U.S. Rep. Karen Bass will speak to more than 60,000 fellow members of the Trojan Family when she delivers USC’s 136th commencement address May 10.

Bass joined the U.S. House of Representatives in 2011 and was sworn in as chair of the Congressional Black Caucus in January. A lifelong Angeleno and daughter of a U.S. postal worker, Bass worked as an emergency room physician assistant at Los Angeles County+USC Medical Center early in her career after graduating from the Keck School of Medicine of USC’s Physician Assistant Program.

In 1990 Bass founded the Community Coalition, an organization that works to this day to transform the social and economic conditions in South Los Angeles that foster addiction, crime, violence and poverty. It works by involving thousands in creating, influencing and changing public policy.


USC 2019 commencement speaker: L.A. to D.C.

In 2005, she was elected to the State Assembly. During her third term there, Bass became the first-ever African-American woman to be elected leader of any state legislative body. In the aftermath of the 2008 economic recession and budget crisis, Bass’ bipartisan negotiation efforts earned her the John F. Kennedy Profile in Courage Award.

Bass has represented California’s 37th Congressional District, which includes the University Park Campus, in Washington, D.C., since 2011. In addition to chairing the 55-member Black Caucus, Bass has served on the Foreign Affairs, Judiciary and Budget committees and currently chairs the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights and International Organizations as well as the House Judiciary Subcommittee on Crime, Terrorism and Homeland Security.


Alum is USC 2019 commencement speaker

She holds a Master of Social Work degree from the USC Suzanne Dworak-Peck School of Social Work and is a graduate of the Physician Assistant Program at the Keck School.

Approximately 15,000 degrees will be conferred during USC’s commencement this year, including more than 1,500 doctorate degrees, at the main ceremony in Alumni Park and satellite ceremonies across the University Park and Health Sciences campuses.

During the May 10 ceremonies, the degree candidates, Half Century Trojans, faculty and distinguished guests will form a procession leaving Bovard Auditorium at 8:30 a.m. USC interim President Wanda M. Austin will preside over the main ceremony at 9 a.m. in Alumni Park.

For more information, visit the USC commencement website.

— Ron Mackovich