Sociology Commencement 2017

The 2017 Sociology Commencement will be held on Sunday , May 14, 2017, at 8:45 a.m. in Zellerbach Auditorium. The ceremony will last about 2 hours and will be followed by a reception on the Mezzanine level above the lobby, where light refreshments will be served. Due to seating capacity restrictions, guest admission to the ceremony and reception is by invitation only, and all guests will need a ticket to enter Zellerbach. Summer 2016, Fall 2016, Spring 2017, Summer 2017 & Fall 2017 graduates are welcome to participate.

Keynote speaker:  Alma Hernández-Executive Director for SEIU California

Alma Hernández is the Executive Director for SEIU California, an organization dedicated to electing candidates and passing policies that benefit SEIU’s 700,000 members and their families in California. SEIU represents janitors, home care workers, social workers, professors, school workers, health care workers, and city, county, and state workers. It is the largest labor union in the state and has been a powerful political voice in California for working people. Ms. Hernández is the first Latina to occupy the role of Executive Director.


Ms. Hernández’ life path is truly a story of the California Dream. Her parents immigrated to California from Mexico in search of a better future for themselves and their family and worked in the fields of Central California before finding other work in the Central Valley’s agricultural sector.  She often helped her parents work in the fields, like countless other children of farmworkers. In addition to working in the fields, Ms. Hernandez fondly recalls learning the art of negotiation with her mother as they set up shop on the weekends in the Central Valley’s swap meets.


Ms. Hernández attended public schools in Keyes, California, and her mother pushed her to study hard. She did - and went on to graduate from UC Berkeley majoring in Rhetoric and Political Science.  Her political and organizing skills were sharpened through her leadership of MeCHA during her time at Berkeley.


From an early age, she was fascinated with politics and government and immediately after college, she spent 5 years as a staff person in the California legislature. Since then she has worked as a lobbyist in Sacramento and a manager on numerous California campaigns. She joined SEIU in 2010 and is inspired on behalf of her parents and family to further the mission of the union to provide dignity and a voice for working people. Prior to her appointment as Executive Director, she served the organization as Political Director, building the organization's field capacity, running independent expenditure campaigns, and helping SEIU lead the state in building the political political power of the new California majority: Latino, African American, and API voters.


Ms. Hernández is married and has two children, 7 and 9 years old.



Registration: Registration is required for all participants.  

Undergraduate students, click here

Graduate students, click here

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