Michael Streit, '75 (JD)
Commencement Speaker, School of Law
Former Justice Michael Streit graduated from the University of San Diego School of Law in 1975 and served Iowa as a trial court judge and as an Iowa Supreme Court Justice for more than 27 years. Streit received his bachelor’s degree in economics from the University of Iowa. While studying for his law degree at USD, he edited the school’s monthly law publication, The Woolsack. He was also a member of the law review and wrote articles on securities regulation. He has received the Distinguished Alumni award from the University of San Diego for his service to the profession and the courts.
Streit became licensed in the Iowa, California and Nebraska courts after graduating from USD. He has been involved in professional education and public speaking, seeking to improve the court system and educate the public on the important role the courts play in the lives of every citizen.
Streit has served on the Board of Counselors of Drake University Law School, chair of the Iowa New Judge Orientation Program, chair of the Judicial Mentor Program, STOP Violence Against Woman Coordinating Council, Iowa Supreme Court Select Committee on Child Welfare, Judicial Evaluation and Performance Committee, the Anglo-American Exchange Program serving in the British courts for two months, the Blackstone Inn of Court and was chair of the Supreme Court Education Advisory Committee.
Streit is a member of Ahlers & Cooney in its Litigation, Dispute Resolution and Investigations practice area. He is involved with complex mediation, arbitrations and appeals. He has lectured in arbitration, mediation, ethics, contracts, trial management, judicial independence and electronic document management. He teaches at Drake University Law School.
Scott Sherman, PhD
Commencement Speaker, Graduate Ceremony
Scott Sherman, PhD, is the executive director of an award-winning nonprofit organization, the Transformative Action Institute (TAI). The mission of TAI is to train the next generation of social entrepreneurs, innovators and changemakers for the 21st century.
Sherman is an expert on the most effective ways that citizens succeed in their attempts to change the world. He is currently writing a book that summarizes his research, How We Win: The Science of Making the World a Better Place.
Over the last decade, Sherman has taught courses on social entrepreneurship and social innovation at numerous universities, including Yale, Princeton, NYU and Johns Hopkins.
His work on nonviolent social change projects has been praised by such Nobel Peace Prize Laureates as the Dalai Lama, Desmond Tutu and the late Mother Teresa. He is also a nationally recognized speaker on environmental regeneration and transformative action. He has won the outstanding teaching award from the University of California, Berkeley. In 2004, he was nominated for the National Society of Collegiate Scholars’ Faculty of the Year award for the entire United States. In 2005, the global nonprofit organization, Echoing Green, recognized Sherman as one of the world’s “Best Emerging Social Entrepreneurs.”Sherman earned his undergraduate and law degrees from the University of California, Berkeley, as well as his PhD in environmental studies from the University of Michigan. Besides his work as a grassroots community organizer, lecturer and author, Sherman has worked with the Natural Resources Defense Council and the Environmental Law Foundation.
James Brennan, '96 (BBA)
Commencement Speaker, Undergraduate Morning Ceremony
In 2002, James Brennan co-founded 3/73 Management, LLC, and has since opened some of the most successful lounges and restaurants in downtown San Diego’s historic Gaslamp Quarter. He currently manages Enlightened Hospitality Group (EHGRP), established in 2009, which holds Stingaree, the Fabric Family restaurants and Campine Catering. In July 2010, the restaurant Searsucker opened to local and national acclaim. Within a few months of its debut, it was ranked No. 2 on Time magazine’s “Ten Hottest Restaurants.”
Brennan believes in the power of giving back and has used his platform for success to actively engage in the San Diego community by partnering with various nonprofits and charities. EHGRP makes it a priority to develop “ongoing relationships with nonprofit organizations that seek to solve major social problems plaguing our city.” Brennan sits on the Board of Directors for Catholic Charities of San Diego, Big Brothers Big Sisters and Cathedral Catholic High School.
Brennan was the driving force behind Rockaway Reach, a disaster relief fund created in the aftermath of the devastation inflicted by Hurricane Sandy on the communities of Breezy Point, Belle Harbor, and the Rockaways, in Brennan’s hometown of Rockaway, N.Y. In the months immediately following Hurricane Sandy, Rockaway Reach raised more than $1 million in both private funding and large grants from organizations, which led to a profile on “60 Minutes” with reporter Scott Pelley in November 2012. In 2013, Brennan was named Big Brothers Big Sisters Person of the Year.
Brennan received his bachelor’s degree in business administration with an emphasis in marketing from the University of San Diego in 1996.
Paul Rice, MBA
Commencement Speaker, Undergraduate Afternoon Ceremony
Paul Rice is the president and CEO of Fair Trade USA, the leading certifier of Fair Trade products in the United States.
Fair Trade is an innovative, market-based model for poverty alleviation and sustainable development. It empowers conscious consumers and rewards U.S. companies and Third World farmers who comply with rigorous social and environmental standards. To date, Fair Trade USA has developed business partnerships with more than 800 U.S. companies. Fair Trade USA now certifies coffee, tea, cocoa, sugar, rice, fresh fruit, wine, flowers and apparel. U.S. retail sales of Fair Trade products in 2012 reached an estimated $1.5 billion.
Prior to launching Fair Trade USA, Rice worked for 11 years as a rural development specialist in the mountains of Nicaragua, where he founded and led the country’s first fair trade, organic coffee export cooperative. His first-hand experience over the last 30 years in the areas of global supply chain transparency, social auditing, sustainable agriculture and cooperative enterprise development is unique in the certification world.
Rice has received numerous honors for his pioneering work as a social entrepreneur, including the Ashoka Fellowship, the World Economic Forum Award for Social Entrepreneurship, Fast Company magazine’s Social Capitalist of the Year award (four-time winner), and the Skoll Award for Social Entrepreneurship. He holds an economics and political science degree from Yale University and an MBA from the Haas School of Business at the University of California, Berkeley.
Rice has spoken on social entrepreneurship, conscious capitalism, fair trade and similar topics at the World Economic Forum, the Clinton Global Initiative and other prestigious international gatherings, as well as at numerous universities and conferences.