Congresswoman and Black Congressional Caucus Chair Karen Bass will deliver this year’s commencement address, USC announced Thursday.
The 136th annual commencement ceremonies will take place on May 10.
Bass follows Pulitzer Prize-winning author Siddhartha Mukherjee, who spoke last year, and actor and alumnus Will Ferrell, former Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger and Disney President and CEO Bob Iger, who served as speakers in previous years.
Bass has served as a member of Congress since 2011.
“Bass was sworn in to chair the Congressional Black Caucus in January and joined the U.S. Congress in 2011,” the news release read. “A lifelong Angeleno and daughter of a U.S. postal worker, Bass served as an emergency room Physician Assistant at LAC+USC Medical Center early in her career.”
In addition to having worked at the Los Angeles County+USC Medical Center, Bass holds a graduate degree in social work from the Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work.
“As a prominent member of the Trojan Family, Congressmember Bass sets an outstanding example of leadership and public service for our graduating class,” Interim President Wanda Austin wrote in a statement to the Daily Trojan.
Bass founded the Community Coalition in South Los Angeles, an organization dedicated to influencing public policy to aid communities struggling with crime, addiction and poverty.
Bass, the recipient of the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award, was elected to represent L.A. in the State Assembly in 2005 and became the first ever African American woman elected to the state legislative body. She currently serves as the representative for California’s 37th district, which includes USC’s main campus. In Congress, Bass has served on the Foreign Affairs Committee and Judiciary Committee.
“Bass has been recognized as a coalition builder in times of economic distress and divisiveness,” Austin wrote. “She is a leader for our time and a standard bearer of USC’s ideals.”
An estimated 60,000 guests are expected to attend, according to USC News release. Approximately 15,000 degrees will be conferred during the ceremonies, which will take place at both the University Park and Health Sciences campuses.