Mayor Villaraigosa to Speak at Commencement
Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa will be the featured commencement speaker at Occidental College’s May 18 graduation ceremony. The 10 a.m. ceremony will be in the Remsen Bird Hillside Theater on the Occidental campus.
A native of the City Terrace section of East Los Angeles, Villaraigosa, 55, was sworn in as the 41st mayor of Los Angeles in 2005 – the city’s first Latino mayor in 135 years. His long history of community service began when he was a teenager when he served as a volunteer for the farm workers’ movement. Villaraigosa later worked as an organizer for Los Angeles teachers and is a past president of the Los Angeles chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union and the American Federation of Government Employees.
The mayor’s formal political career began in 1994 when he was elected to the California State Assembly. In 1998, his colleagues elected him the first Assembly Speaker from Los Angeles in 25 years. As speaker, Villaraigosa oversaw many important state initiatives including the modernization of public schools and the toughest assault weapons ban in the country. In 2003, he won the 14th District Los Angeles City Council seat, representing Occidental and much of Northeast Los Angeles. A Democrat, Villaraigosa is widely admired for his ability to create and support bipartisan alliances.
Villaraigosa is a graduate of UCLA and the People’s College of Law. He received an honorary degree from Occidental in 2006.
A nationally recognized, highly selective college of the liberal arts and sciences – one of the few located in a major city – 121-year-old Occidental is at the forefront of interdisciplinary, intercultural education. With just over 1,800 students drawn from 45 states and 22 countries and a variety of backgrounds, Occidental’s mission is to provide a gifted and diverse group of students with a total educational experience of the highest quality.