Commencement 2021 Speaker and Honorary Degree Recipient

Commencement 2021 Speaker and Honorary Degree Recipient




Saturday, May 8, 2021, 10:00 – 11: 30 a.m.

Keynote by

Stefanie Tompkins, Ph.D., Director,

Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA)

May 3, 2021, Washington, DC—The University of the District of Columbia (UDC) will hold its annual Commencement Ceremony on Saturday, May 8, 2021, from 10:00 a.m. – 11:30 a.m.  The hybrid ceremony will include live-streamed/limited in-person activity from the Washington Convention Center along with recorded portions that will be viewed by graduating students, family, friends, and the larger community.  Former Secretary Johnson will be in person to receive his honorary doctor of laws degree from UDC President Ronald Mason, Jr.  Ms. Shaneil McKenzie, Class of 2021, will offer reflections on behalf of the graduates.

Jeh JohnsonJohnson is being recognized for his contributions to our nation as a public servant through a range of leadership positions, including serving as General Counsel of both the U.S. Department of the Air Force and of the Department of Defense, before ascending to the role of Secretary of Homeland Security.  Appointed by former President Barack Obama, Johnson’s role called for intellect, strength, and compassion on the national and international stage, crafting and implementing policies and practices to address various problems.  He helped frame the U.S.’s response to immigration, natural disasters, the Ebola disease, besides threats from terrorism, to name just a few of the critical issues he faced during his tenure.  He also helped co-author the report that led to the repeal of “Don’t Ask/Don’t Tell” for gay individuals serving in the military.  He is currently a partner in the law firm of Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, LLP and continues to serve as a commentator on national and homeland security matters on ABC, CBS, NBC, PBS, MSNBC, FOX, CNN, CNBC, NPR, Bloomberg TV, and other news networks.

Stefanie Tompkins, Ph.D., Director, Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA)Dr. Tompkins has spent much of her distinguished career leading scientists and engineers in developing new research and technology capabilities in planetary mapping, geology, and imaging spectroscopy and GPS-free navigation and optical component manufacturing.  At DARPA, she has played a critical role in identifying and accelerating breakthrough technologies for national security.  She earned a B.A. in geology and geophysics from Princeton University and an M.S. and Ph.D. in geology from Brown University. She has also served as a military intelligence officer in the U.S. Army.

You do not need to register to view the UDC Commencement, which will begin promptly at 10 a.m. on May 8.  The link for the Livestream ceremony will be posted on Friday and Saturday before the event.