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Past Commencement Speakers

President Thomas Rosenbaum

  • 2016 - Atul Gawande (surgeon, writer, and public health researcher) 
  • 2015 - Genevieve Bell (cultural anthropologist, VP of Intel)

Acting President Edward Stolper

President Jean-Lou Chameau

  • 2013 - Mary Sue Coleman (president, University of Michigan)
  • 2012 - Elon Musk (entrepreneur)
  • 2011 - Ahmed Zewail (Nobel Laureate, Caltech Professor)
  • 2010 - Charles Bolden (NASA Administrator)
  • 2009 - Steven Chu (Secretary of Energy)
  • 2008 - Robert Krulwich (science correspondent)
  • 2007 - Jared Diamond (author)

President David Baltimore

  • 2006 - David Baltimore
  • 2005 - Sandra Tsing-Loh (alumna and author/performer)
  • 2004 - Carlton Fiorina (chairman and CEO, HP)
  • 2003 - Harold Varmus (Nobel laureate; president & CEO, Memorial Sloan - Kettering Cancer Center)
  • 2002 - Alan Alda (actor)
  • 2001 - Gordon Moore (trustee)
  • 2000 - Ray Bradbury (author)
  • 1999 - Tom Brokaw (journalist)
  • 1998 - Bill Nye (The Science Guy)

President Thomas E. Everhart

  • 1997 - David Ho (trustee; AIDS researcher)
  • 1996 - Bobby Ray Inman (trustee)
  • 1995 - Mark Wrighton (alumnus; chancellor, Washington University in St. Louis)
  • 1994 - Thomas Everhart and Ruben Mettler (100th Commencement)
  • 1993 - Jewel Plummer Cobb (trustee)
  • 1992 - David Gardner (president, UC)
  • 1991 - George H. W. Bush (President of the United States)
  • 1990 - Frank Rhodes (president, Cornell)
  • 1989 - James Duderstadt (alumnus; president, University of Michigan)
  • 1988 - Robert Sinsheimer (former faculty; former chancellor, UCSC)

President Marvin L. Goldberger

  • 1987 - David Hamburg (president, Carnegie Corporation)
  • 1986 - Arnold Beckman (trustee)
  • 1985 - Ralph Landau (trustee)
  • 1984 - Thomas J. Watson, Jr. (trustee)
  • 1983 - James Michener (author)
  • 1982 - Hans W. Liepmann (faculty)
  • 1981 - Shirley Hufstedler (trustee)
  • 1980 - Murph Goldberger (president)
  • 1979 - Bruce Murray (faculty; director, JPL)

Acting President Robert Christy

  • 1978 - Max Delbruck (faculty)
  • 1977 - Lee DuBridge (president emeritus)

President Harold Brown

  • 1976 - John Knowles (president, Rockefeller Foundation)
  • 1975 - Harry Gray (faculty)
  • 1974 - Richard Feynman (faculty)
  • 1973 - no commencement speaker (Beckman stepping down as chairman)
  • 1972 - John Hogness (president, Institute of Medicine, NAS)
  • 1971 - James Fletcher (administrator, NASA)
  • 1970 - Philip Handler (president, NAS)
  • 1969 - Herbert York (professor of physics, UCSD)

President Lee DuBridge

  • 1968 - Frederick Seitz (physicist; president, Rockefeller University)
  • 1967 - Lee A. DuBridge
  • 1966 - Theodore O. Yntema (economist, University of Chicago)
  • 1965 - Frank Stanton (president, CBS)
  • 1964 - Henry T. Heald (president, Ford Foundation)
  • 1963 - John W. Gardner (president, Carnegie Corporation)
  • 1962 - Charles H. Percy (chairman, Bell & Howell)
  • 1961 - John L. Burns (president, RCA)
  • 1960 - Barnaby C. Kenney (president, Brown University)
  • 1959 - Sir Solly Zuckerman (professor of anatomy, University of Birmingham; deputy chairman, Advisory Council on Sc\ ientific Policy in Great Britain)
  • 1958 - Detkev W. Bronk (president, Rockefeller Institute for Medical Research; president, National Academy of Scien\ ces)
  • 1957 - Lee A. DuBridge
  • 1956 - Henry Allen Moe (secretary-general, John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Foundation of New York)
  • 1955 - Clarence B. Randall (president, Inland Steel Company)
  • 1954 - I. I. Rabi (Nobel laureate; professor of theoretical physics, Columbia University)
  • 1953 - Arthur S. Flemming (director, Office of Defense Mobilization)
  • 1952 - John E. Pomfret (director, Huntington Library and Art Gallery)
  • 1951 - Thomas K. Finletter (Secretary of the Air Force)
  • 1950 - Lee A. DuBridge
  • 1949 - Peter Odegard (former president, Reed College; professor of political science, UC Berkeley)
  • 1948 - Vannevar Bush (first presidential science advisor; "the patron saint of American Science")
  • 1947 - Lee A. DuBridge

Record Incomplete Prior To 1947

Chairman of the Executive Council Robert A. Millikan

  • 1940 - A. V. Hill (Foulerton Research Professor of the Royal Society)
  • 1938 - Edwin Hubble
  • 1936 - Edwin F. Gay (professor of economic history, Harvard)
  • 1935 - Thomas J. Watson, Sr. (IBM)
  • 1934 - Walter S. Adams (director, Mount Wilson Observatory)
  • 1933 - William F. Ogburn (professor of economics, University of Chicago)
  • 1925 - Willam B. Munro
  • 1924 - Henry M. Robinson (trustee)
    C. E. Gransky (president, American Society of Civil Engineers)

Pre-Caltech

  • 1916 - George S. Patton
  • 1911 - Senator Gates
  • 1902 - Rev. G. T. Dowling