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Hewlett Foundation President Paul Brest to Deliver Keynote Speech at Laney College Commencement Ceremony

Hewlett Foundation President Paul Brest to Deliver Keynote Speech at Laney College Commencement Ceremony

18 May 2010, Oakland, CA – Paul Brest, President of the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation will serve as the keynote speaker at the college’s 2010 commencement ceremonies. Brest will be recognized for his leadership in education and will share his vision for California’s students and community colleges in particular.

“We are deeply honored to welcome Mr. Brest into the Laney community for this important day,” said Dr. Elnora Webb, president of Laney College. “Mr. Brest and the Hewlett Foundation have both shown unwavering dedication to the ideals of student achievement and increased access to learning opportunities, ideals that we hold at the heart of our Laney College educational mission.”

As president of the Hewlett Foundation, Brest oversees a foundation with programs spanning education, the arts, population, global development, and the environment for one of the nation’s largest philanthropic organizations. In 2009 alone, the Hewlett Foundation disbursed over $345 million in grants and gifts. The foundation’s educational grantmaking is directed towards improving education for California students, equalizing educational opportunities in the United States and throughout the world through Open Educational Resources, and improving achievement in disadvantaged communities in the San Francisco Bay Area. The Hewlett Foundation has undertaken an array of initiatives involving community colleges, including the “Community College Open Textbook Project,” an initiative to provide free, online textbooks to students.

Brest received an A.B. from Swarthmore College in 1962 and an LL.B from Harvard Law School in 1965. He served as law clerk to Judge Bailey Aldrich and Supreme Court Justice John M. Harlan, and practiced with the NAACP Legal Defense and Educational Fund, Inc., in Jackson, Mississippi, doing civil rights litigation before joining the Stanford Law School faculty in 1969, where his research and teaching focused on constitutional law and problem solving/decision making. From 1987 to 1999, he served as the dean of Stanford Law School. Brest is co-author of multiple titles on philanthropy and constitutional law. Brest holds honorary degrees from Northeastern Law School and Swarthmore College, and is a member of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

“Community colleges like Laney are at the forefront of three major initiatives that can dramatically transform California: they train workers for our growing industries, provide critical transitions from high school to 4-year degree programs, and supply the necessary foundational skills that all individuals need to succeed in our society,” said Brest. “I’m particularly pleased to have the chance to talk to Laney’s students, whose success will be so important to the success of California.”

This month marks Laney College’s 63rd commencement ceremonies. For the first time ever, the celebration will be held in the historic Fox Theater in downtown Oakland. The event will take place May 28 at 7PM.

For more information, contact Public Information Officer Eliza Y Chan at elizachan@peralta.edu or 510-464-3161.