Nobel Laureate, Lifetime Achievement Award Recipients to Speak at Commencements

A Nobel laureate and two lifetime achievement award recipients will give commencement speeches this year at Haas School graduation ceremonies for MBA and Master's in Financial Engineering students.

Details on the undergraduate commencement speaker will be announced soon.

MBA Commencement

Richard Blum, BS 58, MBA 59, founder of Blum Capital Partners and the American Himalayan Foundation and recipient of the Haas School's 2009 Lifetime Achievement Award, will give the commencement address for the Full-time, Evening & Weekend, and Berkeley-Columbia Executive MBA Programs on Friday, May 14.

The ceremony will begin at 2 p.m. May 14 at the Hearst Greek Theatre. For commencement logistics, visit

Blum has led his successful private equity firm since its founding in 1975, working on deals involving Ringling Bros.-Barnum & Bailey Circus; real estate firm CB Richard Ellis; and most recently Myer, Australia's largest department store chain. Since his first trek in the Himalayas in 1968, he also has show a deep commitment to the region through his founding of the American Himalayan Foundation, which takes care of 25,000 people every day.

Blum has given more than $30 million to create and build a new facility for the Richard C., Blum Center for Development Economies, which is focused on creating sustainable solutions to world poverty. As a UC regent, meanwhile, he led a sweeping overhaul of the Office of the President.

The Haas School awarded Blum the 2009 Lifetime Achievement Award in the fall to recognize his achievements in business and philanthropy. To read a profile of Blum, check out the latest issue of CalBusiness magazine.

Read a transcript of the commencement address > 

Berkeley-Columbia Commencement

Don Bibeault, founding partner of Verto Partners and the first-ever recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Association of Certified Turnaround Professionals in 2005, will give the commencement address Sunday, Feb. 21, for Berkeley-Columbia Executive MBA Program students.

The Berkeley-Columbia Executive MBA commencement ceremony will begin at 10 a.m. in Wheeler Auditorium. Berkeley-Columbia graduates also can take part in Haas School MBA commencement ceremonies in Berkeley on May 14 and Columbia University's commencement in New York on Tuesday, May 18.

Bibeault is one of the nation’s leading turnaround practitioners. During his more than 35-year career, Bibeault has served as chairman, CEO, or chief operating officer of numerous corporations, including Pacific States Steel, American National Petroleum, and Bsquare Corp. He was the special turnaround advisor to the CEOs of Silicon Graphics Inc., Varity Corp. (formerly Massey Ferguson), and Bank of America.

Widely regarded as an expert on strategy and investment returns in the context of underperformance, Bibeault is the author of the bestselling book Corporate Turnaround: How Managers Turn Losers Into Winners!, which has been in print for more than twenty years. Bibeault is also a Columbia Business School alumnus and former member of Columbia’s Board of Overseers.

For more information about Bibeault, visit his corporate bio page.

MFE Commencement

Haas School Professor Emeritus Oliver Williamson, who won the 2009 Nobel Prize in Economics, will give the commencement speech for Master's in Financial Engineering (MFE) students on Friday, March 19.

The MFE Commencement will begin at 10 a.m. March 19 in Andersen Auditorium.

Williamson received the 2009 Nobel Prize in Economics with Elinor Ostrom of Indiana University. A professor at Haas since 1988, Williamson was recognized by the Nobel committee "for his analysis of economic governance, especially the boundaries of the firm."

In the simplest terms, those boundaries refer to when a firm decides to outsource a process, service, or manufacturing function or perform it in-house – the "make or buy" decision.

Williamson pioneered a new way of analyzing business enterprises, through the lens of transaction cost economics, in which he explored how variations among transaction attributes warrant one structure of organization rather than another. Because his analysis has been so methodical, detailed, and thorough, Williamson and hundreds of others have been able to apply his framework to many situations and enterprises beyond just the firm and its outsourcing decision.

In part because of his interdisciplinary approach, Williamson's work has impacted a wide range of fields, including public policy, law, strategy, and sociology. He also spawned a huge wave of empirical research testing his framework in diverse industries from aerospace to semiconductors.

For more information on Williamson, visit the Haas School's Nobel Laureate page.