Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa's commencement speech Friday at UCLA praised his mother Natalia for supporting him and addressed the news that African American enrollment is down. "I worry for the future. With less than 100 African Americans in next year’s freshman class, we risk reversing decades of progress and accomplishment," the mayor said. When he spoke in May at USC's commencement exercises, not all the reviews were good. You be the judge of his UCLA speech, which included some references to the Trojans. The PDF file is on the mayor's website; here's a taste.
It is a beautiful thing to be back home at UCLA!
And I'll tell you: I've been traveling around to a lot of college campuses this spring!
In April, they invited me to Founders' Day at Occidental College. And I was absolutely floored when they paid me the undeserved compliment of making me an honorary Doctor of Laws. Then in May… I spoke at Loyola Marymount. And it happened again! They're probably still getting some outraged emails and phone calls over the fact that I'm now officially on the rolls as an honorary Doctor of Arts! And as you can imagine, I can feel myself getting smarter by the speech!
Then I gave the graduation speech at USC…
And even though I stood before that sea of Trojans and swore my allegiance to the blue and gold, they were generous enough to confer another honorary doctorate.
So… you can imagine my excitement when I got a call from UCLA…When they invited me to come here today, I thought I might as well get a jump on things and order the frame! So I asked the Chancellor's office to send over the dimensions of the degree I'd be receiving. They said, "Sorry, Mr. Mayor. We don't do honorary degrees."
"You've got to earn your diploma from UCLA!"
He continues after the jump, telling more tales on himself.
Again, for the record, my diploma reads, "Class of 1977. Department of History. College of Letters and Science. UCLA!"
It came complete with then-Governor Jerry Brown’s autograph on it. Ironically – Mr. Brown is someone I now have the privilege of
considering a friend and a peer. Things have a way of coming full circle.
But I want to make it absolutely clear… there is no greater honor… than being invited to speak at the commencement of
your alma mater.
Ladies and Gentlemen, I will never forget the generosity you've shown me here today.
We’re all Bruins in the heart and soul. Deep in the recesses of our hearts and souls, I bet our experiences at UCLA weren’t all
Like many of you, I also struggled to stay awake during lectures.
Like many of you, I also know what it's like to be flat broke and deep in debt.
And just like some of you, it wasn't until my SENIOR YEAR that I finally found my way to the library…
But it really doesn't matter when you enrolled or what you studied. Whether you majored in English, art history… in
anthropology, microbiology or political science…
And graduates, if you would, please rise to your feet…You're standing here today because you earned it.