2016 Commencement Speakers


School of Law Ceremony

Derek Aberle, JD ‘96
President, Qualcomm Incorporated

Derek Aberle

Derek Aberle, a 1996 graduate of the University of San Diego School of Law, serves as president of Qualcomm Incorporated, a world leader in 3G, 4G and next-generation wireless technologies. For more than 30 years, Qualcomm ideas and inventions have driven the evolution of digital communications, linking people everywhere more closely to information, entertainment and each other.

As president of Qualcomm, Aberle is responsible for the oversight of all business divisions across the organization, as well as the company’s global market development and marketing groups. He is also responsible for formulating and driving key strategies for diversifying and growing the company in both Qualcomm’s core businesses, as well as new business opportunities. He serves as a member of Qualcomm’s executive committee, helping to drive Qualcomm’s overall global strategy.

Starting in 2008, Aberle led the Qualcomm Technology Licensing (QTL) division and held several roles, including executive vice president, senior vice president and general manager. He has been instrumental to the success and growth of the division, and, under his leadership, QTL has significantly grown both the revenues and profits and established its 4G licensing program. He has played a leading role in structuring and negotiating key license agreements with many of Qualcomm’s licensees. He has also contributed to the creation and implementation of the legal and business strategies that led to the resolution of several of the company’s licensing-related disputes.

Aberle joined Qualcomm in 2000 after representing the company as an outside counsel for several years at the law firms of Pillsbury Madison and Sutro and Heller Ehrman.

Graduate Schools Ceremony

Robert E. Price
Entrepreneur/Community Advocate

Robert E. PricePresident, Price Charities and Price Philanthropies Foundation, Chairman of the Board, PriceSmart, Inc.

Robert Price is the president of Price Charities and Price Philanthropies Foundation, and Chairman of the Board of PriceSmart, Inc. Formerly Price Family Charitable Fund, the Price Philanthropies Foundation was founded by Mr. Price’s father, retail entrepreneur and philanthropist Sol Price, and his wife Helen. Today, Robert Price and his wife Allison continue the family’s legacy through their leadership of the foundation.

A native of San Diego, Mr. Price has spent his entire career in the retail industry. Upon graduating from Pomona College, he joined FedMart stores, founded by his father. In 1975, Price and his father cofounded The Price Company as owners and operators of Price Club membership warehouses.  The Price Club was the pioneer of the warehouse store concept. With 94 locations throughout North America, the company retained nearly 23,000 employees before merging with Costco Wholesale Club in 1993. In 1994, Mr. Price was appointed chairman, president and CEO of Price Enterprises, which now owns nearly 40 stores in 12 countries and one U.S. territory.

Price Philanthropies Foundation partners with nonprofit agencies to provide opportunities for San Diego youth and families, particularly those in City Heights, to prosper. City Heights is a low-income community with a largely immigrant and refugee population. The City Heights initiative, supported by Price Philanthropies Foundation, takes a holistic approach to improving residents’ quality of life through residential and retail real estate development and access to health and social services, quality education, jobs, legal representation, and safe neighborhoods.

Mr. Price and his family live in San Diego.

Undergraduate College of Arts and Sciences Ceremony

Ron Fowler
Chairman, University of San Diego Board of Trustees; Executive Chairman, San Diego Padres; Chairman and CEO of Liquid Investments, Inc.

Ron FowlerRon L. Fowler is the Executive Chairman and Co-owner of the San Diego Padres Major League Baseball team, the Chairman and CEO of Liquid Investments, Inc., and Principal and Board Member of Beer Capitol Distributing in Milwaukee, WI, and Columbia Distributing in Oregon and Washington. Since 2010, Mr. Fowler has also served as the dedicated chairman of the University of San Diego Board of Trustees.

Mr. Fowler began his career at Theodore Hamm Brewing Co. in Minnesota. Highly motivated, he quickly earned a promotion to brand manager before he was recruited by Lucky Breweries to join them in San Francisco as the director of sales. He left the company to join Olympia Brewing Co. in Washington as regional sales manager.

Recognized as a beverage industry leader, Fowler chaired or has been a member of numerous corporate and association boards over the past 40 years.

Since joining the USD Board of Trustees in 1996, Mr. Fowler has served on several board committees, provided financial oversight and vision on everything from Torero athletics to academic affairs and student life.

An avid sports enthusiast, he is a former owner of the San Diego Sockers professional soccer team. Mr. Fowler has served as vice president and executive committee member of the Greater San Diego Sports Association, chairman of the executive committee of the San Diego Hall of Champions, and he was recognized as “San Diego Sports Businessman of the Year.”

In 2012, Mr. Fowler and his wife Alexis’ gift to the University of San Diego provided the resources required to build beautiful Fowler Park, the 1,700 seat, state-of-the-art home of Torero Baseball. 

School of Business and Shiley-Marcos School of Engineering Ceremony

Dr. Geoffrey Tabin
Professor of Surgery and Ophthalmology, University of Utah School of Medicine and Co-director of the Himalayan Cataract Project

Dr. Geoffrey Tabin

Dr. Geoff Tabin is a professor of Ophthalmology and Visual Sciences and co-director of the Outreach Division at the John A. Moran Eye Center, University of 

Utah, and co-founder and co-director of the Himalayan Cataract Project (HCP).  Dr. Tabin is a rare mix of adventurer, humanitarian, respected ophthalmologist and global visionary. His accomplishments span climbing the Seven Summits to curing preventable blindness in hundreds of people in developing countries.

Dr. Tabin was inspired to battle blindness after a Mt. Everest expedition where he came across a Dutch team performing surgery on a woman. Dr. Tabin went on to devote his life to the cause through The John A. Moran Eye Center and HCP. Today, he is a leader in both the national and international ophthalmic community.

In 1994, after spending a year teaching eye surgery in Nepal, he and Dr. Sanduk Ruit co-founded HCP, which strives to eradicate preventable and curable blindness in the Himalayas through high quality ophthalmic care, education, and the establishment of a world-class eye care infrastructure. HCP holds high-volume, remote region cataract surgery camps providing training to dozens of local doctors while providing surgery to thousands of rural patients. Dissatisfied with the prohibitively high cost of intraocular lenses (IOL), a necessity for modern cataract surgery, HCP also opened a factory in Nepal to produce high quality IOLs for a fraction of the cost.  Instead of over $200 per IOL, they produce them for less than $5 each.

Since the inception of HCP in 1994, more than 100 doctors and more than 100 ophthalmic assistants and nurses have been trained in modern cataract surgery, conducting more than 200,000 surgeries per year. 

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