June 9, 2009

Delson to replace Franco as UCLA speaker

Linkin Park's lead guitarist Brad Delson has agreed to speak at UCLA's commencement ceremony after actor James Franco backed out, university officials said.

Delson, a UCLA graduate who earned a bachelor's degree in communication studies in 1999, is scheduled to give a speech at Friday's graduation ceremony for the College of Letters and Science, The Los Angeles Times reported.

Brad Delson is not only an innovative musician, but he is also a social activist who is committed to change through education, Judith L. Smith, dean and vice provost for undergraduate education in the UCLA College of Letters and Science, said in a statement.

Franco, who graduated in 2008 with a degree in creative writing, last week told the university he would not be able to speak at the graduation ceremony as planned because he has to be in Ireland to work on his new movie.

The Times quoted Franco's publicist as saying the star of Milk and Pineapple Express, as well as the Spider-Man blockbusters, did not bow out because of an Internet protest criticizing his selection as a commencement speaker.