130th Commencement celebrates Class of 2024

three image collage of doctor mae jemison speaking at the podium

Dr. Mae Jemison, engineer, physician, educator, retired NASA astronaut and first woman of color in the world to travel into space, delivers distinguished keynote address

Dr. Jemison made history on Sept. 12, 1992, as the first woman of color to travel to space, when she and her six crewmates on the Space Shuttle Endeavor (STS-47) launched from Cape Canaveral, Florida. She was a science specialist on the shuttle, which made 127 orbits around the Earth in eight days.

The theme of choices was woven throughout Dr. Jemison's commencement address at the May 17, 2024, ceremony as she encouraged graduates to stay courageous in their work because the field of education has such an impact on the future; and to remember their connectedness to the earth and each other.

Quoting her mother, Dorothy Jemison, she said, "helping each student to truly achieve their own level of excellence must be the objective of all educators. To merely offer the goal to be number one is foolish. Everyone cannot be number one, and it fails to demand the best of everyone, even those who are number one.

"This is one of the things that I believe in, and I've taken with me all the time. ... As living creatures, we're both tenacious and fragile. So I want to make sure that your choices and actions are imbued and steeped in that understanding.

"We're tenacious and fragile. Actions in the past have created our world today. But the beauty is that our actions we take today will create our world tomorrow. Our actions are anchored in our fears, knowledge, loves, hope, faith, experiences, resources, skills, access, capabilities, and what makes us happy. ... The trick is to continue to grow to be the person you want to be, not the job you want, the person you want to be."

Read Dr. Jemison's full remarks, and watch this recording of Dr. Jemison's speech (begins at 35:20). 

Student Speakers

E D D student Olufemi Ogundele speaking at the podium

Olufemi “Femi” Ogundele (he/him/his), EdD

Ogundele, who is UC Berkeley's Associate Vice Chancellor of Admissions & Enrollment, delivered remarks as a representative of BSE's doctoral students. He earned his doctorate in Education (EdD) through the Leaders for Equity and Democracy (LEAD) program.

"Our faculty challenged us not to, not to get mad, but to get to work. To pour into the literature, find the solutions and remember the power that we hold and the ability to put them into practice. We were challenged by our faculty and by each other to do what Baynard Rustin called become angelic troublemakers and take what we know and we are learning and put it into practice.

"We leaned into the words of bell hooks, who said, `the academy is not paradise, but learning is a place where paradise can be created.' ...

"Leading is not what we do. It is who we are. It is our calling. Let's never confuse movement with progress and always continue to push to make education better because we know how many hopes and dreams are relying on us to fix the systems, just to give them a chance. And when the times get hard and the mountains feel steep, when the wind is in your wings beginning to blow and swirl in all of the directions, just remember that turbulence is the price we pay for flying high."

Read Ogundele's full remarks, or watch this recording of Ogundele's speech.

Aimee Eagle who earned her master's degree plus teaching credential speaking at the podium

Aimee Eagle, MA plus teaching credential

Eagle delivered her remarks as a representative of master's degree students. She earned her master's in Education plus teaching credential through BSE's Berkeley Teacher Education Program (BTEP).

"As a teacher, I constantly bridge. I bridge students to school, families to their students, learning new content to background knowledge, languages to other languages. But I can only be this bridge, one that can transcend hardship and stay strong enough for others to cross, unless I have traced the path and memorized the route on the bridge to my own power. ...

"I want to be able to nudge (students) a little closer to taking the first step over open water. Who helped you draw the blueprints for your bridge? Which person held your hand as you crossed it for the first time? Who passed you the tools you needed to rebuild your bridge after a storm? The bridge our students must be the bridge to their own power.

"So ground yourself and reach out until you've reinforced every piece of a child's wavering bridge. Hold the hand of every child as they cross their bridge to their own becoming."

Read Eagle's full remarks, or watch this recording of Eagle's speech.

Berkeley School of Education 2024 Commencement

campanile on the left youtube play button in the center text on right berkeley school of education commencement twenty twenty four

Watch a recording of the 130th Commencement on the Berkeley Events YouTube channel.


Questions about commencement? Send an email to bsecommencement@berkeley.edu.