KGI announces President of the National Academy of Sciences as commencement speaker

A podium beneath a banner that reads "23". Four grad caps line the bottom.
(Ella Lehavi • The Student Life)

On Feb. 23, Dr. Marcia McNutt was announced as Keck Graduate Institute (KGI)’s 2023 commencement speaker. McNutt is the President of the National Academy of Sciences, a non-profit organization dedicated to “providing independent, objective advice to the nation” via science and technology, according to their mission statement. She also received the prestigious Maurice Ewing Medal in 2007 for her contributions to deep-sea exploration. 

McNutt previously served as director of the U.S. Geological Survey and as editor-in-chief of the Science journals, a news page dedicated to writing about important scientific discoveries. She currently serves as a fellow of the American Geophysical Union, the Geological Society of America, the American Association for the Advancement of Science and the International Association of Geodesy.

KGI President Sheldon Schuster remarked on the importance of having McNutt speak to the graduating class of 2023 on the institution’s 25th anniversary.

Having Dr. McNutt as our featured commencement speaker is a symbol of the importance of science, and the values of science, to not only KGI and our graduates, but to all of society,” he said.


When KGI was founded in 1997, McNutt initially served as an advisor for the institution. 

“Being an advisor when Keck first launched makes me excited to speak,” she said. “It is a chance to come full circle to see what the institution has accomplished.” 

According to Schuster, KGI’s mission is to translate “extraordinary advances” in life and health science to benefit society. The National Academy of Science, for which McNutt is president, shares this mission. 

Never before has science had the potential to solve so many of our planet’s problems, yet there is a growing and troubling distrust and lack of understanding of what science is,” Schuster said. “Dr. McNutt, as President of the National Academy of Sciences, is the most influential and prominent scientific voice in the world, so the message will be clear and authoritative.” 

Schuster hopes graduates will leave KGI understanding their potential to use science to transform the world around them. 

“It is my hope that the graduates understand the centrality of science to their future, and that they take the responsibility of not only being scientists, but also [of] being the voice of science in their communities and families,” Schuster said.

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