Ceremony Speakers
105th Annual Commencement Exercises
Saturday, May 14, 2016
Stan Sheriff Center

Undergraduate Degree Ceremony

Brian Schatz

Hawai‘i United States Senator

U.S. Senator Brian Schatz is Hawai‘i’s senior senator and has dedicated his career to public service as a strong advocate for Hawai‘i. In the United States Senate, Schatz is recognized as a rising progressive leader, focusing on delivering federal funding for Hawai‘i, protecting our environment, improving affordability and access to higher education, and building a stronger local economy. Pragmatic, passionate, and hard-working, Senator Schatz has proven to be an effective representative for Hawai‘i, securing millions of dollars in funding for the state and working across the aisle to create more opportunities for all Americans.

Schatz serves on committees key to the future of Hawai‘i: Appropriations; Commerce, Science, and Transportation; and Indian Affairs. Before joining the Senate in 2012, Schatz served as Hawai‘i’s Lieutenant Governor, where he led the state’s clean energy efforts including the Hawai‘i Clean Energy Initiative, which has created new clean economy jobs and serves as a national model for clean energy growth. Before being elected Lieutenant Governor, for eight years Schatz was the CEO of Helping Hands Hawai‘i, one of state’s largest non-profit community social services organizations. From 1998 to 2006, Senator Schatz was a member of the State House of Representatives.

Senator Schatz was raised in Honolulu and graduated from Pomona College in 1994 with a degree in philosophy.

Advanced Degree Ceremony

Angela Davis

Activist, Scholar and Author

Through her activism and scholarship over many decades, Angela Davis has been deeply involved in movements for social justice around the world. Her work as an educator – both at the university level and in the larger public sphere – has always emphasized the importance of building communities of struggle for economic, racial, and gender justice.

Professor Davis’ teaching career has taken her to San Francisco State University, Mills College, and UC Berkeley. She also has taught at UCLA, Vassar, Syracuse University the Claremont Colleges, and Stanford University. Mostly recently she spent fifteen years at the University of California Santa Cruz where she is now Distinguished Professor Emerita of History of Consciousness – an interdisciplinary Ph.D program – and of Feminist Studies.

Angela Davis is the author of nine books and has lectured throughout the United States as well as in Europe, Africa, Asia, Australia, and South America. In recent years a persistent theme of her work has been the range of social problems associated with incarceration and the generalized criminalization of those communities that are most affected by poverty and racial discrimination. She draws upon her own experiences in the early seventies as a person who spent eighteen months in jail and on trial, after being placed on the FBI’s “Ten Most Wanted List.” She also has conducted extensive research on numerous issues related to race, gender and imprisonment. Her recent books include Abolition Democracy and Are Prisons Obsolete? about the abolition of the prison industrial complex, a new edition of Narrative of the Life of Frederick Douglass, and a collection of essays entitled The Meaning of Freedom. Her most recent book of essays, called Freedom Is a Constant Struggle: Ferguson, Palestine, and the Foundations of a Movement, was published in February 2016.

Angela Davis is a founding member of Critical Resistance, a national organization dedicated to the dismantling of the prison industrial complex. Internationally, she is affiliated with Sisters Inside, an abolitionist organization based in Queensland, Australia that works in solidarity with women in prison.

Like many educators, Professor Davis is especially concerned with the general tendency to devote more resources and attention to the prison system than to educational institutions. Having helped to popularize the notion of a “prison industrial complex,” she now urges her audiences to think seriously about the future possibility of a world without prisons and to help forge a 21st century abolitionist movement.

Undergraduate Degree Ceremony

Jaisa Minor

Student speaker

Jaisa S. Minor is a finance and international business double major from Atlanta, GA. She is a Gates Millennium Scholar and member of Beta Gamma Sigma and Golden Key International Honour Society. During her time in Shidler College of Business, she has represented University of Hawaii at Manoa as an intern at The Boeing Company and Merrill Lynch, solidifying her interest in a career as a financial analyst. However, the opportunity she has cherished most is serving as a mentor for Big Brothers Big Sisters and being able to have a positive impact on the life of her amazing Little Sister.

In addition to being a student at the University of Hawaii at Manoa, Jaisa considers herself a student of life, and she strongly believes in the importance of seizing the opportunity to learn from others. She is an avid reader and passionate traveler who is always looking for a new adventure. After graduation, she plans to make the most of her remaining time in Honolulu before moving to New York City with her husband in 2017 to start a career in socially responsible investment and community development. Her ultimate dream is to found a school that provides holistic education for future generations.

Honorable Mention - Dwayne Karlo Manzanillo