Best known for his humorous and insightful ¡Ask a Mexican! column at OC Weekly, Arellano has also become an authority on Orange County history (his book Orange County: A Personal History received critical accolades).
The College of Letters and Science commencement speech is the school's most prestigious graduation keynote slot and often draws big names. (Last year actor James Franco pulled out after students argued that he wasn't intellectual enough for the gig).
"Gustavo Arellano is a keen observer of life in America -- in particular the culture and diversity of Southern California," states Judith L. Smith, dean and vice provost for undergraduate education in the UCLA College of Letters and Science. "He explores today's issues of diversity and ethnicity with incisive commentary and a sharp wit that punches holes in traditional thinking about race and stereotypes."
Arellano's comments will be delivered to about 3,400 students at UCLA's Drake Stadium on June 11.