U.S. Sen. Kamala Harris, D-California, is slated to deliver the commencement address at UC Berkeley’s spring 2018 graduation.
Harris, who is the second Black woman and first Indian American person to be elected to the U.S. Senate and has been a leading Democratic figure in politics, will be speaking in front of about 40,000 people at California Memorial Stadium on May 12, as announced Tuesday morning in a campus press release.
“I look forward to speaking to these young people who are on the verge of the next chapter of their lives and represent the future of our country,” Harris said in a statement.
While Harris herself graduated from Howard University and UC Hastings College of the Law, Harris’ parents met while in graduate school at UC Berkeley, where they were active in the Civil Rights Movement, according to the press release.
Before being elected to the U.S. Senate, Harris was attorney general of California from 2011 to 2017 and district attorney of the City and County of San Francisco from 2004 to 2011.
The Californians, a campus student group responsible for planning parts of the graduation ceremony, nominated Harris because she “embodies a lot of the ideals that the UC Berkeley campus embodies,” according to campus senior Jessica Li-Jo, president of the Californians’ Senior Class Council.
“She is very fearless and vocal, and she shares her opinions about issues in the news. And at UC and UC Berkeley, we are usually like that as well,” Li-Jo said in the press release. “We fight against any injustices that we see.”
The announcement comes as UC Berkeley celebrates its 150-year anniversary this year. Last year’s spring commencement speaker was Iranian American comedian and UC Berkeley alumnus Maz Jobrani, and the 2016 spring commencement speaker was Facebook Chief Operating Officer Sheryl Sandberg.