2024 Commencement Recap

May 12, 2024

The Class of 2024 received their diplomas during Pomona College’s 131st Commencement Exercises on Sunday, May 12, 2024 at the historic Shrine Auditorium.

Former chief justice of California Tani Cantil-Sakauye, economist and nonprofit leader Cecilia Conrad, Occidental College President Harry Elam and medical geneticist Emil Kakkis ’82 delivered speeches to the graduates and received honorary degrees. Read more about the honorary degree recipients.

In addition, President G. Gabrielle Starr provided a Charge to the Class of 2024, while Zaid Al Zoubi '24, senior class president, Mohamad Alkhatib '24, senior class speaker, and John Paul Ferrantino '24, class day speaker, addressed the audience.

Tani Cantil-Sakauye

Cantil-Sakauye is president and CEO of the Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC), a nonprofit, nonpartisan think tank that works to improve public policy in California through independent, objective, nonpartisan research.

Cecilia Conrad

Conrad is founder and chief executive officer of Lever for Change and senior advisor at the MacArthur Foundation. Lever for Change helps donors find high impact philanthropic opportunities and has helped distribute more than $1.7 billion for social good, supporting some 145 organizations and tackling issues like racial inequity, gender inequality, access to economic opportunity and climate change. Conrad is an emerita professor of economics with Pomona College, joining the faculty in 1995 and retiring in 2013. At Pomona, she also served as vice president for academic affairs and dean of the college and later as acting president.

Harry Elam

Elam is the 16th president of Occidental College. During his tenure, he has positioned Occidental as a cutting-edge liberal arts institution and demonstrated visionary leadership in complex national higher education issues today. He completed the most successful comprehensive campaign in the College’s history, created Occidental’s first strategic plan in over a decade, and led myriad transformative initiatives to advance the College’s renown for education that values social impact.

Emil Kakkis ’82

Kakkis is the chief executive officer and president of Ultragenyx. Known for his work to develop treatments for rare and ultra-rare disorders, Kakkis has identified or developed 11 approved treatments for rare genetic diseases.