Emmy-winning journalist Diane Dwyer and astronaut Soyeon Yi named commencement speakers

South Korea’s first astronaut, Soyeon Yi, MBA 14, and Emmy award winning former broadcast journalist Diane Dwyer, BS 87, will serve as commencement speakers this May. 

Yi will speak at the Full-time and Evening & Weekend MBA commencements and Dwyer will speak at undergraduate commencement.

This year, commencement celebrations will be held virtually. The MBA commencement will take place Friday, May 21, 2021 and the undergraduate commencement will take place Saturday, May 15, 2021. Commencement celebration videos for undergraduate, Evening & Weekend, and Full-time MBA celebrations can be viewed online via Marching Order, an online platform used to host UC Berkeley’s virtual graduations.

“We’re so pleased to welcome two inspiring alumnae to address our soon-to-be graduates,” said Haas Dean Ann Harrison. “Soyeon and Diane reflect the very best of Haas and truly embody our Defining Leadership Principles.”

Soyeon Yi, MBA 14

Before coming to Berkeley, Yi spent 10 days at the International Space Station in 2008, making her South Korea’s first astronaut.  

Six years after her space mission, Yi decided to add a Berkeley MBA to her PhD in biosystems. Currently, she leads customer engagement at startup ProtoPie and works with Silicon Valley satellite startup Loft Orbital Solutions. 

Yi has lectured at the University of Washington and was recently selected to join the Karman Project 2021 Fellowship Program, which aims to foster trust and encourage collaboration among global leaders who want to positively impact space-related initiatives.

Dwyer worked as a broadcast journalist for 25 years, reporting important stories that range from the inauguration of President Bill Clinton to the Oakland Hills Firestorm.  

She started her career as an anchor and reporter at KXLF in Butte, Mont. in 1988. She joined the KTVU-Channel 2 newsroom two years later, where she launched and co-hosted the Morning Show with Ross McGowan for several years. 

Thereafter, she became the solo weekend news anchor for NBC Bay Area. Her reporting won her two Emmy awards and prestigious awards from the Associated Press and the National Academy of Radio and Television Artists. 

Dwyer is a professional faculty member at Haas who teaches a course called Innovations in Communications and Public Relations and currently runs her own consulting business, Dwyer Media Consulting.