UCSD alumnus Dileep Rao of ‘Avatar,’ ‘Inception’ fame kicks off anniversary celebration
UCSD alumnus and actor Dileep Rao, who played key roles in the blockbuster movies “Avatar” and “Inception,” is helping the campus kick off its 50th anniversary celebration.
A 1995 graduate of UCSD, Rao will serve as keynote speaker at the Welcome Week Convocation and Dinner tonight (Sept. 21). The inaugural academic event of the year marks the formal entrance of new students into the university community.
From September 2010 through June 2011, UCSD will celebrate 50 years of historic milestones, remarkable achievements and innovative firsts with a variety of events.
“Fifty years ago, the founders of the University of California, San Diego had one criterion for the campus — it must be distinctive,” said Chancellor Marye Anne Fox.
“This year’s convocation will welcome new students into our community of young scholars and mark UC San Diego’s milestone celebration of achieving the extraordinary in education, research, innovation and patient care.”
Rao will address some 5,000 incoming freshmen and transfer students at Convocation. Other speakers include Chancellor Marye Anne Fox, Associated Student President Wafa Ben Hassine and UC San Diego alumnus Rachel York, daughter of founding Chancellor Herbert York.
Rao can currently be seen on the big screen as scientist Max Patel in “Avatar,” which was just re-released in theatres, and in the role of Yusef in “Inception,” starring Leonardo DiCaprio. He graduated with a B.A. in political science and discovered a passion for acting after enrolling in several of the university’s theatre classes. Rao has been working steadily in the theatre and film industry for almost a decade and had feature roles in three notable movies in the past year, all directed by leading filmmakers.
“As a proud alumnus, I’m honored to address UC San Diego’s new students,” he said.”UC San Diego has a lot to celebrate this anniversary year. The university was founded with a strong commitment to science, but the college’s arts and humanities and social sciences departments are incredibly strong with exceptional faculty, some of whom greatly impacted my life.” Rao added, “The theater department is one of the best in the country. I got to take the highest level of acting classes as an undergraduate.”
Steven Adler, a former professor of Rao and co-chair of the campus Convocation Committee, noted, “We’re thrilled that Dileep is taking this opportunity to connect with UC San Diego’s new students and provide an intelligent and passionate welcome to our community of young scholars. He is a very smart and articulate speaker with a great sense of humor and deep convictions about both the power of an education and his own experiences at UC San Diego.”
Convocation is the first event launching UC San Diego’s 50th Anniversary, which will officially conclude June 17 to 19, 2011 with Alumni Weekend and Celebration. On Sept. 26, UC San Diego staff, students, alumni and friends are invited to celebrate the 50th Anniversary with UCSD Day at the Padres. Chancellor Fox will be throwing out the first pitch of the game and a video played in the stadium will commemorate the university.
The public also is invited to join in celebrating the university’s landmark anniversary at these signature events:
November 13, 2010—Celebrate50
Expect an evening of the unexpected. More than 700 UC San Diego community supporters and leaders will attend a reception and dinner to experience—through music, environment and images—the historic events and people that marked the university’s transformation from ship to shore. Tickets are $250 per person.
November 18, 2010—Founders’ Day
Celebrating 50 extraordinary years! Founders’ Day will celebrate and commemorate the date—November 18, 1960—on which documents were signed to establish officially the University of California, San Diego. This free public event, which will honor the history and traditions of UC San Diego, will take place in the heart of campus at Town Square. KFMB-TV News 8 anchor Dan Cohen will serve as Master of Ceremonies.
February 22-25, 2011—IDEaS (Innovation Day Expo and Symposia)
Engage and network with leading innovators. IDEaS features a week of high-profile events for the campus and community highlighting the exciting innovation happening at UC San Diego. The Innovation Symposia takes place Feb. 22 to 24; on Feb. 25, UC San Diego will host an engaging expo featuring live demonstrations, hands-on exhibits and face-to-face interaction with the innovators themselves.
April 16, 2011—Green Open House
UC San Diego celebrates “Healthy People, Healthy Planet.” The university will reach out to the San Diego community by opening national Earth Week with a “Green” Open House, showcasing the campus as a living laboratory of green innovation. Attendees will enjoy interactive demonstrations of environmentally friendly cars, healthy living and sustainable cooking.
UCSD-TV will be broadcasting six installments of “UCSD@50″ a magazine-style program that will also air nationally on University of California Television (UCTV) and be available on channel’s websites, as well as UCTV’s iTunesU and YouTube channels. To view the series premiere, guest hosted by Chancellor Fox, and find broadcast dates for future episodes, please visit www.ucsd.tv/50th.
To learn more about UC San Diego’s 50th Anniversary including events, history and background, go to: www.50th.ucsd.edu.
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