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U.S. Ambassador to Address SMC Graduating Class

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By Lookout Staff

May 25, 2023 -- A U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations will address Santa Monica College's (SMC) 2023 graduating class at the first in-person commencement ceremony to be held live since 2019, school officials announced this week.

Christopher P. Lu, the U.S. Ambassador to the UN for Management and Reform, will address the graduates at SMC's 93rd Commencement Ceremony on Tuesday, June 13, at Corsair Field.

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SMC will award 8,557 degrees and certificates. About 1,000 of the 6,162 students who have earned degrees and certificates are expected to take part in this year’s graduation.

“Each year, we try to thoughtfully invite a commencement speaker whose life and career trajectory embodies what is possible for our students, who come from varied backgrounds, and who come to Santa Monica College to fulfill their educational and career goals,” said SMC Superintendent/President Dr. Kathryn E. Jeffery.

“We are thrilled to have Ambassador Chris P. Lu, the son of immigrants, who made history as the second Asian American to become a deputy secretary of any cabinet department.
U.S. Ambassador to the UN Chris Lu

"His presence and story will undoubtedly be an inspiration to our graduates and demonstrate the possibilities higher education can unlock,” Jeffery said.

As one of five ambassadors at the U.S. Mission to the UN, Lu works to "advance American foreign policy interests in all facets of the UN’s work, including peace and security, development assistance, and human rights," SMC officials said.

Lu leads the U.S. Mission’s negotiations on the UN budget, promotes oversight of UN programs, and oversees reform initiatives, officials said.

“Santa Monica College has a storied history of providing a high-quality education to a diverse student population,” said Lu. “I can’t think of a better place to address tomorrow’s leaders and encourage them to tackle the challenges of the 21st century.”

The commencement ceremony also features a "Salutation" by Jeffery; "Board of Trustees Remarks" by SMC Board of Trustees Chair Barry Snell; "Faculty Challenge" by SMC Academic Senate President Jamar London, and the "Student Challenge" by graduating student Monique Janee Johnson.

Families and friends from all over the world who are not able to attend graduation in person can go to to enjoy the ceremony, congratulatory speeches, and 'Move the Tassel Moment” for the graduates," school officials said.

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