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At UCLA, James Franco out, Linkin Park rocker in

June 8, 2009 | 12:15 pm

Brad delson

Hollywood actor alumnus out. Rock musician alumnus in.

The word out of UCLA is that Brad Delson, lead guitarist for the hugely popular rock-rap band Linkin Park, will step in to replace movie star James Franco as commencement speaker at Friday’s graduation ceremony for the College of Letters and Science.

Delson, who earned a 1999 bachelor’s degree in communication studies from UCLA, is a prime force in the Southern California-based band that has recorded platinum-selling albums and won two Grammy Awards.

Delson also is involved in philanthropy. Linkin Park established a nonprofit organization called Music for Relief to aid victims of world catastrophes and combat global warming. And he and his wife started a UCLA scholarship fund for promising students from Huntington Park.

With just 10 days' notice, Franco last week canceled his UCLA speech, saying his filming schedule required him to be in Ireland. However, some students had been conducting an Internet protest against his selection as speaker, claiming the star of “Pineapple Express” and “Milk” had not accomplished enough in life to be a role model for graduates. As a result, some people on campus wondered whether Franco was trying to avoid a controversy, something his publicist denied.

-- Larry Gordon

Photo: Brad Delson, center, with Linkin Park. Credit: Damon Winter / Los Angeles Times