Dr. Keith Devlin and Dr. Gary Yee Named Commencement Speakers for Holy Names University

Holy Names University (HNU) announces the commencement speakers for its 134th graduation ceremonies. Dr. Gary D. Yee, distinguished educator and Superintendent of the Oakland Unified Schools will speak to graduate students on Friday, May 16, at 6:30 p.m. and Dr. Keith Devlin, internationally renowned mathematician from Stanford University, will address undergraduate students on Saturday, May 17, at 4:30 p.m.

Yee is an exemplary teacher and visionary leader in both public and private education in the United States, particularly in the East Bay.  The positions he has previously held include Oakland Unified School District board member, chair of HNU’s Department of Education, tenured professor of education at HNU,  tenured professor of education at St. Mary’s College of California, assistant professor at Boston College, and vice chancellor for Peralta Community Colleges.  As a master teacher, educational reformer, and effective administrator, Yee has influenced generations of teachers and students.

Devlin is co-founder and executive director of Stanford University’s Human-Sciences and Technologies Advanced Research Institute, a co-founder of Stanford Media X university-industry research partnership program, and a senior researcher in the Center for the Study of Language and Information.  Since 1996, as “The Math Guy” on NPR’s Talk of the Nation: Science Friday, Devlin has been called upon to translate the most complex subjects into clear language for listeners of all ages. Using examples and experiences from learner’s daily lives, like riding a bike and playing video games, Devlin explains mathematical theorems and concepts to people of all ages and levels of knowledge.

On behalf of HNU, President William J. Hynes, PhD will bestow an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Humane Letters to both Dr. Devlin and Dr. Yee. The ceremonies will also include the awarding of an Honorary Degree of Doctor of Humane Letters to James P. Kelly in recognition of his long-time service and support of HNU.  “Jim embodies the integrity, wisdom, business acumen, and altruism toward his community and HNU that we wish all our graduates to exemplify.  Especially as a Trustee and Vice Chairman of the Board, Jim’s service has been extraordinary!” states Dr. Hynes.

James A. Vohs and Andrea Brearcliffe Bryant ’60 will receive the President’s Medal in recognition of their significant support of the core values of Holy Names University.

Vohs is the former president, chairperson, and CEO of the Kaiser Permanente Foundation Health Plan and Hospitals.

“For four decades, Jim Vohs has made outstanding contributions to the growth and development of the university, first as a Regent, then as a Trustee, and finally as the first lay chairperson of the board. His personal values mirror the mission and goals of HNU.  When Jim retired from Kaiser, the Board of Kaiser Permanente made a gift of $250,000 to HNU in his honor to be used for scholarships, knowing that this would mean more to him than anything else they might do. He has taken a personal interest in each of the students who has received one of these scholarships.  As an active member of the Advancement Committee, Jim Vohs’ wise leadership has guided HNU through many campaigns and helped us initiate our first comprehensive campaign,” Dr. Hynes said.

A third generation Californian, Andrea Bryant graduated from Holy Names College in 1960 with a Bachelor of Arts in Philosophy and History of Art.  Her commitment to civic engagement and social responsibility has helped nonprofit organizations for more than 50 years. She is the secretary/treasurer for the La Casa De Esperanza Foundation, sits on the Sharon Lynne Wilson Center for the Arts Visual Art Program Committee, and is a member of the Back Stage Society. Other recent activities include working with the Milwaukee Art Museum’s Acquisition Collection Committee, Legacy Society, Annual Campaign Committee, Fine Arts Society, and the Milwaukee Art Museum Garden Club.  She recently retired after serving nine years on the Waukesha County Community Foundation Board of Directors.

“Andrea has joyfully helped to build up the common good for the benefit of everyone.  She has made her alma mater proud by her outstanding contributions to the growth and development of her local community and HNU.  It is an honor to present this award to recognize the outstanding contributions of these two eminent individuals,” Dr. Hynes said.

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