LMU Newsroom

Renowned playwright and actress Anna Deavere Smith will be the undergraduate commencement speaker at Loyola Marymount University on Saturday, May 6, at 9:30 a.m. in the Sunken Garden.

Smith is best known for her one-woman shows, such as Fires in the Mirror and Twilight: Los Angeles, which dealt with the 1992 Los Angeles Riots and won the Drama Desk Award for Outstanding One-Person Show. As an actress, she is best known for playing National Security Advisor Dr. Nancy McNally on NBC’s The West Wing and hospital administrator Gloria Akalitus on Showtime’s Nurse Jackie.

She is a 1996 recipient of the MacArthur “genius grant” fellowship. She also received the 2012 National Humanities Medal from President Obama, the 2013 Dorothy and Lillian Gish Prize, and was named the 2015 Jefferson Lecturer by the National Endowment for the Humanities.

LAUSD Superintendent Michelle King will address the graduate commencement, which is scheduled for 10 a.m. on Sunday, May 7.

King was appointed as superintendent of California’s largest and the nation’s second-largest school district last January, serving more than 700,000 students, 26,000 teachers and 33,000 employees with an annual budget of over $7 billion.

A veteran educator and alumna of LAUSD schools, King leads the district after a nearly 30-year career, which she began as a teacher’s aide in 1978. She has also worked as an LAUSD teacher, coordinator, assistant principal, principal, and chief deputy superintendent.

More than 1,400 Bachelor of Science and Bachelor of Arts degrees will be conferred at the Saturday ceremony, and more than 700 graduate degrees will be conferred on Sunday. Both commencement ceremonies will be streamed live at www.lmu.edu.