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JFK University Honors Sierra Club Chairman Carl Pope at Commencement

June 15, 2010

Peet's Coffee President & CEO Patrick O'Dea to Give Commencement Address

Pleasant Hill, Calif. - John F. Kennedy University, an affiliate of the National University System, honored the Sierra Club’s President and Chairman Carl Pope with the prestigious Kennedy Citation Lifetime Achievement Award at its 45th annual commencement on Saturday, June 19, at the Paramount Theatre in Oakland.

JFK University honored Mr. Pope in recognition of his significant contributions to the fields of environmental protection and sustainability. Under his leadership, the Sierra Club has helped protect nearly 10 million acres of wilderness, including the California’s Desert and Giant Sequoia National Monument, and led the charge in preserving regulations of the amount of arsenic in America's drinking water and mercury in our fisheries.

In addition to his work with the Sierra Club, Mr. Pope has had a distinguished record of environmental activism and leadership, serving on the boards of organizations such as the California League of Conservation Voters, National Clean Air Coalition, Public Interest Economics, Inc., and Zero Population Growth.

“Carl Pope epitomizes the dedication of effort and commitment to purpose that John F. Kennedy himself represented and which our University strives to develop in our students,” said Dr. Steven Stargardter, President of JFK University. “His resume includes early years with the Peace Corps, which was created by President Kennedy so our community service ties to Carl come full circle.”

Patrick O’Dea, President and CEO of Peet’s Coffee, gave this year’s commencement address. Since May 2001, O’Dea has lead the Peet’s with the vision of building on its position as the premier quality specialty coffee and tea brand in the world. He spoke about the parallel between the worlds of Peet’s and JFKU. About the time when Alfred Peet was opening his first coffee shop in Berkeley, a small group of Bay Area educators had also “brewed” up the idea of making education accessible and accommodating for adult learners. Alfred took a radical departure from what was then available, “emphasizing smaller batches, freshness, superior quality beans, and coffee with richness and complexity.”

In 1965, JFKU’s first President, Harry Morrison, took a radical departure from typical college communities and opened an entirely new kind of campus, with schedules and course work designed for working adults to earn higher degrees. Adult students can be compared to those cups of dark roasted Peet’s coffee… full of richness and complexity. JFKU has been growing and changing during these past four decades, much the same as Peet’s has developed.

O’Dea addressed nearly 500 students who were awarded their undergraduate, graduate and doctoral degrees at the commencement ceremony.

About John F. Kennedy University
Founded in 1964, John F. Kennedy University, an affiliate of the National University System, was among the first institutions of higher education in California committed to lifelong learning for adults. Today, the University’s three Colleges and Continuing Education division provide innovative higher education opportunities to more than 2,000 professionals who, despite a full range of life responsibilities, are determined to advance their education and improve their future. The Continuing Education division provides professional development education to more than 2,500 individuals per year. A pioneer of education that integrates theory and practice, John F. Kennedy University and its students touch the lives of more than 30,000 people in Bay Area communities every year through their support of outreach centers and public programs. For more information, visit

About the National University System
The National University System was established to meet the emerging challenges and demands of education in the 21st century. The System is uniquely aligned to connect a diverse population of students to a network of innovative educational programs that are relevant to their lives, careers, and the marketplace and are delivered in a format that respects competing life priorities. Dr. Jerry C. Lee has served as the System’s Chancellor since it was founded in 2001. In addition to John F. Kennedy University, the affiliates of the National University System are National University; National University International; the Division of Pre-College Programs consisting of National University Virtual High School and National University Academy; Spectrum Pacific Learning; and WestMed College. Entities related to the System include the National University System Institute for Policy Research, National University Golf Academy, and the Center for Integrative Health. For more information, visit: