Commencement

Drop Shadow

2014 Commencement Speakers

School of Law

Shelley Berkley '79 (JD)

berkley-lawShelley Berkley was elected to the United States House of Representatives in 1998 and represented Nevada’s First Congressional District from 1999 to 2013. She was the first woman to serve the district and held the position for seven terms. Prior to her election to Congress, she served as a member of the Nevada State System of Higher Education’s Board of Regents for eight years after serving in the Nevada State Legislature for one term.

During Berkley’s 14 years in Congress, she served on the Transportation Committee, Small Business Committee, Veterans Affairs Committee, Foreign Affairs Committee, and the Ways and Means Committee. Berkley earned the title of “hardest working woman in politics” for her tireless efforts on issues such as job creation, health care and renewable energy. She also was a champion for veterans, seniors, immigration reform and human rights.

Some of Berkley’s most notable professional accomplishments include leading the effort to construct a new Veterans Administration medical complex in Southern Nevada, and working with the California congressional delegation on important issues like protecting Lake Tahoe in Northern California and supporting tourism in both states.

Since December 2013, Berkley has served as the CEO and senior provost of Touro College and University (Touro) System’s western division, where she oversees the Nevada and California campuses.

Graduate Schools

Christopher A. Crane

crane-gradChristopher A. Crane is president and CEO of Edify, a humanitarian organization that provides loans to Christian schools educating impoverished children in Africa and Latin America.

Prior to his work with Edify, Crane served as president and CEO of Opportunity International Inc., the world’s largest faith-based microfinance organization with 10,600 direct and indirect staff operating in 32 countries serving 1.5 million active clients. During Crane’s tenure, Opportunity International’s revenues grew at a compounded annual rate of 30 percent.

In 1992, Crane acquired COMPS InfoSystems, Inc. in San Diego and served as its president and CEO until he sold the company in February 2000. Under his leadership, COMPS grew from a small, print-based publishing firm with coverage of commercial real estate sale information in four western states into an electronic database publisher with 420 employees and coverage of the 50 top real estate markets nationwide.

In 1999, Crane was awarded the Ernst & Young/USA Today Entrepreneur of the Year Award in San Diego, and the Bob Buford Halftime Achievement Award in 2009. He was a member of the Young Presidents’ Organization from 1990 to 2002.

Crane earned an MBA from Harvard Business School and a Bachelor of Science (summa cum laude) in finance from Boston College. He studied economics, art appreciation and music appreciation for two years at the University of Vienna, Austria. He has been married to his wife, Jane, for 30 years, and they have one son, Andy.

Undergraduate College of Arts and Sciences

David Rivera '96 

rivera-casAt the age of 24, David Rivera experienced a life-changing spiritual awakening that caused him to focus on faith and service, a journey that ultimately led him to the University of San Diego. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in political science and philosophy while also earning the University Ministry Award for community service as a senior. He earned a Juris Doctorate from Notre Dame Law School in 1999.

Committed to helping those in need, Rivera was determined to provide children living at or below the poverty line with opportunities they could never dream of, both in education and in life. After devoting two years to research — much of it conducted in conjunction with various offices at USD — he formed a plan to open Nativity Prep Academy, a tuition-free Catholic school in Southeast San Diego with 10-hour school days and a summer school program. In an area where most adults do not have a high school diploma, Nativity Prep sends nearly 90 percent of its students to college.

Rivera also founded the Epiphany Education Foundation in 2011 with the goal of opening additional college prep schools in economically distressed neighborhoods. Its first school, Epiphany Prep Charter School, opened in 2013. Another school is scheduled to open in 2015.

Rivera has assisted in founding other schools and youth ministries, in rehabilitating dilapidated housing and in mentoring and coaching many other churches and nonprofit groups, all in San Diego’s inner-city. At 2010’s Alumni Honors, Rivera received the Bishop Charles Francis Buddy Award from USD for his contributions to humanitarian causes. 

Undergraduate School of Business Administration and Shiley-Marcos School of Engineering

R. Todd Johnson

johnson-sbaR. Todd Johnson represents founders, investors and companies pursuing renewable energy solutions, impacts on sustainable growth, energy efficiency, energy optimization, corporate governance transparency and those pursuing for-benefit models. He advises them on corporate financings (including offerings of debt and equity securities, venture capital financings and private equity buyouts), joint ventures, restructurings, corporate counseling, and mergers and acquisitions. Johnson founded Jones Day’s Northern California practice in 2000 by opening its Silicon Valley office. He presently leads the firm’s Renewable Energy and Sustainability Practice.

During his 20 plus years at Jones Day, Johnson has represented SunPower in its acquisition of PowerLight and in its public offerings; Isuzu Motors of America in its North American restructurings with GM; Metering Technology in its sale to Echelon; and Bank of America in nearly $20 billion in structured financing transactions.

Johnson serves or has served as regular outside counsel to SunPower Corporation, Harman International, SearchMe, Funny or Die, Santur, GoodGuide, Metering Technology, Notiva and LaborFair.com. He works regularly with partners at Sequoia Capital and other top-tier venture funds, and represents a number of founders and start-ups through the formation, venture financing and liquidity phases.

Johnson also serves or has served as pro bono counsel to groups including the Grameen Trust, the Legal Aid Society of San Mateo County, and organizations expanding the for-benefit sector, including the Aspen Institute, Good Capital, GlobalGiving, B Labs, Fair Trade Pictures and Pura Vida Coffee.

Johnson received his Juris Doctorate from The Catholic University of America, where he served as the note and comment editor of the Law Review. He received his undergraduate degree from Miami University.