2018 Pardee RAND Commencement and Alumni Weekend

Pardee RAND awarded 31 doctoral degrees in policy analysis and 32 master's degrees at its 2018 Commencement ceremony on June 16, 2018. More than 230 people attended the ceremony. A total of 44 alumni participated in the weekend's events. It was terrific seeing the extended Pardee RAND community come together to honor our most recent graduates.

Grads, students, and alumni kicked off the weekend at Mariasol on the Santa Monica Pier

Photo by Maria Martin/RAND Corporation

Festivities kicked off at Thursday's alumni and student mixer. On Friday, the school hosted a panel and demonstration of its efforts to date to reinvent itself for the 21st century and beyond. The evening's activities included a celebratory dinner for alumni, graduating students, and other members of the Pardee RAND community. The dinner featured the presentation of the fourth Alumni Leadership Award to Sharon Arnold (cohort '85).

Dean Susan Marquis opened Saturday's Commencement ceremony by remarking, "Each of our new graduates, your work is to question but also to do. It is in the doing that you are able to build up rather than tear down and leverage the rich resources of technology and of communities to find new solutions, strengthening and creating institutions that are the foundation for building our families and society, whether in our neighborhoods or across the globe. By calling on your new skills and your long-held talents, through word and action, and with love and patience, you will surely help build a better world."

RAND president and CEO Michael D. Rich followed the Dean's remarks with his own comments, noting "To our graduates: Congratulations! You have completed a program of remarkable breadth and rigor. Each of us feels a special pride in you as well as great confidence that you will accomplish important things in the years to come."

John Seely Brown presents the Commencement keynote address

Photo by Diane Baldwin/RAND Corporation

Innovator John Seely Brown then presented the keynote speech, telling the graduates, "You are graduating at an amazing time. Here at RAND and the Pardee RAND Graduate School you have been exposed to some of the most important thinking of our time. You have had the opportunity to intersect with the kind of edge thinking that drives innovation in public policy. You have worked with powerful tools in this domain — some of which were invented here at RAND — tools that help us better understand extremely complicated situations to help make a safer, healthier and more educated world. Said simply, the world needs the skills you have honed here. Now, more than ever!”

Zhimin Mao (cohort '11), Olena Bogdan ('12), Lauren Kendrick ('12), and Bonnie Triezenberg ('14) also received graduate awards from the faculty, while students John Hamm ('15) and Rachel Perera ('16) presented the Huddleson Teaching Award to Troy Smith, Molly Selvin and Phil Armour.

In his graduate address, Timothy Smith ('13) noted, "In our time at RAND we have developed a compass heading that points towards intellectual rigor and objective analysis, and we have become comfortable staying true to that heading. I believe it is that skillset which is the true value of a RAND degree.

"But for all of us, as we extend our reach beyond these walls, the challenge is only beginning," Smith continued. "The world we live in is changing before our eyes, becoming increasingly interconnected and polarized. In the process, it is creating a whole host of particularly prickly policy issues. Our time at RAND has armed us with the skillset to contribute to these challenges in a meaningful way, and this is both a great gift and great responsibility."