Commencement 2011

The 2011 Department of Communication Studies commencement was held on Sunday, June 12th, in Royce Hall. 1595 guests watched in the sold-out hall as Comm Studies graduated 205 majors.  We had 71 grads elected to Phi Beta Kappa (the highest proportion of any department on campus, and more than double what we had last year!) and 19 students graduated with departmental honors.This year’s keynote speaker was Communication Studies alumnus and renowned journalist, Laura Ling (’98).  Ling held a very attentive audience spellbound as she spoke movingly about her 140-day captivity by the North Koreans and the efforts to bring her home safely.  Laura Ling also gave invaluable advice to the graduates, including personal anecdotes related to her experiences as a UCLA Comm. Studies major and encouraging words of wisdom for a successful future.  Ling is currently the host and reporter on “E! Investigates,” a documentary series on the E! Network which explores topics such as teen suicide and the challenges faced by military spouses.  Prior to joining the E! Network, Ling served as Vice President of Current TV’s journalism department and created Current’s weekly investigative documentary series “Vanguard”.  Ling also worked as a correspondent reporting on crucial issues from around the world covering subjects such as slave labor in the Amazon, Mexico’s Drug War, Internet Censorship in China, and women’s rights in Turkey.  Laura Ling and her sister, special correspondent Lisa Ling, recently wrote a highly acclaimed book, “Somewhere Inside: One Sister’s Captivity in North Korea and the Other’s Fight to Bring Her Home”. Continuing our departmental tradition, Lee Bearden was selected from a field of outstanding candidates as our student speaker.  Bearden’s speech focused on the defining characteristics of the Communication Studies major, the importance of communication in all facets of life, and the value of appreciating the little details that comprise our lives.  Following graduation, Bearden embarked on a whirlwind summer vacation of reuniting with family, traveling across Europe, and helping a certain younger sister move into USC (yes he has frequent nightmares about it). With summer ending, it’s finally beginning to dawn on him that college is over, no more finals or unruly dorm residents to worry about. He is now looking for a challenging, dynamic career possibly in the nonprofit sector to pursue. Thanks to all who helped make Commencement 2011 a great success, and congratulations to the Class of 2011!