Alumnus George Takei announced as speaker for virtual commencement ceremony
Actor George Takei to speak at UCLA’s virtual graduation. (Jintak Han/Daily Bruin)
By David Gray
May 14, 2020 5:18 p.m.
Actor and activist George Takei will speak at UCLA’s virtual commencement ceremony June 12.
Takei, a two-time UCLA graduate, is well known for his role as Hikaru Sulu in “Star Trek” and has appeared in a number of other films and TV shows. Takei has also taken an active role in advocating for LGTBQ+ rights and social justice.
The ceremony, which will celebrate UCLA’s centennial class, will be the first commencement at the university to be held entirely online – a precaution against the coronavirus pandemic. Takei will speak alongside Chancellor Gene Block, a student speaker and others at the ceremony. A second in-person ceremony will take place sometime in the 2020-2021 school year when it is safe to do so, according to a university news release.
UCLA’s decision to move commencement celebrations entirely online sparked controversy in March, as some students demanded the ceremony be delayed rather than held virtually. In response, Block apologized and said the university would reconsider plans for commencement.
The 2020 Commencement Committee, made up of students, faculty and administrators, asked Takei to be the keynote speaker prior to the coronavirus pandemic and UCLA’s shift to online.
Takei has been involved in representing his alma mater before. He spoke with other notable alumni in September at a UCLA event in downtown Los Angeles as part of the university’s centennial celebration.
Takei graduated from UCLA with bachelor’s and master’s degrees in 1960 and 1964, respectively.