Pepperdine University Celebrates 2016 Commencement

March 22, 2016  | 6 min read

Pepperdine University will host commencement ceremonies for the Graziadio School of Business and Management, School of Public Policy, Seaver College, School of Law, and Graduate School of Education and Psychology throughout April and May. The ceremonies feature a robust lineup of speakers who will share their insights with the graduating classes as they embark on the next chapter of their lives.

Raymond W. SmithGraziadio School of Business and Management

Saturday, April 16 | 10:30 AM | Firestone Fieldhouse, Malibu

Honorary Doctorate Recipient: Raymond W. Smith

Raymond W. Smith, founding partner of Arlington Capital Partners and chair of Rothschild Continuation Investments and Verizon Ventures (formerly Bell Atlantic), from which he retired in 2000 after a decade of leadership, will receive an honorary Doctor of Business degree. Under Smith’s direction, Bell Atlantic acquired NYNEX in 1997 and announced the acquisition of GTE in 1998—two of the largest transactions in business history.

Over the course of his career, Smith has been named CEO of the Year by CNBC, Top Manager by Businessweek, Chief Executive of the Year by the International Television Association, and Outstanding Corporate Leader and CEO of the Year by Financial World. He was the premier recipient of the Mickey Leland Award for Diversity in Telecommunications, and was recognized by the NAACP for lifelong service to equal opportunity. Smith received the Legacy Laureate Award from the University of Pittsburgh, and was inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

Smith has been a member of the board of directors of Westinghouse, CBS, Viacom, U.S. Airways, Carnegie Foundation, Lincoln Center, the Philadelphia Orchestra, Carnegie Mellon, and University of Pittsburgh. He currently serves on advisory boards of the House of Representatives for Renewing U.S. Science Policy, George Mason University, and the Library of Congress.

More information about the Graziadio School of Business and Management commencement ceremony


Donald R. KnabeSchool of Public Policy

Friday, April 22 | 10:30 AM | Alumni Park, Malibu

Honorary Doctorate Recipient: Donald R. Knabe

Los Angeles County supervisor of the Fourth District Donald R. Knabe, who was first elected to the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors in 1996 and reelected in 2000, 2004, 2008, and 2012, will deliver the commencement address and receive an honorary Doctor of Public Policy degree during the ceremony.

With a political career dedicated to protecting the innocent and vulnerable children that reside in Los Angeles County, Knabe established the Safe Surrender program, which allows people to surrender a baby within 72 hours of birth, as long as the baby is free from any signs of abuse. Knabe is also known as a national leader on the issue of child sex trafficking. In 2012 he launched a national campaign to raise awareness about young girls in Southern California being subjected to exploitation for monetary gain. The following year he testified on the issue of child sex trafficking at a hearing before the House Committee on Foreign Affairs in Washington, D.C. He also advocated for stricter penalties for sex traffickers at the National Press Club with Texas congressman Ted Poe.

Knabe is a director for the Metropolitan Transportation Authority (MTA). He is also a member of the Southern California Regional Rail Authority (Metrolink), where he serves on the Executive Management and Audit Committee.

More information about the School of Public Policy commencement ceremony


Michael K. PowellSeaver College

Saturday, April 30 | 10:30 AM | Alumni Park, Malibu

Honorary Doctorate Recipient: Michael K. Powell

Michael K. Powell, former chair of the Federal Communications Commission (FCC), will deliver the commencement address and receive the University’s highest honor, an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree.

Powell’s FCC nomination came from president Bill Clinton in 1997, and he was designated as FCC chair by president George W. Bush in 2001 and served in that role until April 2005. As chair, Powell led initiatives to open up markets in Voice over Internet Protocol (VoIP), Wi-Fi, and Broadband over Power Lines (BPL). He advocated for the updating of media ownership rules to reflect new communications technologies, such as the Internet—a move that critics considered as increasing widespread media consolidation. In 2005 he campaigned for the National Do Not Call Registry.

In 2011 Powell became president and CEO of the National Cable and Telecommunications Association (NCTA), one of the largest corporate lobbies in Washington, D.C., to represent the telecommunications industry. Prior to working for the NCTA, he served for two years as cochair of Broadband for America, a coalition that consists of over 300 companies united in their commitment to expanding the discussion of Broadband for America.

Powell currently serves on a number of nonprofit boards, including Mayo Clinic, Aspen Institute, and America’s Promise, where he serves as the cochair of Grad Nation, an effort to end the high school dropout crisis in the United States.

More information about the Seaver College commencement ceremony

Linda A. Klein

School of Law

Friday, May 20 | 10:30 AM | Alumni Park, Malibu

Honorary Doctorate Recipient: Linda A. Klein

Linda A. Klein is a distinguished attorney whose practice includes contract law, employment law, and professional liability. The University will bestow an honorary Doctor of Laws degree on Klein during the commencement ceremony.

Klein is the current president-elect for the American Bar Association (ABA) and recently completed her 2010-2012 term as chair of the ABA's House of Delegates, ranked the second highest office in the world's largest voluntary professional association. She is regularly named one of the top 50 female lawyers in Georgia by Super Lawyers.

In 1997 Klein was selected as the first woman to become president of the State Bar of Georgia. In 1998 Georgia Trend magazine named her one of the 100 most powerful and influential Georgians. Klein is a recipient of the Randolph Thrower Award for Lifetime Achievement and the Margaret Brent Achievement Award, and was included in the YWCA Academy of Women Achievers.

Klein is a member of the American Law Institute and a mediator and arbitrator, frequently serving as a neutral advocate as well as a client advocate. She is currently on the board of directors for Southface Energy Institute and Neighbor To Family, Inc., and is on the executive committee of the Buckhead Coalition.

More information about the School of Law commencement ceremony


Michelle KingGraduate School of Education and Psychology (Education)

Saturday, May 21 | 10 AM | Alumni Park, Malibu

Honorary Doctorate Recipient: Michelle King

Michelle King (MS ’92) is the superintendent of schools of the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD), the second-largest district in the nation. King will deliver the commencement address and be presented with an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree during the ceremony.

King is responsible for developing policy and making suggestions to the members of the Los Angeles Board of Education, creating the conditions for success for all students and staff. King has dedicated her 30-year career to LAUSD students, having worked as a teacher, coordinator, assistant principal, principal, chief administrator of secondary instruction, local district superintendent, chief of staff to the superintendent, senior deputy superintendent, and chief deputy superintendent.

As a veteran educator, King is committed to ensuring that all students have access to the tools required to prepare for higher education and professional opportunities. She has led district-wide reforms to increase graduation rates, particularly within historically underprivileged neighborhoods. She has also been a champion of programs such as Restorative Justice, designed to keep students in schools and improve citizenship.

In 2015 she was named Woman of the Year by Women On Target, a nonprofit organization and advocacy group that specializes in supporting leaders in Southern California's African American communities. King is a Pepperdine University alumna with a master of science degree in administration, and is currently pursuing a doctorate in education at the University of Southern California.

More information about the Graduate School of Education and Psychology commencement ceremony

Barry Munitz

Graduate School of Education and Psychology (Psychology)

Saturday, May 21 | 2:30 PM | Alumni Park, Malibu

Honorary Doctorate Recipient: Andrew J. Bales

Reverend Andrew J. Bales serves as CEO of the Union Rescue Mission in downtown Los Angeles’ Skid Row. He will deliver the commencement address and be presented with an honorary Doctor of Laws degree during the ceremony.

Bales joined the Union Rescue Mission staff in 2008 and brings over 29 years of experience in community outreach. One of Bales’ earliest challenges as Mission leader was to assist in the development of transitional housing for mothers and their children living in the mission’s downtown facility and in neighboring single-room-occupancy hotels in and around Skid Row. He is also committed to providing permanent supportive housing for senior women away from the streets of Los Angeles. His primary focus is to organize and work with community partners to significantly reduce homelessness in Los Angeles over the next decade.

Bales has won many awards and honors for his community service, including being named as the 930th Point of Light by president George Bush in 1992, the 1999 Des Moines NAACP Community Service Award, and the 2004 Martin Luther King, Jr., Award from the Interdenominational Ministerial Alliance of Greater Pasadena. His blog was awarded first place for media success by the Association of Gospel Rescue Missions in 2008, 2009, 2010, and 2011. He has been featured on 60 Minutes and Dateline, and is a frequent guest speaker at conferences, schools, and clubs.

More information about the Graduate School of Education and Psychology commencement ceremony