UCLA chancellor Gene D. Block, who took the helm of the university just nine months ago, will be the speaker at the Santa Monica College (SMC) 78th commencement exercises Tuesday, June 10th.

About 600 students are expected to receive their Associate of Arts degrees at the ceremony, scheduled for 6 p.m. at Corsair Field, 1900 Pico Blvd. in Santa Monica.

This is the first commencement address Block is giving since taking his post at UCLA.

“We are honored that Chancellor Block will address our graduates,” said SMC President Dr. Chui L. Tsang. “His willingness to be our speaker reinforces a long and strong relationship SMC has had with UCLA, virtually ever since we opened our doors in 1929, the same year UCLA began classes at its current Westwood campus.

“UCLA has always been a major destination of our transfer students and we have worked hard to prepare them for the academic challenges they receive at UCLA.”

Block added, “The caliber of transfer students we receive from Santa Monica College is impressive, and I know that our two institutions share a long history.

“I am honored to be asked to speak and I look forward to being on the campus and to meeting faculty, as well as students and their families.”

Block became chancellor of UCLA in August. The university has 37,000 students and 27,000 faculty and staff, with an annual budget of $3.8 billion. As chief executive officer, he oversees all aspects of the university’s three-part mission of education, research and service.

A biologist, Block holds faculty appointments in psychiatry and bio-behavioral sciences in the David Geffen School of Medicine and in physiological science in the College of Letters and Science. He also oversees a lab in neurobiology funded by the National Institutes of Health.

Block previously served as vice president and provost of the University of Virginia.

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