University of Southern California President C.L. Max Nikias will be the keynote speaker at Santa Monica College’s commencement on Tuesday, June 11.
The commencement ceremonies, scheduled to begin at 6 p.m., are expected to include approximately 550 graduates, as well as the awarding of the SMC Foundation’s Distinguished Alumni Award to Nathalie Rayes, the U.S. national public relations director of Grupo Salinas. The event will be webcast live for the fourth year in a row.
“We’re honored that Dr. Nikias will be our commencement speaker,” said SMC President Dr. Chui L. Tsang. “Santa Monica College and USC have had close ties for many years, and SMC has long been the number one transfer institution to USC.”
Nikias has been recognized internationally for his research on digital signal processing, digital media systems and biomedicine. The U.S. Department of Defense has adopted a number of his innovations and patents in sonar, radar and communication systems. He has authored more than 275 journal articles and conference papers, three textbooks and eight patents, and has mentored more than 30 Ph.D. and postdoctoral scholars.
Nikias has been at USC since 1991 as a professor, director of national research centers, dean, provost and now president. He was named the university’s 11th president in August 2010.
After the ceremonies, the Alumni Association is hosting a reception on the Quad, with free hors d’oeuvres, beverages and two photo booths where pictures will be taken and uploaded on the alumni website. A compilation video will be available on the website about a week after graduation.

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