Alumni from Goldman Sachs, BrightSource, Barclays to Give Commencement Speeches

Haas School alumni from Goldman Sachs, BrightSource Energy, and Barclays Global Investors will speak at the undergraduate, Berkeley MBA, and PhD commencement ceremonies in May.

Stuart Bernstein, BS 85, a partner at Goldman, Sachs & Co., will speak at undergraduate commencement on May 24. John Woolard, MBA 97, CEO of BrightSource Energy, an Oakland company that recently brokered the world's largest solar energy deal, will address Berkeley MBA students on May 17. And Minder Cheng, MBA 89, PhD 94, global chief investment officer of equity and capital markets at Barclays, will give the PhD commencement speech on May 16.

Undergraduate Commencement

Bernstein, the undergraduate commencement speaker, serves as head of Goldman Sachs' Financial Institutions Capital Markets business. He leads a team that is responsible for sourcing, structuring, and marketing capital markets transactions as well as advising clients on strategic transactions in the financial institutions sector.

Last year, Bernstein executed the largest initial public offering in US history, a $20 billion IPO for Visa, as well as several multibillion-dollar offerings for institutions such as General Electric, Washington Mutual, Wachovia, National City, and Goldman Sachs.

In addition to being a member of the Haas Board, Bernstein serves on the Dean's Alumni Leadership Council at Harvard's Kennedy School of Government and the National Resource Defense Council's Center for Market Innovation, an environmental group dedicated to harnessing the power of the marketplace for positive environmental change.

Bernstein joined investment bank Goldman Sachs in 1986 after graduating from the Haas School Phi Beta Kappa in 1985. He also has earned an MBA from the Harvard Business School and an MPA, with a focus on public policy, from the Harvard Kennedy School.

Undergraduate commencement for the class of 2009 will begin at 9 a.m. Sunday, May 24 at the Greek Theatre.

Berkeley MBA Commencement

Woolard, a solar power pacesetter, will speak at the commencement ceremony for students in the Full-time, Evening & Weekend, and Berkeley-Columbia Executive MBA Programs, which begins at 2:00 p.m. May 17 in the Greek Theatre.

As CEO of BrightSource, Woolard helped broker a deal in February with Southern California Edison to provide 1,300 megawatts of clean solar power, enough to serve nearly 845,000 homes. This follows a deal with Pacific Gas & Electric to build plants in the Mojave Desert that will generate 900 megawatts of solar power.

BrightSource was named a 2009 Technology Pioneer by the World Economic Forum in recognition of efforts to make solar energy cost competitive with fossil fuels. BrightSource was the only solar company among 34 winners, which were honored for their involvement in the development of life-changing technology innovation.

Woolard brings more than two decades of experience in the energy technology sector to his role as CEO of BrightSource, a position he has held since 2006. After business school, he co-founded Silicon Energy, one of the early successful clean-tech companies, and served as the company's president, CEO, and chairman. He then sold Silicon Energy to Itron, where he became vice president of software solutions and subsequently vice president of strategy and business development. He also previously served as an executive-in-residence in VantagePoint Venture Partner's CleanTech Group and remains a venture partner with the firm.

Woolard is a Crown Fellow at the Aspen Institute and has served on the board of the California Clean Energy Fund and the Strategic Advisory Board for Xcel Energy. He currently serves on boards for the Tuolumne River Preservation Trust and the Oakland Zoo and on the advisory board for the Haas School's Lester Center for Entrepreneurship and Innovation.

In addition to an MBA from the Haas School, Woolard holds a master's degree in environmental planning from the University of Virginia, and a BA in economics from the University of Virginia.

PhD Commencement

Minder Cheng, who earned both an MBA and PhD from Haas, has overall responsibility for Barclays Global Investors active equity, index equity, transition services, securities lending, and cash products worldwide. Previously, he was chief investment officer for the active equity products globally, and global head of trading with responsibility for the firm's equity and foreign exchange trading activities worldwide.

Prior to joining BGI in 1999, Cheng held roles as research analyst, proprietary trader, and senior strategist at Convergence Asset Management, Sumitomo Finance International, and Salomon Brothers. He worked in New York, London, and Tokyo with these firms. His direct trading experience covers equity, fixed income, currency, and derivatives in the US and international markets. Cheng also managed several projects for the research and planning division of the New York Stock Exchange.

Cheng received his PhD in finance and his MBA from the Haas School. He earned his BA from National Taiwan University in Taipei, Taiwan.

PhD commencement will begin at 10:30 a.m. in the Wells Fargo Room.