Michael Tubbs, once the youngest mayor of a major American city, to address UArizona graduates at Commencement

Michael Tubbs

Michael Tubbs became the youngest mayor of Stockton, California, at 26 years old in 2016. He was also the city's first African American mayor. He is now special adviser to California Gov. Gavin Newsom for economic mobility and opportunity.

Michael Tubbs –  who at 26 years old became the youngest mayor of a major U.S. city when he was elected to office in Stockton, California – will deliver the University of Arizona Commencement address on May 12.

Tubbs' election in 2016 also made him the city's first African American mayor. He is now special adviser to California Gov. Gavin Newsom for economic mobility and opportunity. Tubbs is also the founder of the organizations Mayors for a Guaranteed Income, End Poverty in California and Tubbs Ventures, an investment firm.

"It is an absolute honor to share in the joy and the accomplishments of the Class of 2023," Tubbs said. "I didn't graduate too long ago, and I look forward to providing hard-earned insights on charting your own path and working to make change as the graduates seek to do the same."

As mayor, Tubbs raised more than $20 million dollars to create Stockton Scholars, a universal scholarship and mentorship program for Stockton students. He also established the first mayor-led guaranteed income pilot program in the country, called the Stockton Economic Empowerment Demonstration, which gave $500 each to 125 people in Stockton between 2019 and 2021.

Under Tubbs' leadership, Stockton was named an "All-America City" in 2017 and 2018 by the National Civic League. The city saw a 40% drop in homicides between 2018 and 2019 and led the state of California in the decline of officer-involved shootings in 2019. During Tubbs' time as mayor, Stockton was named the second most fiscally healthy city in California and one of the most fiscally healthy cities in the nation.

Tubbs' election and time as mayor were the focus of the HBO documentary "Stockton on My Mind."

"Michael Tubbs will inspire our graduates to pursue their hopes and dreams, just as he has done," said University of Arizona President Robert C. Robbins. "We are honored to have him with us at this year's Commencement to share his story and message that will galvanize the class of 2023 to use their time and lessons from the university to serve others and make the world a better place."

Tubbs has been named a fellow at the Harvard Institute of Politics and the MIT Media Lab. He was also named one of Fortune's Top 40 under 40 and a Forbes 30 under 30 All-Star Alumni. He was recognized as the Most Valuable Mayor by The Nation and received the 2019 New Frontier Award from the JFK Library and the 2021 Civic Leadership Award from The King Center. Prior to his tenure as mayor, Tubbs served as a councilmember for the city of Stockton District 6, a high school educator, and a fellow for the Stanford Design School and the Emerson Collective. 

Tubbs is the author of "The Deeper The Roots: A Memoir of Hope and Home," which the Los Angeles Times describes as "intimate and insightful." It not only relates Tubbs' story of growing up in poverty but lays out a vision for leadership and policy that is more empathetic and responsive to people who are struggling.

Commencement will take place May 12 at 7:30 p.m. at Arizona Stadium.

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