Past Award Recipients | Pepperdine University | Graziadio Business School

Past Award Recipients

George Awards

Graziadio School George Awards

Dean van Rensburg, the Board of Visitors and faculty of the Graziadio School congratulate past recipients of the George Awards. We continue to learn from their challenges and are inspired by their example.

School benefactor and Imperial Bancorp founder George L. Graziadio's legacy looms large by any standard. He will be remembered as a business innovator and leader, as well as a dedicated family man and generous philanthropist. His life and good works stand as a testament to what can be achieved when vision and compassion are fueled by enthusiasm and hard work. This testament lives on through the graduates of the school that bears his name.

Read more about past awardees here:

2010 George Award Recipients

Student Awards

James Neas

James Neas, BSM ’10
Vice President, Financial Analysis Manager, Union Bank
Bachelor of Science in Management Program

Throughout Jim’s time in the program he has demonstrated maturity, leadership in the classroom, and has earned the respect of his class members. He has demonstrated a commitment to high performance, hard work, and enthusiasm, while acknowledging the value of others’ contributions. Inspired by a note he wrote in 2000 – it read, “2010: Achieve Your Goals.” This simple statement has been the catalyst for his academic and business achievements since. Jim graduated in April and has enrolled in the MBAJ program.

Bruce Wilson

Bruce W. Wilson, MBA ’10
Manager, Internal Application Development, The Boeing Company
Fully Employed MBA Program

Bruce seized the opportunity to grow as a leader by managing his study groups as he would a corporate business function. In turn, his colleagues rose to every challenge and achieved excellence on every project. Blessed with a broad conceptual understanding of science and technology, Bruce is also a true renaissance man of unusual business acumen and diverse musical talents.

Raymond Gale

Raymond “Chip” Gale, EMBA 78N
District Manager, Emerson Network Power
Executive MBA Program

Chip strives for the highest standards, and inspires his classmates to “raise the bar” in their own dedication to learning. Although already accomplished in his field, this dedicated family man is clearly committed to lifelong learning and personal development. He also demonstrates both humor and humility, and serves as an inspirational model to his classmates and faculty alike.

Dan Sanders

Dan Sanders, PKE 124
President, ACME Markets
Presidents and Key Executives MBA Program

Dan is committed to faith, family, and country to a degree that is all too rare for today’s business executives. A senior Air Force pilot, Dan flew the U-2 spyplane and was a member of the Air Force One Presidential Advance team. He is also a best-selling author and serves on a variety of non-profit boards. From his dedication to our country to his commitment to his church, Dan exemplifies the best of Americans.

Yana Melnikova

Yana Melnikova, MSOD ’10
Head of Learning and Development, PricewaterhouseCoopers Russia B.V.
Master of Science in Organization Development Program

Yana is making an incredible contribution to the MSOD program and to her field. Born in Siberia and raised in Lithuania, she speaks about differences in culture and understanding to the benefit of other students. She has been an outstanding academic performer and travels from Russia to participate in the MSOD program.

Sebastian Bartl

Sebastian Bartl, MBA ’10
Head of Marketing and Finance, BeTheBuilders
Full-time MBA Program

Sebastian shows a strong level of leadership both in and out of the classroom. He served as vice president of the Entrepreneurship Society, was a member of the Ethics Committee, founded the “Students of Christ” initiative, represented Pepperdine in multiple case competitions, and was part of the winning ’09 team at the Baylor Ethics Case Competition.

Alumni Awards

Nick Mitchell

Nick Mitchell, EMBA ‘07
Chief Executive Officer, Sohve
Chair, GAN Council, Los Angeles

Nick has elevated the stature of the GAN LA Council through his personal passion for all things Pepperdine. His tireless dedication can be evidenced through his presentations to prospective students, his mentorship of contestants in the 2010 Pepperdine Business Plan Competition, his outreach to faculty and university alumni groups and his limitless desire to connect with Pepperdine students – past, present and future.

Sheri Osborn

Sheri Osborn, MTME ‘03
Chief Executive Officer – USA, Mineseeker Operations
Director of Membership and External Relations
GAN Council, Northern California

As the current director of membership and external relations for the council, Sheri has provided outstanding leadership helping to establish GAN NorCal as a benchmark alumni group and a community touch point for thousands of Graziadio School alumni in the Bay Area. She has been commended by her fellow council members for her “outstanding ethical values, bottom line results and great talent.”

Zubin Mehta

Zubin Mehta, EMBA ‘06
Founder, President & CEO, Global Wave Group
Vice Chair, GAN Council, Orange County

Since graduating from the Executive MBA program in 2006, Zubin has been setting a new standard for alumni participation in Orange County. In addition to mentoring students and attending innumerable alumni events, he is a fixture on both the Orange County Waves and Graziadio Alumni Network Council leadership boards. Perhaps the ultimate testament is that Zubin named his software services firm after our school’s mascot.

Faculty Award

Don Atwater

Donald M. Atwater, Ph.D.
Practitioner Faculty of Economics

A faculty member at Pepperdine for 15 years, Don teaches a wide array of classes, and has taken a leadership position in our full-time program. The field he teaches – economics – can sometimes strike students as theoretical or dry, but Don is praised by his students for his applied approach to economics. He brings the subject to life, and integrates his own rich experience into the classroom. The business connections in his background are impressive, and include creating and implementing decision-support technologies at a number of Fortune 100 companies, including AT&T, Intel, Dell Computer, Apple Computer, BHP Minerals, IBM, Bank of America, and Nestle USA. Don also serves as the faculty lead for the Full-time MBA Internship Program and facilitates experiential learning experiences for over 150 students each summer.

Community Service Award

Rodney Boone

Rodney E. Boone, PKE ’04
Operating Partner, DW Healthcare Partners
Chairman & Founder, Mesesso Foundation

Rod has been building and operating healthcare companies for over 20 years. Prior to DWHP, Rod was President and CEO of Royce Medical Holdings, an orthopedics manufacturer. He is also founder of the Mesesso Foundation, an organization that provides scholarships to vulnerable children in Ethiopia. Rod is honored by the generous support his foundation has received from his PKE classmates, faculty members, and the Graziadio School.

Outstanding Corporate Partner Award

AT&T

AT&T

AT&T’s emphasis on leadership and service resonates with the mission of the Graziadio School. We are delighted to honor the organization as our Outstanding Corporate Partner for its contributions to the community and the specific investment it has made in Graziadio talent. We are also pleased that five new graduates will join AT&T’s Leadership Development Program in the summer of 2010.

Our alumnus Kieran P. Nolan, MBA ’89, vice president, Construction & Engineering-West, AT&T Operations, Inc. accepted the award on AT&T’s behalf.

2011 George Award Recipients

Student Awards

Richard Boudreau

Richard George Boudreau, BS, MA, DDS, MD, JD, MBA, PhD
Presidents and Key Executives MBA Program
Attorney at Law
Outstanding Executive Student

Richard is a remarkable talent. He is an experienced executive and healer who exemplifies the Graziadio School’s focus on a values-centered education and lifestyle. With great success in numerous prestigious roles such as maxillo-facial surgeon, attorney, forensic expert, and bioethicist, his passion for learning continues unabated. as he is pursuing a doctorate degree in the United Kingdom with an emphasis on medical ethics. When asked about his greatest achievement he responded: I look at myself as a father and friend who includes loyalty, protective instinct, understanding, patience, support, and endearing love as the greatest accomplishment.

Carol Howard

Carol Howard
Full-time MBA Program
International MBA
Outstanding Full-time Student

Carol’s ambition, commitment, and compassion exemplify her as a leader. Whether planning NAWMBA cultural events, mentoring incoming students as an emerging leader or discussing concept application in the classroom, Carol inspires her peers to tirelessly follow their passion. As an international MBA at the Graziadio School, she represented the student body abroad at the HKUST in Hong Kong and the IE Business School in Madrid, Spain, and helped international students integrate at the Malibu campus. Carol was also an esteemed member of YPO and The Executive Committee (TEC).

Gina Paone

Gina Paone
Master of Science in Organization Development
Deputy Division Chief of HRD & Staff Development
International Monetary Fund
Outstanding MSOD Student

Gina is graduating this August, and is currently a deputy division chief of HRD and staff development with the International Monetary Fund. She is highly regarded among her peers as always bringing a positive, thoughtful, and heartfelt perspective to the class. Her contribution to others learning is matched only by her own embrace of learning that is offered by the program. Gina is an example of academic excellence, incredible “use of self” as an instrument of change, and a person who deeply cares for others less fortunate in the world and has put that into action.

Kevin Streeter

Kevin Streeter
Bachelor of Science in Management
Director, Surgical Services
Verdugo Hills Hospital
Outstanding Bachelor Student

Kevin is a recent April graduate of the bachelor’s completion program and has been accepted into the MBA program starting this summer. He was inducted into the Beta Gamma Sigma Honor society with a 3.8 grade point average. He’s employed by Verdugo Hills Hospital as director of surgical services. Kevin has an ADN degree in nursing, is a registered nurse and has served as a hospital corpsman for six years in the Navy. He will be working with the Pepperdine Waves of Service talking with youth groups about being a medical nurse.

Nancy Yu

Nancy Yu
Fully Employed MBA Program
Purchasing Manager
Surfaces USA
Outstanding Part-time Student

Nancy is graduating this August and is a candidate for the Beta Gamma Honor Society. With a concentration in entrepreneurship, she plans to start her own business and is on target to have her product available to the consumer market this fall. “Nancy is a problem solver and an idea generator,” according to her professor, Dr. Larry Cox. “She’s a great presenter – by far the best pitcher in her class. And she has an infectious energy and drive.”

Alumni Awards

Meisha Sherman

Meisha Sherman
EMBA 2005
Director of External Relations, GAN council, Los Angeles
Manager, Leadership Development
Raytheon
Outstanding Alumnus

Meisha is a graduate of the executive MBA program and has played an instrumental role in the leadership of GAN LA and the Black Alumni Council. She established and fostered the Graziadio School’s charity partnership with the Magic Johnson Foundation and led the coordination of the first volunteer fair for the 2011 Graziadio School Career Forum. Meisha has also been actively involved in the recruitment and professional advancement of Graziadio School students. She has referred numerous students to Pepperdine, has facilitated on-campus visits for students to Raytheon, and was active in the Graziadio School’s student mentorship program. Meisha is a dedicated volunteer who has molded the lives of future and current alumni.

Faculty Award

John Paglia

John Paglia
Associate Professor of Finance
Pepperdine University
Outstanding Faculty Member

John is the associate professor of finance at the Graziadio School. Two years ago, he launched the Pepperdine Private Capital Markets Project. This one of-a-kind project has done groundbreaking research into the behavior and traits of private capital markets. Since then, the project has published five reports on private capital markets and has been downloaded more than 15,000 times in over 60 countries. Media coverage of this work has included the Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, Business Week, Forbes, the Investor’s Business Daily, and ABC News. Through this project, John is recognized as a faculty member who has leveraged business connections for a tremendous impact at the Graziadio School and Pepperdine University.

Waves of Service Award

Cassandra Loch

Cassandra Loch, MBA 2006
Chief Program Officer
Prototypes
Waves of Service Award

Cassandra earned her MBA in 2006. In the year of her graduation she was appointed chief program officer for PROTOTYPES, Centers for Innovation in Health, Mental Health in Social Services. In less than a year, she was promoted to the office of the president and chief executive officer. She has been described as “a smart and patient change agent” because of her role in advancing PROTOTYPES and improving the efficiency and effectiveness of the organization. Cassandra has led PROTOTYPES toward its nonprofit status, which allows it to provide innovative health and social services to more than 15,000 women, children, and communities affected by substance abuse, mental illness, and domestic violence.

Outstanding Corporate Partner Award

disney

The Walt Disney Company is a valued corporate partner to the Graziadio School and has demonstrated active and increasing support over the last five years. Disney has provided MBA-level case projects through the Education to Business program and engaged more than 125 students across five key projects. In addition, Disney has maintained an active recruiting relationship with the school, consistently posting opportunities on Graziadio Talent Online for internships and full-time positions. In recent years, Disney has hired 12 MBA students and graduates for internships and full-time employment.

2012 George Award Recipients

Student Awards

David Denicke

David Denicke
Outstanding Full-time MBA Student

David, who will graduate this month, has inspired success in his peers by demonstrating leadership throughout his time at the Graziadio School. While earning his MBA, David launched the successful new Sports Management Club in the Fall 2011. He has been an active contributor to the Graziadio Voice, sharing his experiences with current and incoming students. In addition, David was selected to travel to Montreal, Canada with four of his peers to represent Pepperdine in the week-long Molson Case Competition, an international competition comprised of top students from around the world. David will embark on the next chapter of his career as an employee of Sony Electronics.

Angie Namenuk

Angie Namenuk
Outstanding Executive Student

Angie has shown solid leadership from the Executive MBA workshop both in the class and on her team as an interactive participant and presenter.  As an Associate Director of Business Development at Genentech, Angie is highly respected and looked up to by her peers. She brings over 16 years of professional experience, specializing in strategic business management, project management, and research. Angie takes great pride in balancing her career with her commitment to her family and has taken an active role in her children's education and extra-curricular activities. She attended Willamette University with a bachelor of science in biochemistry, and completed a certificate program at the University of California, Berkeley. Angie currently boasts a 3.80 GPA, and is expected to graduate from the Graziadio School's Executive MBA program this year.

Scot Hutton

Scot Hutton
Outstanding Part-time Student

Scot is an exemplary member of the Graziadio School community, demonstrating great leadership as a recent graduate of the BSM program, and now as an enrolled student in the MBAJ program. Scot is a retired U.S. Marine who was injured while serving in Iraq, and now spends much of his time speaking and working with new Veterans entering the civilian world. Scot's model service to the U.S. and standout headship at the Graziadio School earned him the honor of delivering a speech at the August 2011 commencement ceremonies as the elected student speaker. His influence has bettered Pepperdine University's relationship with the student-veteran community, and has been credited with a substantial increase in charitable donations over the last two years. Having just recently earned a bachelor of science degree from Pepperdine University, Scot will go on to receive his MBA later this year.

Linda LoRe

Linda LoRe
Outstanding Presidents and Key Executives Student

Linda has an impressive executive résumé that spans over twenty years, serving in top leadership positions for numerous renowned corporations. In her current role, Linda is CEO and President at The Engagement Principle, a social enterprise devised to help turn the workplace back to an engaged and profitable place of business. The company's non-profit component introduces the Future Generations Fund, giving an opportunity for at-risk youth to cultivate their talents and ultimately find a career path. Linda became the youngest female CEO of a Fortune 500 company ever when she took the reins of Giorgio Beverly Hills. Thereafter, she spent 12 years as both CEO and President of Fredrick's of Hollywood Group, Inc. Linda won the top honor in the women CEO category for her visionary leadership and successful financial track record from the Los Angeles-based Bottom Line Broads. Linda prides herself in leading by example; she is the founding Board Member of the Youth Mentoring Connection, which serves at-risk youth in Southern California. She is a also a member of the Trusteeship of the International Women's Forum, The Women's Leadership Board for the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University, the Board of Advisors for the Fashion Institute of Design Merchandising (FIDM) and the United States Air Force, as its Entertainment and Industry Liaison emeritus.

Christopher Prazak

Christopher Prazak
Outstanding Bachelor of Science Student

Christopher's leadership has not gone unnoticed by his professors; he is scholastically ranked in the top 5% of his class and stands out among his peers. He has over 20 years of sales and management experience in North and South America, with specialties in vertical market and talent development. He is currently working as a Sales Manager with Danaher Motion in the San Diego area. This coming summer, Christopher will embark on his next academic passage; he has enrolled in Pepperdine University's MBAJ program. He is active in numerous church and service projects. He will graduate from the Graziadio School's Bachelor of Science in Management program this spring with a 3.79 GPA.

Yan Zhang

Yan Zhang
Outstanding Full-time Master of Science Student

Yan Zhang will graduate this August with his Master of Science in Applied Finance. Upon graduating, Yan plans to pursue a career in investment banking. Yan is highly regarded by his faculty and shines in his ability to reach out for opportunities that will strengthen his skillsets. He successfully completed “Training on the Street” to hone his financial modeling skills and participated in the ACG Cup, a financial casecompetition. Yan completed an internship with China International Capital Corporation, the largest investment bank in China, as well as at Deloitte in its auditing department. Yan holds a bachelor’s degree in economics from Shanghai Jiaotong University.


Alumni Award

Dat Do

Dat T. Do
Outstanding Alumnus

Dat is a co-founder of Derivatas, a provider of online tools for IRC 409A valuations, ASC 718 financial reporting and investment decision purposes. He was formerly with PricewaterhouseCoopers LLP as a valuation specialist and financial engineer, and before that, he headed his own consulting firm, in addition to several years in the corporate banking sector.

Dat is recognized by the Graziadio School for his pioneering and entrepreneurial spirit. It was armed with guidance and support from his colleagues, and a round of angel funding, that he was able to launch the software development that catapulted Derivatas into a mainstream success.

Dat completed his undergraduate coursework UCLA, where he earned a bachelor of science degree in applied mathematics, and later earned an MBA in finance from the Graziadio School of Business and Management in 2005.

Faculty Award

Doreen Shanahan

Doreen Shanahan
Outstanding Faculty Member

An impassioned educator, emphasizing applied and experiential learning, Doreen began teaching at the Graziadio School in 2002. She is responsible for creating, developing, and successfully launching the GSBM's E2B program (Education-to-Business). This structured program provides students the opportunity to gain real-world business experience as they work in competing consulting teams to resolve current business problems for partnering companies. She currently serves as director for this program.

Doreen worked for more than 20 years in corporate America in the consumer package goods, publishing and advertising industries, gaining expertise in marketing, strategic planning, branding, promotion, distribution, sales, customer management, and organizational leadership.

Her administrative responsibilities have included Vice Chair for the University's Strategic Programs and Marketing Group; program research and development; Annual Business Plan Competition faculty judge; and curriculum development. Her current research, speaking and consulting efforts are focused on developing and harnessing an organization's orientation toward marketing to lead growth and innovation.

Waves of Service Award

Betty LaMarr

Betty LaMarr
Waves of Service Award

Betty founded and currently serves as CEO of EmpowHer Institute, an organization that helps low-income females develop entrepreneurial skills, enabling them to achieve economic freedom since 2003. She has been a strong alumni advocate for the placement of Graziadio School students and has been an avid participant in the Graziadio School's annual Career Forum for several years. She has served as a mentor to one of the Graziadio School's strongest partner organizations, the National Association of Women MBAs (NAWMBA). Betty is a past honoree of the Los Angeles Business Journal's annual Women Making a Difference Awards.

Outstanding Corporate Partner Award

SCE

 

More than 200 Pepperdine graduates have been a part of the Edison and/or Southern California Edison work force in a variety of roles. It is since 2008 however, that Edison International's Corporate Financial Planning Group became a valued recruitment partner of the Graziadio School, and has since sustained a commitment to hiring Graziadio graduates and interns into its highly regarded Corporate Financial Planning Program. Over the last four years, Edison has been regularly holding on-campus interviews, and as a result, hired eight MBA interns and four full-time employees from the Graziadio School.

Guest Speaker

William J. McMorrow

William McMorrow

William McMorrow is chairman and chief executive officer of Kennedy Wilson, which he purchased in 1988 as a real estate auction company. He is the architect of the company's expansion into an international firm offering a comprehensive array of real estate investments and services, with 23 offices in the U.S., Europe and Japan as well as more than 300 employees. William attended Loyola High School in Los Angeles and received his Bachelor of Science degree in Business and Master of Business Administration from the University of Southern California. He serves on the Executive Board of the USC Lusk Center for Real Estate and is involved in numerous Southern California charities, including Chrysalis, which honored him with the Spirit of Chrysalis Award in 2005, the Rape Treatment Center, the Village School and Loyola High School, which inducted him as a Cahalan Award recipient in 2010. Additionally, Mr. McMorrow is a member of the Loyola High School Board of Regents.

 

 

2013 George Award Recipients

Student Awards

Ryan Bradford

Ryan Bradford
Outstanding Student – Bachelor of Science Program
Video

As a student in the Bachelor of Science in Management (BSM) program, Ryan Bradford has excelled in his coursework and shown a genuine enthusiasm for learning. Throughout his time as a student at the Graziadio School, Bradford has impressed faculty with his leadership skills in the classroom, as well as his ability to relate current economic and political events to discussions and coursework. He has successfully managed taking classes in the evenings while advancing in his role with Disney Worldwide Services where he is currently a senior sourcing specialist. Bradford expects to graduate from the BSM program in December 2013, after which he will enroll in the Graziadio School's joint MBA program.

Adam Buffum

Adam Buffum
Outstanding Student – Full-time MBA Program
Video

Adam Buffum is a 20-month MBA candidate (2013) at the Graziadio School of Business and Management where he is focusing on sales and marketing. Upon graduation, he will also receive a Certificate in Socially, Environmentally, and Ethically Responsible (SEER) Business Strategy. Adam is the director of alumni affairs for the Malibu Graduate Business Society and sits on the Ethics Committee. In addition, he has been honored as an Emerging Leader mentor, and is a member of the Challenge 4 Charity, Marketing, and Finance Clubs. Last summer he was an intern with IBM which led to a post-graduate full-time role where he will be managing and expanding existing relationships with Amgen and Roche as a client representative. He received a bachelor of arts degree in psychology from the University of California at Berkeley.

Garrett Gilbertson

Garrett Gilbertson
Outstanding Student – Master of Science in Entrepreneurship Program
Video

A decorated lieutenant of the United States Air Force, Garrett Gilbertson brings a unique perspective to the classroom as a student currently enrolled in the Master of Science in Entrepreneurship program.Throughout his career with the Air Force, he leadership skills have led to greater efficiencies in operations and completion of contracts. He has received numerous awards and accolades for his work and service with the Air Force. Gilbertson has also actively volunteered with organizations throughout his professional career, lending his time to organizations such as the Special Olympics and the Nativity House homeless shelter in Tacoma, Washington. Gilbertson earned his bachelor of science degree from the United States Air Force Academy. 

Mercedes McBride-Walker

Mercedes McBride-Walker
Outstanding Student – Master of Science in Organization Development Program
Video

With over 20 years of professional experience, Mercedes McBride-Walker is a trusted strategic partner, seasoned global Total Rewards professional, certified life coach, award-winning public speaker, gifted facilitator, and lifetime learner. The culmination of her experience and education allows her to bring value-added thought leadership to help organizations build the capacity for tackling their greatest challenges through their people, performance and rewards strategies. As a Master of Science in Organization Development program candidate at the Graziadio School, she is recognized for her servant leadership, integrity and professionalism. She is now focused on leveraging her experience helping organizations meet their greatest challenges through the alignment of strategy, performance and rewards. Exemplifying the program ethos of academic rigor and relevance, her outstanding thesis research will be presented at the Graziadio School's upcoming Talent Management Symposium[BROKEN LINK] on April 19, 2013.

Margaret Stonestreet

Margaret Stonestreet
Outstanding Student – Fully Employed MBA Program
Video

Margaret Stonestreet is a student in the Fully Employed MBA program at the Graziadio School. As a student, Stonestreet is recognized for consistently finding ways to improve the overall classroom experience for her peers and herself. Faculty and fellow students note that her strong leadership in group projects has led to the delivery of superior quality results and reports. In her current work as a store manager of a Starbucks in Santa Barbara, she leads and manages a team of nearly 20 individuals. She ensures that customers receive the service and products that exceed the Starbucks standard. Prior to her work with Starbucks, she was a project manager and writer for Sanford Systems, Inc. She embodies the University's spirit with her compassion, humility, and generosity to others. Outside of school and work, she volunteers and lends her time to several Santa Barbara-area organizations, including Habitat for Humanity, Santa Barbara Dance Institute, and the Special Olympics. Stonestreet earned a bachelor of arts degree from the University of California at Santa Barbara. 

Alice Wan

Rui "Alice" Wan
Outstanding Student – Full-time Master of Science in Applied Finance Program
Video

Rui 'Alice' Wan is a first-year student in the Master of Science in Applied Finance program at Pepperdine University's Graziadio School of Business and Management. She received a bachelor of business administration degree from the Chinese University of Hong Kong, where she was the recipient of numerous academic awards. As a student, Wan has been an active member of the Graziadio School student body, participating in the VCLL Case Competition and the ACG Cup. In addition, she is the recent winner of the first Values Driven Leadership Scholarship for students enrolled in a full-time master of science degree program. Wan is currently an intern at Claros Communications where she is building financial models. She expects to complete her degree in August 2013.

Jennifer Westpfahl

Jennifer Westpfahl
Outstanding Student – Executive MBA Program
Video

Jennifer Westpfahl's tremendous career and industry perspective has made her an exemplary member of her Executive MBA cohort (EMBA 93). Westpfahl seamlessly navigates between the conceptual and the concrete thought process, all while demonstrating a suberb level of self-awareness through applied learning. Westpfahl is an executive director at Morgan Stanley Smith Barney, LLC, where her tremendous career and industry perspective have proven to be a great asset to her cohort, serving as both an informal leader and a supportive individual teammate. Westpfahl is an active volunteer and philanthropist currently serving the Los Angeles Food Bank and the Yosemite Conservancy. She earned a bachelor of business administration degree from the University of Central Arkansas. She also holds numerous active securities licenses.

Alumni Award

Danni Sun

Danni Sun, PhD, MBA '99
Outstanding Alumni
Video

Dr. Danni Sun has a vast background in business and philanthropic endeavors. Dr. Sun is the president of LJC Investments, and was previously was the director of business development at Riviera, Modern Luxury, a subsidiary of the second-largest media company in the country. She has started several businesses, ranging from health and wellness to computer software. Notably, she operated the first business to distribute Apple computers in California, and later, China. Dr. Sun graduated from the University of Oklahoma in 1987, and went on to earn an MBA from the Graziadio School of Business and Management at Pepperdine University in 1999. She completed a doctorate program from Washington Tech University in 2010. Continuing what she hopes to be a lineage of Pepperdine University graduates, Dr. Sun's eldest daughter is a 2002 graduate of Seaver College; she expects to enroll her youngest daughter there next year. Dr. Sun is actively involved with the Pepperdine Alumni Association, serving on the board of the Orange County Waves. While enrolled as a student, she studied in Oxford, England. As an alum, she regularly organizes reunions with her former abroad classmates.

Faculty Award

Demos Vardiabasis

Demos Vardiabasis, PhD
Outstanding Faculty Member
Video

Dr. Demos Vardiabasis is recognized for his outstanding business connections, leveraging his networks and contacts for the benefit of the Graziadio School. He has served as the economic commissioner as well as the chairman of the Entertainment and Tourism Industry Advisory Committee for the State of California. He is a member of the board of directors for the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center and of the China-US Strategic Ventures. He has served in several organizations including, the Latin Business Association Corporate Advisory Council, the Business Advisory Council of NRCC, and the Arthritis Foundation. He has been an active consultant to companies and organizations, and an advisor to sovereign nations.

Staff Award

Gabriella Soroldoni

Gabriella Soroldoni, MBA '80
Outstanding Staff Member
Video

Associate Dean Gabriella Soroldoni leads the admission, financial aid, student accounts, student systems, technology services and finance and budgeting efforts for the Graziadio School of Business and Management at Pepperdine University. Prior to joining the school in 1976, she served as vice president of a multi-branch travel agency where she oversaw the business operations of the retail, conference and specialized group businesses. Associate Dean Soroldoni earned her MBA from Pepperdine University in 1980.

Waves of Service Award

Janis Spire

Janis Spire, MBA
Outstanding Service Award
Video

Janis Spire has been president and CEO of Alliance for Children's Rights (ACR) since 2002. As CEO, she strives to protect the rights of over 100,000 impoverished and abused children and youth.  Previously, Spire served as chief operating officer of the Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation for eight years. Prior to that, she worked for over a decade as a leader in healthcare and medical practice management. In 2012 Los Angeles Magazine named Spire to its "2012 Game Changers" list of women whose work had a profound impact on L.A. She was selected for her unending efforts "to protect L.A.'s most vulnerable residents–neglected and abused kids." Spire has been a Pepperdine University Waves of Service Leader since 2010 and is a 1987 graduate of the Graziadio School's Fully Employed MBA program. Spire has made significant contributions that have had a positive impact on both society at large, and the organizations and communities in which she works. Her accomplishments are in alignment with the University's mission to strengthen lives for "purpose, service and leadership."

Guest Speaker

Stevan Calvillo

Stevan Calvillo
Attorney at Law, Calvillo & Meyer, LLP
Video

With more than 30 years experience as a trial attorney, Stevan Calvillo is now a full time neutral, mediating litigated disputes. He is a member of the Southern California Mediation Association and, in addition to his private practice, Calvillo & Meyer, LLP, he serves as a court appointed mediator for the Los Angeles Superior Court. A former partner of the firm of Ball, Hunt, Hart, Brown and Baerwitz, Calvillo has represented numerous real estate developers, banks, and title companies in litigation and transaction matters. He has litigated and defended franchise lawsuits nationwide, with the successful defense of several multi-million dollar claims. He has tried and arbitrated more than 200 cases, successfully argued cases on appeal, both in the California Appellate system and before the 9th Circuit Court of Appeals, and has developed extensive experience in the arbitration of lawsuits. He also served as a Los Angeles Superior Court judge pro-tem for settlement in Long Beach and as an arbitrator for the Long Beach Bar Association Attorney-Client Fee Disputes. Calvillo earned bachelor's degrees in political science and history from San Diego State University and a law degree from Western State College of Law (now Thomas Jefferson School of Law).

2014 George Award Recipients

Student Recipients

Jerome Novack, Jr.

Jerome Novak, Jr.
Outstanding Student – Fully Employed Bachelor of Science in Management Program
Video

Jerome Novak, Jr. is the director of clinical engineering at Masimo Corporation, a medical devices company. He has been with the company for 18 years, and develops novel diagnostic and monitoring methods for the company. With a diverse clinical and technical background, he applies strengths from both disciplines in his work and has more than 40 patents issued or pending. He has been recognized as both an outstanding student and a leader in the best traditions of the school. Currently, Novak is working on a joint BSM/MBA degree at Pepperdine University.

Matthew Sheridan

Matthew Sheridan
Outstanding Student – Fully Employed MBA Program
Video

Matthew Sheridan, director of marketing for aerospace products at Meggitt Safety Systems, is responsible for new business development, relationship management, and negotiations with Boeing while managing the account. He brought extensive experience in the aerospace and aircraft industries to his current role with positions previously held at Parker Aerospace, Curtiss Wright Flight Systems, and McDonnell Douglas Aircraft Company. Sheridan’s FEMBA professors believe he is one of our most outstanding MBA students and promises to be a stellar alumnus. Sheridan holds a bachelor of science in mechanical engineering from Loyola Marymount University. He expects to graduate from the FEMBA Program in December 2014.

Manning Chen

Manning Chen
Outstanding Student – Full-time Master of Science in Global Business Program
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After receiving a degree in finance and banking from Zhejiang University in China, Manning Chen is now enrolled in the Master of Science in Global Business program. Chen enjoys the challenge of driving change and wants to be involved in creating the future of business. With the strong drive to exceed expectations, she has impressed faculty and fellow students for consistently using her creativity to improve the overall learning and researching experience. In addition, Chen has also actively taken part in business-related events, such as volunteering at the Los Angeles Venture Association, participating in the VCLL Case Competition and making her own private investments. Chen expects to graduate from the MSGB program in December 2014 and is currently pursuing a career in finance.

Brittany Takai

Brittany Takai
Outstanding Student – Full-time MBA Program
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Brittany Takai is a JD/MBA student who obtained her undergraduate degree in economics from UCLA. While pursuing the joint degree, Takai has worked in Ecuador researching its human trafficking laws, at a small corporate securities law firm and at a real estate crowdfunding startup. As a fellow at the law school’s Palmer Center for Entrepreneurship and the Law, she has served as lead consultant within the Micro-Enterprise Program, which helps underprivileged residents of Los Angeles seek gainful employment and launch micro-businesses. Upon graduating from the Graziadio School this month, Takai plans to intern at Red Bull North America during the summer and finish the last year of her law curriculum. In the future, she hopes to work in the action sports or outdoor industry, start and run her own business, and stay active in the real estate industry.

Executive Programs Recipients

Juliet Irwin

Juliet Irwin
Outstanding Student – Master of Science in Organization Development Program
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With over 17 years of professional experience, Juliet Irwin is a trusted strategic partner, seasoned organizational change management professional and lifetime learner. She has been a solutions-focused consultant for many years, working both independently and for international consulting firms. Today she owns a consulting business in Calgary, Canada. As a Master of Science in Organization Development candidate at the Graziadio School, she is recognized for her strengths in leadership, in particular she took on the leadership position for a major cohort project in China. Irwin is an experienced professional who exemplifies the Pepperdine mission, which prepares students for lives of purpose, service and leadership. She will be an exemplary graduate. Irwin volunteers her time at organizations such as the Calgary Outdoor Club and the Canadian Cancer Society. She earned her bachelor of science in psychology from the University of Alberta in Canada.

Nora Crivello

Nora Crivello
Outstanding Student – Executive MBA Program
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Nora Crivello is a vice president of Westpak, Inc., a private testing laboratory in San Jose and San Diego. Since receiving her BS in biological sciences from California Lutheran University, Crivello has worked in various roles within engineering, quality and management leadership capacities at Westpak. Crivello came to the Pepperdine Executive MBA program in Northern California with the goal of further building her business acumen and obtaining the tools necessary to take Westpak to the next level of success. While in the program, Crivello has stood out as a collaborative leader with an unparalleled work ethic. Her peers enjoy her enthusiasm, friendly demeanor and appreciate her high personal and team academic standards, while professors commend her integrity, stewardship and compassion. She has an unwavering dedication to self-improvement and knowledge, which she continually shares with those around her. Crivello will graduate from the EMBA program with highest honors while maintaining her most important role as a wife and mother to two young children.

Waves of Service Award Recipient

Molly Moen

Molly Moen, MBA'01
Outstanding Service Award
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Molly Moen is chief operating officer of the Downtown Women’s Center (DWC), a nationally-recognized nonprofit organization offering housing and supportive services to more than 4,000 homeless women on Los Angeles’ Skid Row each year. She is responsible for guiding the day-to-day business operations of the organization and providing strategic leadership for the organization. In her role, Moen has managed DWC through a period of unprecedented growth, taking the annual budget from $1 million to $5.5 million, the staff from 14 to 70, and the numbers served from 1,500 to 4,000. She also spearheaded two capital campaigns, which raised a total of $40 million and enabled the development of 119 units of permanent supportive housing. Moen is a graduate of the Graziadio School’s International MBA program. She met her husband Derek in the IMBA program and they have a son, Wyatt.

Alumni Recipient

Charles Franklin

Charles Franklin, MBA ‘02
Outstanding Alumnus
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Charles Franklin, manager of corporate services at American Honda Motor Co., Inc., oversees a multimillion-dollar annual operations budget and a staff of over 60 individuals. He has applied the skills and knowledge he gained from his Pepperdine MBA to reduce Honda’s operations costs by over $200 million dollars. Franklin has lent his service to a number of leadership roles, including as vice president of the National Business Travel Association, chief volunteer officer of Challengers Boys and Girls Club, and chairman of the Black Alumni Council. Franklin earned his MBA in 2002 from the Fully Employed MBA program. He is happily married to his wife of 26 years. They are the proud parents of a daughter, who is currently a senior at Spelman College.

Faculty Member Recipient

Larry Cox

Larry Cox, PhD
Outstanding Faculty Member
Video

Larry William Cox, Ph.D. is an associate professor of entrepreneurship and lead faculty member for the Graziadio School's entrepreneurship programs. Dr. Cox directed the Entrepreneurship Centers at Ball State University and the University of Wisconsin-Madison and was the director of research at the Ewing Marion Kauffman Foundation. Cox attended the University of Nebraska on a basketball scholarship and went on to receive a master's degree in management information systems and a doctorate in strategic management. He came to Pepperdine and completely rewrote the entrepreneurship curriculum to reflect the creative processes of entrepreneurs. During his tenure at the Graziadio School, nearly 100 businesses have been started by his students/alumni, a remarkable number for any graduate business school. An award-winning educator, Cox especially enjoys helping young entrepreneurs and is an inspiring speaker and innovation seminar leader. He is married to Elly and they have four children.

Staff Member Recipient

Michael Sims

Michael Sims
Outstanding Staff Member
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Michael Sims has admirably served as the executive officer for Corporate and External Relations at the Graziadio School since 2001. His leadership of the Board of Visitors and Dean’s Executive Leadership Series, his deep engagement in developing relationships in the business community, and his significant commitment to the school’s entrepreneurship program have been instrumental in growing the school’s reputation and raising funds to support key programs.  Over the years at the Graziadio School, he has also managed alumni and career services, recruitment, marketing and communications. Prior to joining the Graziadio School, Mike had the privilege of working directly with George Graziadio at Imperial Bank. In his current role, he has been a great champion for advancing the Graziadio legacy in all that the school does. Mike and his wife Jeanne live in Malibu and have four children and four grandchildren.

Speaker

William Bone

William Bone
Founder and CEO, Sunrise Company
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In 1963, William Bone founded Sunrise Company. Today, he serves as chairman of the board and chief executive officer of the company. Sunrise is best-known as the developer of premier golf and luxury residential communities throughout Southern California, Nevada, Arizona and Mexico. Bone is nationally-recognized as an expert in resort, residential, hotel and recreational development. To his credit, he has developed 16 country clubs, built more than 20 golf courses, constructed over 12,000 homes, built two resort hotels, and developed numerous office buildings, shopping centers and commercial hotels. He is very actively involved in his community and has received numerous honors for his work and contributions in the Palm Desert. Bone received a bachelor of arts in economics from Stanford University and an MBA from Harvard University.

2015 George Award Recipients

Student Recipients


Alina Grecu

Alina Grecu

Fully Employed Bachelor of Science in Management 

Alina Grecu is the Project Manager at ColorNet Press. Throughout both her professional and scholastic career, Ms. Grecu has established a solid reputation among her peers for being highly organized with a keen eye for detail, a natural public speaker and has demonstrated strong work ethics, leadership and enthusiasm to help others. Just shy of ten years working in the visual communications industry, her thirst for learning and desire to meet challenges head-on have never stopped and she continues to successfully lead complex print-related projects. As project manager for high-end award winning boutique printer (ColorNet Press in West Los Angeles) she is inspired daily to learn the ropes of running a business, sharpen her sales skills and aspires to become a motivational leader. Since entering the Bachelor of Science in Management (BSM) program at Graziadio School, Alina has maintained a perfect class attendance record and has held a 3.8 grade point average throughout the entire program. Upon completing BSM program in April 2015, she is pursuing to earn a project management certificate, win a Benny award (Oscar equivalent in the printing industry), and join the MBAJ program with a concentration in leadership and management. Alina's motto "Set goals, but don't just reach them...crush them!".


Jeffrey Shapiro

Jeffrey Shapiro

Fully Employed Master of Business Administration (MBA)

Jeffrey Shapiro is a highly skilled finance manager in the entertainment industry. Over the last seven years, Jeffrey built integrated production accounting systems at some of the industries most cutting edge visual effects and animation studios. Jeffrey is a second year Fully-Employed MBA student who completed every course in the program in the Flex format. Last year, Jeffrey became the Manager of Finance at Sony Pictures Animation by directly applying the values-centered leadership skills obtained from the Graziadio curriculum. In addition to attending Pepperdine and working full time at Sony Pictures, Jeffrey manages his own independent film production company that released its first feature length film. Jeffrey holds a bachelor of science in business administration at the University of Colorado at Boulder. He expects to graduate from the FEMBA program in August 2015.


Yury Adamov

Yury Adamov

Full-Time Master of Business Administration (MBA) 

Yury Adamov completed a BS in Accounting at Loyola Marymount University. While there he studied abroad at Oxford and was involved in a business immersion program in Asia. Afterwards he joined PricewaterhouseCoopers as assurance associate and worked on clients such as Avery Dennison, Screen Actors Guild and Mattel. While at PwC, he was also nominated for a Chairman Award. He was also involved as a mentor and volunteer with the Riordan Programs at UCLA, moving eventually to a board position on the Alumni Board. Afterwards Yury worked for Union Bank as a business strategy analyst followed by a position in the M&A group. Currently Yury attends Graziadio School of Business and Management and is the Vice President of Net Impact.


Suzan Nascimento

Suzan Nascimento

Fully Employed Master of Science in Management and Leadership (MSML)

Suzan Nascimento is an innovative, avant-garde problem-solver with high-standards. She constantly envisions ways to improve and upgrade. As a result, she has a BS in Information Technology and is a 2015 MS in Management and Leadership candidate. While at Pepperdine, Ms. Nascimento identified her purpose to be a passionate leader that empowers people to be confident, trusting and purposeful.

By day, Ms. Nascimento is a global application security manager at Experian. In other words, she helps protect customer information from identity theft and helps companies stay off the front-page news due to a data breach. She does this by engaging thousands of software development staff to understand, commit to and advocate for application security. By night, she works for SURE Consulting, which stands for Strategic Understanding, Reliable Expertise. SURE Consulting performs pro bono management and leadership consulting for non-profit organizations. Ms. Nascimento is also expanding the service offering to include self-awareness and holistic productivity consulting. In addition, Ms. Nascimento is preparing a podcast and blog launch in 2015 called "Heart Work."


Tian Tan

Tian Tan

Full-Time Master of Science in Applied Finance (MSAF)

Tian Tan is a student in the Master of Science in Applied Finance and will graduate in August 2015. She completed her undergraduate degree at Shanghai Jiaotong University with a major in finance and a minor in news and broadcasting. Tian continues to pursue academic goals in the field of finance and is a CFA level I candidate. Faculty and fellow students speak highly of Tian for her high degree of professionalism, integrity, courage and leadership. In addition, Tian actively participates in school-wide activities and is a senator of Alumni Affairs, Malibu Graduate Business Society, Pepperdine University. Tian expects to be the bridge between alumni and Pepperdine. Her future plans include pursuing a career in finance in the areas of fixed income and equity investments.


Ruth Weller

Ruth Ann Weller

Master of Science in Organization and Development (MSOD) 

Ruthie holds a bachelor's of science in human development and family studies from Texas Tech University. Early in her career she worked for the State of Texas - Child Protective Services as a caseworker specializing in conservatorship. She also did social work through a private non-profit residential program at Methodist Children's Home. She lived in North Africa for six years where she taught English and technology classes at a private Women's university and high school. In 2007, she returned to the United States and took a position with Antioch
Community Church in Waco, Texas as Director of Team Training.

In her current position as Director of Staff Development at Antioch, Ruthie utilizes her international experience and expertise in team dynamics to develop leaders and teams both locally and abroad. She works with domestic teams throughout the United States and international teams stationed across Europe, Africa, the Middle East and Asia. Ruthie is an International Coach Federation Associate Certified Coach. She is currently pursuing a master's degree in organization development from Pepperdine University. Her extracurricular interests include investing quality time in family and friends along with kayaking, hiking, mountain biking and being outside to enjoy nature as much as possible.


Harriet Ells

Harriet Ells

Executive Master of Business Administration (EMBA) 

Harriet Ells has been an outstanding student throughout her EMBA program. She is a proven leader in her cohort, setting an example of leadership and commitment for her fellow students. Ms. Ells is consistently prepared for class and often leads the subject matter discussions. During her studies, she transitioned from a public radio station to the NFL Network, where she has excelled in a male dominated industry. She consistently exhibits the highest standards of character, and her academic work has always been outstanding. Ms. Ells has participated in many Pepperdine events outside of class and often goes out of her way to help her fellow students.

Waves of Service Award


Robert Price

Robert Price, MBA '96

Outstanding Service Award

Robert Price is the executive director of the Global Entrepreneurship Institute. He is a world renown expert in the field of entrepreneurial capitalism. He is a strategist, innovative thought leader, public speaker, creative educator, and prolific author. He has written or edited more than a dozen books on entrepreneurship. His books are required reading at Harvard, Stanford, Babson, UCLA, USC, Caltech, DePaul, and many more leading universities and colleges around the world.

Founded in 1996, the Global Entrepreneurship Institute is a non-profit that educates and supports entrepreneurs around the world. Its mission is to spread wealth creation by encouraging entrepreneurship and sharing knowledge to those who educate and support entrepreneurs. It also facilitates introductions to investors, professional service providers, and other entrepreneurs. Using his exclusive Roadmap to Entrepreneurial Success he has helped entrepreneurs raise over $100 million. Robert earned his MBA from Pepperdine in 1996.

Alumni Service Award


Lore Heffelfinger

Lori Heffelfinger, MSOD '97

Outstanding Alumnus

Lori Heffelfinger has held a passion for developing leaders since 2004. She is fortunate to have learned from the some of the best leaders (and developers of leaders) having spent over 20 years working in the Aerospace and Chemical industries for companies such as Honeywell, Raytheon, Ashland Oil, and Monsanto Company where she herself was a also a leader and accountable for leadership and organizational development in those organizations. While Ms. Heffelfinger was fortunate to have worked for many amazing organizations early in her career and relies on that real world education in her practice, she credits the Pepperdine MSOD program with having transformed her career and her passion for the work she does today.

She graduated with her MSOD degree in 1997 while living in the Midwest. When she moved to southern California in late 2001, her relationship with Pepperdine was rekindled when she re-connected with MSOD faculty and former classmates who introduced her to alumni from other classes in Los Angeles. She is an alumna of the MSOD Program has been an adjunct faculty member and speaker in the Women's Leadership Program. She served on the MSOD Alumni Council for six years, and was Co-Chair for four of those. She has volunteers her time to design and facilitate the last three Graziadio Alumni Network (GAN) Leadership Retreats. She had been a Pepperdine Associate since 2009 and is currently a member of the University Alumni Leadership Council. She consistently mentors and hires Graziadio students and alumni and is a consummate volunteer who is passionate about Pepperdine.

Faculty Member Award


John Buckingham

John Buckingham

Outstanding Faculty Member

Mr. Buckingham has been a successful corporate and entrepreneurial executive during his 30 year career starting with his development of a new division for Colgate Palmolive while still a MBA student in Boston. He has always had a passion for education and has taught marketing, marketing strategy, communications and marketing consulting as an Adjunct Professor with many well known Universities wherever his career took him. He began teaching as an adjunct professor of marketing at the Graziadio School in June, 2004 and became a full-time member of the marketing faculty in 2007 when he sold his latest startup company to a private equity firm in 2007.

Throughout his career, Mr. Buckingham has served as chief executive officer / chief marketing officer for private and public companies including West Chemical of Princeton, New Jersey and Intoximeters of St. Louis, Missouri. Mr. Buckingham was a member of the Young Presidents Organization for 20 years and a member of four different chapters. In May 2008, Mr. Buckingham received the prestigious Significant Sig Award from the International Sigma Chi Fraternity for outstanding business leadership and career success. Mr. Buckingham earned a bachelor of science in Pharmacy with distinction from Purdue University and a master's in business administration from Harvard Business School.

Staff Member Award

Dave Smith

David Smith, PhD

Outstanding Staff Member

David M. Smith has served as interim dean of the Graziadio School of Business and Management since August 1, 2014. Dr. Smith earned his BA from Wheaton College and both his MS and PhD degrees from Michigan State University. Prior to assuming this new position, Dr. Smith has served as associate dean for eight years at the business school, most recently as senior associate dean. In this role, he had primary oversight for the faculty at the Graziadio School, and he was instrumental in launching two new Centers, the Center for Applied Research and the Center for Teaching and Learning Excellence. Dr. Smith also spearheaded the launch of our new online MBA program in 2013.

An economist by training, his expertise includes the areas of labor pay and productivity, data loss, and analysis of specific labor markets. He has published in numerous academic and practitioner outlets. His research on credit unions has been used in arguments before the U.S. Supreme Court as well as in state legislative hearings. David Smith has been a commentator on economic issues for various news media, such as CNN, the London Times, Los Angeles Times, Baltimore Sun, USA Today, the New York Times, and the Investor's Business Daily.

Keynote Speaker

Morgan Rector

Morgan Rector

President, Comerica Entertainment Group

Morgan Rector, President of the Comerica Entertainment Group, is a veteran of the entertainment industry and one of the most respected names in independent film financing. During the past two decades, he has arranged the financing for more than 1200 independent feature films. Morgan began his career at City National Bank, where he was responsible for managing the portfolio of commercial clients within the bank's Entertainment Lending Division. In 1989, Morgan was hired as a vice president by Imperial Bank to create an Entertainment Finance Group for the bank. He became the Entertainment Group President three years later. Under his leadership, the group became the most prolific financier of movies and television in the world. In 2001, Detroit-based Comerica Bank acquired Imperial Bank and named Morgan president of the combined Entertainment Banking groups. Comerica Entertainment Group is a leader in global entertainment finance, with clients ranging from independent film producers to film/television production and distribution companies.

Recent notable films financed by the group include all of the "Twilight" series, all of the "Hunger Games" series, and all of the "Expendables" series. Other recent notable films financed by Comerica include "Zero Dark Thirty", "Crash", and "American Hustle". In 2004, Morgan was named Regional Manager for Comerica's Los Angeles and Ventura County Wealth Management groups, assuming responsibility for the Comerica's largest private banking, brokerage, trust and investment group.

Born and raised in Carson, California, Morgan graduated from Harvard University cum laude with a degree in Economics, and received the Chartered Financial Analyst designation in 1990.

2016 George Award Recipients

Student Recipients


Christina Balcita

Christina Balcita

Fully Employed Bachelor of Science in Management 

This summer Christina Balcita will receive her Bachelor of Science in Management degree. Her path has not been easy. Through faith she has learned to turn obstacles into challenges and challenges into successes. Christina credits growing up in a small country town for keeping her humble, honest, and valuing her integrity. She is driven by her talents and enjoys investigating the “how’s” and “whys” of a given situation. Next month, she will study abroad in China. She hopes to find opportunity and inspiration that will help her achieve her goal of becoming a successful entrepreneur. She expects challenges and knows she can overcome them.


James Berneking

James Berneking

Fully Employed Master of Business Administration (MBA)

James Berneking is a knowledgeable higher education professional and certified project manager. He currently serves as the associate director of accreditation and assessment for the Graziadio School of Business and Management at Pepperdine University. Utilizing a project- oriented approach, he manages a variety of functions including curriculum and accreditation approvals, assessment activities, and faculty data management to create systems and processes that foster innovations and efficiencies while maintaining strong alignment with accreditation standards. He is an MBA candidate at the Graziadio School and holds a BA in politics, philosophy, and economics from The King’s College.


Peter Hsiung

Peter Hsiung

Master of Science in Applied Finance (MSAF)

Peter Hsiung was born in Taiwan and moved to New Zealand where he spent the majority of his childhood. He graduated with a degree in Economics from the University of Maryland and interned for the Chair of the Maryland Ways and Means Committee during his senior year. After he graduated, he worked in insurance asset management and for a startup while learning Mandarin. Peter has a passion for the equity markets and is currently pursuing his Master of Science in Applied Finance at Pepperdine Graziadio. His team, Tsunami Capital, is a finalist in the National Investment Banking Competition (NIBC). Peter is also an active member of the Graziadio community, serving as an officer for the Finance Club where he helps coordinate Wall Street Prep activities.


Kyle Kichner

Kyle Kichner

Fully Employed Master of Science in Management and Leadership (MSML) 

Kyle J. Kichner is the Operations Coordinator for the Western Region of Chevron Shipping LLC.  He is responsible for vessel operations at Chevron’s offshore marine terminals at the West Coast’s largest refinery located in El Segundo, California. Kyle is a certified coach to Chevron employees in the company’s Leadership Roles and Behaviors program. Kyle is a 2008 graduate of the United States Coast Guard Academy where he earned a Bachelor of Science degree in Marine and Environmental Sciences concentrating in Chemistry and Biology. He is also a graduate of the United States Air Force Special Operations School. Kyle holds a Master of Science degree in Biotechnology concentrating in Biodefense and Biosecurity and a Master of Business Administration degree from the University of Maryland.  He is currently pursuing a Master of Science degree in Management and Leadership from Pepperdine University’s Graziadio School of Business. Kyle has a tested and proven track of leading diverse teams in a multitude of unique environments ranging from the battlefield to the boardroom.


Whitney Merritt

Whitney Merritt

Full-Time Master of Business Administration (MBA)

Before attending Pepperdine, Whitney received a BFA in Theatre at the University of Mississippi and moved to Los Angeles to pursue a career in entertainment. She spent several years working in commercial production and for a digital start-up. While at Graziadio, Whitney has served as President of Emerging Leaders, Vice President of the Entertainment Society, and as a champion for two years in the Microenterprise Program. After graduating this April with a concentration in Marketing and the SEER certificate, Whitney will join AT&T as part of the coveted Leadership Development Program. She feels grateful for all the opportunities while at Graziadio and looks forward to staying a part of the community.


Michael Sprague

Michael Sprague

Master of Science in Organization and Development (MSOD) 

Michael is a 2004 Seaver graduate and currently Director of Alumni Relations at Pepperdine University. Michael is completing his thesis, Fear Awareness and Effective Teams, that explores individual fear at work. He was motivated to tackle this study to support people in their vulnerability and as a result help them become more resilient and courageous. Michael’s designed intervention helps bring the very human experience that many of us bury and deny, to the surface, to be examined and shared amongst others at work. As a classmate, Michael is a leader in setting the tone for a culture of care and compassion. He is the one constantly organizing weekend trips, ventures to sporting events and other smaller social gatherings for his MSOD cohort to continue fostering connection and support between class meetings.


Andrea Tampellini

Andrea Tampellini

Executive Master of Business Administration (EMBA) 

Andrea is the Vice President of Sales for ST Microelectronics, a worldwide leader in the manufacture and distribution of microchips. He holds significant revenue and P&L accountabilities while leading his worldwide sales force. Throughout his EMBA 106 journey, Andrea has served as a role model for his classmates. Andrea is viewed as an informal leader known for his executive experience and thoughtful insights he offers in group discussions. Moreover, he willingly shares his own experiences to help build the context and understanding of his fellow classmates. In addition to his top notch performance in the EMBA program, Andrea successfully balances a high profile career and a growing family. 

Corporate Partner Award


Scott Yamamoto

Scott Yamamoto, MBA '12

Bank of America

As one of the largest financial institutions in the world, Bank of America’s purpose globally, is to help customers and clients realize their financial goals, and locally, through its philanthropy and corporate social responsibility, to support the communities where their employees live and work. B of A forged a recruitment partnership with The Graziadio School over seven years ago for the rigorous, competitive MBA Leadership Development Program.

This program emphasizes the development and retention of the company’s future leaders who can drive business forward, operate in a global marketplace, and serve the needs of clients, associates, and shareholders. Our partnership with B of A has grown each year and for the 2015-2016 MBA recruiting cycle includes three full-time hires and five summer interns alone! The ongoing success is due in large part to the efforts of our valued alumni who paved the way for the recruiting relationship and remain actively involved with positioning our students to land these coveted leadership jobs and internships.

Because B of A’s focus on leadership and service resonates well with the mission of the Graziadio School and because of the company’s ongoing involvement with recruiting Graziadio talent we are grateful and honored to present The 2016 Corporate George Award to Bank of America. Accepting the award on behalf of B of A is Scott Yamamoto, Full-Time MBA 2012 graduate, who completed the Consumer Banking LDP and is now Vice President, Business Support at the bank. Scott has been helping students land spots within the LDP since 2012 and has spearheaded the involvement of other Graziadio alumni throughout the recruiting process, particularly this past year after EMBA Alumnus and senior executive Jim Emerick retired and handed the reins over to Scott. We thank them both for their efforts, support, and leadership.

Waves of Service Award


Caroline MacDonald

Caroline MacDonald, EMBA '13

Outstanding Service Award

As Vice President of Sales and Marketing at Rosewood Hotels, Caroline MacDonald is responsible for directing and implementing Marketing & Brand Strategy of the group within the Americas | Europe division and providing synergy and consistency between the corporate office and the individual hotels. Prior to joining Rosewood Hotels & Resorts, Caroline MacDonald held the position as Chief Marketing Officer for Auberge Resorts and was instrumental in the opening and branding of the Auberge properties as well as the brand’s expanding real estate portfolio. During her tenure, the brand garnered some of the top accolades in the hospitality industry from the Green Spa Network, Condé Nast Traveler, Travel + Leisure, and U.S. News & World Report.

Prior to her hospitality career, Caroline was a Staff Sergeant in the United States Air Force, working in Systems Management while stationed in Europe. During peacetime, she wrote computer programs and managed personnel data. During wartime, her position was NBC (Nuclear, Biological and Chemical) Cell Plotter. A graduate of the Pepperdine University Graziadio School of Business, MacDonald received her Masters in Business Administration. MacDonald serves on the Board of Chrysalis, a nonprofit organization dedicated to creating a pathway to self-sufficiency for homeless and low-income individuals. She was recently recognized as a Los Angeles Woman of Influence by American City Business Journals and Bizwomen for 2016.

Alumni Award


Don Goodwin

Don Goodwin, BS ’01, EMBA ‘08

Outstanding Alumnus

Don Goodwin is the executive vice president of The Goodwin Company. The Goodwin Company is a fifth generation family business established in 1922 with an expertise in the production, packaging, and distribution of liquid products including: general household cleaners, automotive appearance products, industrial cleaning products, and engine additives. The Goodwin Company currently manufactures and distributes 60MM gallons of product worldwide from its facilities in Los Angeles and Atlanta.

Don serves as Chairman on the board of directors for a non-profit organization in Orange County, CA named Art and Creativity for Healing. The organization facilitates art projects at healing workshops for children and adults suffering from abuse, illness, grief, and stress. It works with various non-profit agencies such as Human Options, Choc Hospital, and Camp Pendleton. Don is also the President-Elect of the Pepperdine Alumni Leadership Council. Don received his bachelor's degree in business administration and MBA from Pepperdine University. His wife Raquel also attended Pepperdine University and received her MA in clinical psychology with an emphasis in marriage and family therapy. He resides in Orange County, CA with his wife and his two sons Shane and Santiago.

Faculty Member Award


Bernice Ledbetter

Dr. Bernice Ledbetter

Outstanding Faculty Member

Bernice has been active in the corporate and business world through her academic work on women in leadership. She has been an invited speaker and panel member for Rotary, Expedia, Los Angeles Business Journal, AEG, Southern California Edison, Women in Sports and Entertainment, Google, Mattel, Clorox, Lockheed  Martin, and more than two dozen other organizations. She has always had a passion for women’s leadership and won Pepperdine’s prestigious Waves of Innovation Award in 2015 with her proposal to address Women in Leadership issues and networking.

An excellent teacher, Bernice won the Howard A. White Award for Teaching Excellence in 2014. She receives outstanding appreciation from her students and teaches courses such as organizational theory and practice and organizational dynamics and managing change.  Dr. Ledbetter has been quoted extensively in the media including an LA Times feature in the weekly column How I Made It “Getting Women to Lead.” (May 3, 2015).  In 2015, she was quoted by the LA Times four separate times on such women’s issues as “Bias Case May Yet Spur Change” (March 29, 2015), and “Ellen Pao Resigns as Interim CEO of Reddit after Week of Intense Criticism” (July 10, 2015).  In addition to her external connections, Dr. Ledbetter has served Pepperdine as a speaker for Pepperdine’s High Potentials Mentoring Program, the Pepperdine Leadership Conference, Graziadio Board of Visitors, and Seaver Academic Leadership Initiative.