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Jeff Skoll to Be Stanford Graduate School of Business First-Ever Guest Graduation Speaker

Stanford Graduate School of Business (GSB) will feature a guest speaker as part of its graduation ceremony for the first time ever this spring. Philanthropist and entrepreneur Jeff Skoll, the first president of eBay, will address the Class of 2010 in what is expected to be the beginning of a new tradition for the annual business school degree ceremony. “Our students asked us for an inspirational speaker on this important day to help them envision the roles they may undertake to change lives, change organizations, and change the world through managed organizations of all kinds,” Stanford GSB Dean Garth Saloner said in a statement announcing the news. “I can’t think of anyone better to model the life of meaning and impact we want our students to pursue than Jeff Skoll. He built a remarkable organization at eBay, and now has gone on to have an enormous impact on social issues through both his film and his philanthropic work,” Saloner continued.

Skoll, a 1995 graduate of the Stanford GSB, went to work as the first employee and president of online auction powerhouse eBay. From there he went on to found the Skoll Foundation in 1999, which quickly became the world’s largest foundation for social entrepreneurship, supporting more than 60 organizations around the globe that work to improve environmental sustainability, public health and conflict resolution. Skoll also founded Participant Media in 2004, which has created a number of documentary films focused on social issues. Its award-winning productions include An Inconvenient Truth, Food Inc., Charlie Wilson’s War, Good Night and Good Luck, Syriana, the Soloist, the Kite Runner and the Cove, which won an Oscar in 2010 for best documentary film.

And in his most recent endeavor, Skoll launched the Skoll Global Threats Fund in 2009, which seeks solutions to issues of climate change, water scarcity, pandemics, nuclear proliferation and Middle East conflict. Skoll will deliver the inaugural guest commencement speech at Stanford GSB’s graduation ceremony on June 12, 2010.

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