First UC Merced Alum Chosen for Commencement Keynote Speech

(By Brenda Ortiz- UC Merced Communications) UC Merced is welcoming back its first alumni keynote speaker, Shavone Charles, to address December 2017 graduates at its first Fall Commencement ceremony on Dec. 16.

Charles received her bachelor’s degree from UC Merced in literature in 2012. While on campus, she helped new students navigate through their first years on campus as a member of the Success Mentor Program. She organized the first African Black Coalition conference held at UC Merced in 2012.

She participated in the UCDC program twice, and held internships at places like Google, BET Networks, Twitter, Capitol Hill and The Department of Justice.

“It’s an honor and a privilege to be the first alum to be invited to speak to UC Merced graduates at Commencement,” Charles said. “I’m thrilled to return to the campus that holds many formative moments that have positively impacted my education and career.”

After graduating, Charles spent the summer interning for Twitter. She was hired into a permanent position in music and consumer communications, where she was able to combine her passion for music and technology.

In 2015, she moved to Instagram, where she now heads global music and youth culture communications. Despite her busy schedule, Charles still makes time to return to her alma mater to provide career advice to students.

“It gives me great pride to invite one of our very own to speak at our inaugural Fall Commencement,” Chancellor Dorothy Leland said. “Shavone Charles made the journey across Scholars Lane and through the Beginnings sculpture and has launched a very successful career. She serves as an outstanding role model for our graduates.”

Eligible undergraduate and graduate students have until Nov. 9 to register to participate in the Fall Commencement ceremony at 11 a.m. Saturday, Dec. 16.

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