury University undergraduate and graduate students will receive their diplomas during the proceedings. The graduation ceremony is open to the public and will begin at 9 a.m. at the main Woodbury campus at 7500 Glenoaks Blvd. in Burbank.

Student speakers representing the Class of 2014 include senior Craig Michael Tolliver from the School of Architecture (Burbank) and two seniors from the School of Business, Rumana Khan and Verginie Touloumian.

A Reminder to Soar
In his remarks, Dr. Calingo will set the stage for the world that graduates are poised to encounter. It’s a world characterized by technological change at every turn: “Relentless urbanization in places unprepared for this growth… workplaces will become ubiquitous computing environments… data will have a life of its own -- algorithms will talk to other algorithms… and the ‘cloud’ will become more intelligent, not just a place to store data.”

Recalling the perseverance of Thomas Edison, JK Rowling and Burbank’s own Walt Disney, Dr. Calingo will suggest that, “when it comes to excellence and achievement, never give up,” and will draw a provocative analogy with bumblebees: “Do not know that you cannot fly, and you will soar like an eagle.”

In his send-off to students, he notes that “challenges are opportunities in disguise. Success occurs when opportunity meets preparation… the best way to prepare ourselves for this uncertain future is preparation through a process of lifelong learning.”

At age 21, Marlee Matlin became the youngest actress to earn the Academy Award for Best Actress for her performance in “Children of a Lesser God” and one of only four actresses to receive the honor for her very first film. Ms. Matlin is married to law enforcement officer and Woodbury University graduate Kevin Grandalski.

She serves as a National Celebrity Spokesperson for the American Red Cross, was instrumental in getting legislation passed to ensure the implementation of closed captioning technology for television and for television content broadcast over the Internet, and serves on a number of boards, including the American Red Cross, Children Affected by AIDS Foundation, Easter Seals and a variety of organizations that support children’s causes.

Graduates Inspired by Education
Woodbury University School of Architecture student Craig Tolliver discovered how building a fence could actually break down walls. Verginie Touloumian traveled half-way around the world to lead a summer camp in Armenia and Georgia, while fellow School of Business management major Rumana Khan learned how a passion for social activism could enable her to be a successful entrepreneur.

Designing a Different Kind of Fence
In his speech, Tolliver will explain how innovative thinking helped a group of architecture students design a fence for a community in Watts. “How could a fence, which typically divides space, actually bring people together?” he poses. “Being a part of this project was a privilege that will forever live in my memory, because we had the opportunity to make a difference, and we did.”

Changing Her Life by Helping Change Others’ Lives
Inspired by her professors, Touloumian participated in a Youth Corps program that involved operating five two-week camps in Armenia and Georgia. Her job: “To teach over 1,000 underprivileged children English, hygiene lessons, music and give them meals,” she will tell her fellow graduates. “I was going there to do good and change people’s lives, or so I thought. Instead, they changed mine.”

Social Activism and Entrepreneurship
Khan’s speech will share that every student “is considered an entrepreneur as they step into each class. My own experiences include utilizing managerial persuasion techniques to negotiate a proposal with a local business, becoming passionate about social activism through developing my own personal ethical platform, and taking the role of project manager after creating my own business idea from scratch. Entrepreneurship is not only a process of taking a risk and following your dreams; it awakens a fire within each individual and turns them into an ambitious enthusiast and innovator.”

Tickets are not required for admittance to the ceremony. Seating will be available in the Alumni Quad and throughout campus in the New Woody's Dining Room, Fletcher Jones Foundation Auditorium, and upper field. Guests can view the ceremony via live feed in locations away from the Alumni Quad. Woodbury University parking lots will be open on commencement day. Parking for graduates and guests will be available on a first-come, first-served basis.

About Woodbury University
Founded in 1884, Woodbury University is one of the oldest institutions of higher education in Southern California. Woodbury offers bachelor's degrees from the School of Architecture, School of Business, School of Media, Culture & Design, and Institute of Transdisciplinary Studies, along with an MBA program, Master of Architecture (MArch), Master of Science in Architecture (MSArch), and Master of Organizational Leadership. The San Diego campus offers Bachelor of Architecture, Master of Real Estate Development for Architects (MRED), and Master of Science in Architecture, Landscape, and Urbanism degrees. Visit http://www.woodbury.edu for more information, and Reflections on Excellence, a twice-monthly blog written by Woodbury University President Luis Maria R. Calingo, Ph.D.

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Shari Gibbons
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