The School of Public Policy and the Graziadio School of Business and Management will host commencement ceremonies Friday, Apr. 19, and Saturday, Apr. 20, respectively, to celebrate graduating students. Both events will begin at 10:30 a.m. at Firestone Fieldhouse, Malibu. Please note: location of School of Public Policy commencement has moved to Firestone Fieldhouse from Alumni Park due to weather conditions.
The School of Public Policy (jump) will honor Karen Elliott House, former publisher of the Wall Street Journal, with an honorary Doctor of Laws degree. Jeffrey Jones (MPP '02) will be the recipient of the 2013 Distinguished Alumnus Award.
The Graziadio School (jump) will welcome Al Plamann, chief executive officer of Unified Grocers, the largest retailer-owned wholesale grocery cooperative in the western United States, to receive an Honorary Degree. Blake Irving (MBA '88), chief executive officer and board director of Go Daddy, the world's largest domain name provider and web host, will be honored as a Distinguished Alumnus.
Karen Elliott House is an Adjunct Senior Fellow at the Belfer Center for Science and International Affairs at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University and author of On Saudi Arabia: Its People, Past, Religion, Fault Lines—and Future. She previously served as the publisher of the Wall Street Journal from 2002 until her retirement in 2006. She also held various roles as a reporter, editor, and executive throughout a 32-year career at Dow Jones & Company, most recently as senior vice president and a member of the company's executive committee.
During her career at the Wall Street Journal, House served as foreign editor, diplomatic correspondent, and energy correspondent. Her journalism awards include a Pulitzer Prize for international reporting for coverage of the Middle East, two Overseas Press Club awards for coverage of the Middle East and of Islam, and the Edwin M. Hood Award for Excellence in Diplomatic Reporting for a series on Saudi Arabia. In both her news and business roles, House interviewed world leaders including Saddam Hussein, Lee Kuan Yew, Vladimir Putin, Margaret Thatcher, Richard Nixon, George H. W. Bush, and Yasser Arafat, among many others.
House serves on multiple nonprofit boards, including the RAND Corporation and the Trilateral Commission, and has served on the boards of the Council on Foreign Relations, the Asia Society, and the German-American Council. She also served on the board of Boston University and is a member of the advisory board of the College of Communication at the University of Texas at Austin.
House received her bachelor's degree from the University of Texas at Austin and has studied and taught at Harvard University's Institute of Politics. She holds honorary degrees from Boston University and Lafayette College and is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences. She delivered the Charles and Rosemary Licata Lecture at the School of Public Policy in February 2013. House resides with her husband, Peter R. Kann, and their four children in Princeton, New Jersey.
Jeffrey M. Jones (MPP '02) is assistant director and Research Fellow at Stanford University's renowned think tank the Hoover Institution, which is dedicated to the collection, generation, and dissemination of ideas in support of freedom, private enterprise, and representative government. Jones' research centers on issues of poverty and welfare. His administrative roles touch broadly on operations, communications, outreach, and scholarship.
Among his current projects, Jones is overseeing the planning, construction, and launch of the institution's new Washington, D.C., office. In addition, he is the internal project manager for Hoover's fourth building on the Stanford campus, a 50,000-square-foot conference center and office building, scheduled to break ground in 2015.
Jones is responsible for development and oversight of the Hoover Institution Press, which publishes 12 to 15 books per year. He also facilitates the Leadership Forum program, which sponsors roundtables and conferences that engage political leaders at the local, state, national, and international levels.
Prior to his work at the Hoover Institution, Jones held positions at various social welfare organizations, from serving as a federal VISTA volunteer working with the homeless in Rockford, Illinois, to his executive directorship of a nonprofit jobs agency catering to disadvantaged populations—veterans, welfare recipients, teenage mothers, the homeless, and the underemployed. He also is engaged in a number of Christian philanthropic activities, including service as a group discussion leader for Bible Study Fellowship.
Jones received his bachelor's degree in political science from Wheaton College and in 2002 received his master of public policy from the Pepperdine University School of Public Policy, where he currently serves as a member of the Board of Visitors. Jones resides with his wife, Lori, and their four children in Menlo Park, California.
For more information, visit the School of Public Policy graduation Web site.
Al Plamann is the chief executive officer of Unified Grocers, a retailer-owned wholesale grocery distributor that supplies independent retailers throughout the western United States.
A member of the school's Board of Visitors, Mr. Plamann joins a pantheon of distinguished leaders awarded honorary doctorates by the Graziadio School, including most recently William McMorrow, chairman and CEO, Kennedy Wilson; Paul N. Hopkins, retired board chair of Farmers Group and retired chair of the Americas of Zurich Financial Services; and Richard G. Newman, chairman and former chief executive officer of international engineering firm AECOM.
Previously, the Graziadio School recognized Mr. Plamann with the 2009 Best Friend Award, which was presented at the Sixth Annual Sovereign Capital Management Friends of George Graziadio Golf Tournament.
Retiring this May, Plamann has served as Unified chief executive officer since September 1999 when Los Angeles-based Certified Grocers of California, Ltd. merged with United Grocers, Inc. of Portland, Oregon. Prior to the merger, Plamann served as president and chief executive officer of Certified Grocers of California for six years and also spent four years as senior vice president of finance and chief financial officer. Before joining Certified in 1989, he had a distinguished 13-year career with Atlantic-Richfield Company (ARCO) in Los Angeles.
During Plamann's tenure as CEO, Unified has grown from a company with $1.8 billion in annual sales to nearly $4 billion. Additionally, Unified has expanded its customer base to an area that stretches from Mexico to Alaska, as well as to key international points around the globe.
Plamann currently serves as chairman of the Twelfth District Economic Advisory Council of the Federal Reserve, as well as the Board of the Food Marketing Institute and the National Cooperative Grocers Association. In February of 2004, he was inducted into the CGA Hall of Achievement. He is a Board member of the Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce and the Town Hall of Los Angeles and a member of the Southern California Chapter of the National Association of Corporate Directors and Weingart Center Association, a non-profit organization that provides assistance to the homeless in Los Angeles.
He holds a BS in accounting and real estate from the University of Colorado and an MBA from the Wharton School at University of Pennsylvania.
Blake Irving(MBA '88) is the chief executive officer and board director of Go Daddy, the world's largest domain name provider and web hosting company. Under his management, Go Daddy has sharpened its focus on helping small
businesses grow and thrive online through digital marketing and commerce, back office administration, and peer and community support. Irving has said that his "life's work has been to transform the web as we know it into an even more powerful resource for commerce, communications, understanding, and entertainment."
Prior to his current appointment at Go Daddy, Irving served as executive
vice president and chief product officer at Yahoo!, where he grew the number
of monthly active users from 590 million to 790 million worldwide, grew the
number of mobile users from 90 million to 220 million worldwide, delivered 180
new Yahoo! websites, and rolled out new products in 23 new languages and 30
Before his work at Yahoo!, Irving held positions at both Xerox and
Microsoft. During his 15 years at Microsoft, he held numerous positions,
including an appointment as corporate vice president of the Windows Live
Platform. In this position, he was responsible for creating and leading a global
development and operations organization of more than 4,000 employees in the
creation and operation of Microsoft's global online services, with an operating and
R&D budget exceeding $1 billion. Other notable accomplishments at Microsoft
include the development and launch of MSN Messenger and the integration of
Hotmail into MSN.
Irving received his bachelor's degree from California State University, San
Diego, and his master of business administration from Pepperdine University
in 1988. During the 2009-2010 academic year, he served as an adjunct
faculty member in the MBA program at the Graziadio School. He also has
been a Pepperdine Executive Associate and participated in Graziadio's Senior
Management Partner program.
Blake Irving resides with his wife, Carol, in San Luis Obispo, California.
For more information, visit the Graziadio School graduation Web site.