Grad speakers announced
Posted May 19, 2006

Alexandra Lozano
Staff Writer

This year’s spring commencement ceremonies will feature University of La Verne Board of Trustees member Myrna Long Wheeler; Dean of the College of Educational and Organizational Leadership Leonard Pellicer; host of KPCC-FM’s “Air Talk” Larry Mantle; author and peace activist Azim N. Khamisa; and U.S. Army Major General Retired William K. Suter.

Wheeler, a La Verne College alumna from 1960, will speak at the College of Arts and Sciences commencement ceremony.

In addition to teaching in the Covina Valley School District for 37 years, Wheeler is also active in the La Verne community.

Wheeler was commissioner of the city of La Verne Parks and Human Services as well as former president of the Friends of La Verne Library Board and the Pomona Branch of the American Association of University Women.

Wheeler received the Centennial Medal award in 1991, Alumni of the Year in 1993 and the Excellence in Teaching Award at the 2002 Education Department’s Diamond Jubilee.

“We can relate to her,” said Ian Linares, a senior business major graduating next semester.

Dean of College of Education and Organizational Leadership Leonard Pellicer agreed.

“I think she’s an amazing woman and a wonderful role-model,” Pellicer said.

Khamisa, an international investment banker, adviser and consultant, will be Speaking at the College of Business and Public Management ceremony. He is the founder of the Tariq Khamisa Foundation, an organization focused on preventing youth violence. Khamisa is also the author of “Azim’s Bardo – A Father’s Journey from Murder to Forgiveness.”

Junior business major Patrick Mottola is surprised at the commencement ceremony speaker. He believes there is “a lot to learn from someone who’s been there.”

“There’s a direct relationship between the business student and the business man,” Mottola said. “I actually didn’t know who he was.”
Linares disagreed.

“He seems like a pretty amazing person, but he’s not familiar at all,” Linares said.

Linares said he preferred to see either an alumni or someone famous speak at his commencement ceremony.

“A lot of universities get a lot of pretty well-known people,” Linares said. “I’d like to see a celebrity. Celebrities would make it kind of special.”

Radio host Mantle will speak at the College of Education and Organizational Leadership commencement ceremony.

“He’s kind of a celebrity and he works really well,” Linares said. “We have a good radio program.”

Mantle has been on the air since 1985 and received many awards including a Golden Mike, Associated Press awards and the Los Angeles Press Club awards.

He is also the host of “Film Week” which is broadcasted as part of KCET’s “Life and Times.”

Pellicer will speak at the Doctoral Program in Organizational Leadership commencement ceremony.

“I look forward to it,” Pellicer said. “Graduation is my favorite time of the year. It’s nice to see people succeed.”

Pellicer is reading his speech titled “Oz Didn’t Give Nothin’ to the Tin Man” after the song “Tin Man” by the band America.

“All of us can identify with the characters,” Pellicer said. “If you remember the Wizard of Oz, along the way everyone already had what they were seeking.”

Pellicer explained that everyone could relate to the characters because everyone thinks they need something.

“What you need in life, you already have,” Pellicer said. “Just look inside.”
The doctoral ceremony will have 47 graduates and a crowd of 400 to 500 people.

“I think it’s an honor and a privilege to share ideas with people at a time like that,” Pellicer said. “I think my message is a universal message that everyone can relate to.”

This will be Pellicer’s fifth time speaking at commencement.

Pellicer was the first director of the South Carolina Educational Policy Center and had served as director of the African American Professor’s Program. He has also received the distinguished Professor’s Emeritus at the University of South Carolina.

Speaking for the College of Law commencement ceremony is Suter, Clerk of the Supreme Court of the United States.

Suter, one of the Supreme Court's four statutory officers, supervises the Supreme Court Bar and sits with the court during oral arguments. He also
provides advice to counsel and litigants.

Suter has received numerous awards including the Judge Advocates Association's John Marshall Lifetime Achievement Award, the Federal Bar Association's Kintner Award for Distinguished Service and the Chair Award for Distinguished Service.

Suter is the 19th person to hold position as Clerk of the Supreme Court.
The College of Law commencement ceremony will be held at the college of law campus.

Alexandra Lozano can be reached at

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