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Graduation Celebration Brings Kal Penn to Downtown Arlington

By Travis Merrell

University of Texas at Arlington will welcome Kal Penn—an actor, producer and political activist—for the 2013 Graduation Celebration. 

Free and open to the public, the event will take place at 7:30 p.m. on May 10 at the Levitt Pavilion in Downtown Arlington.

In addition to the keynote address by Penn, the event will feature free food, live music and brief remarks by retiring UTA President James D. Spaniolo and Rene Grimes, representative of the UTA class of 2013.

The night will end with a grand finale of fireworks. 

Penn’s discussion will show how new graduates can apply their critical thinking skills to discern amongst the many information and media sources they will be exposed to in their post-college life, said Amy Schultz, vice president of communications and community relations at UTA.

UTA officials invited Penn to speak at the 2013 Graduation Celebration for the inspiration and impact he has in the worlds of entertainment and politics. 

According to, Penn is recognized for his starring roles on the television shows House and 24, as well as the Harold and Kumar films. Later he became associate director at the White House Office of Public Engagement.

His level of success in his career and in higher education will enlighten the class of 2013 to move forward with their career goals.

“Kal’s remarks will really resonate with the graduating class,” Schultz said.

For each Graduation Celebration, Schultz said, UTA officials look for a keynote speaker who is an advocate for higher education, who has achieved a level of success his/her career, and who can inspire and entertain the graduating class and other attendees.

Graduation Celebration is an annual event held during May commencement weekend in celebration of UTA’s graduating class. All May, August and December grads and their families and friends are welcome.

Previous UTA Graduation Celebration speakers include actor, filmmaker and author James Franco; musician John Legend; and former First Lady Laura Bush.