Tonight I attended the Haas Gala at the Palace Hotel in San Francisco. Haas is the graduate school of business at the University of California at Berkeley. This year there were 650 people in attendance at the sold out event. Among the awards presented was the Lifetime Achievement award, this year given to Richard C. Blum, MBA ’59. Blum is Chair and CEO of Blum Capital Partners and is also the husband of United States Senator Dianne Feinstein. I got to meet Richard after his remarks. I missed the gala last year, where Shantanu Narayen was awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award. I met Shantanu at Haas in about 2005. He made my day because he said he had used my website gOffice.com.
The highlight of the gala this year was getting to see Haas Professor Oliver Williamson speak. Professor Williamson recently won the Nobel prize in Economics. I shot video of Professor Williamson’s remarks, shown above.
My friends Enlai Chu, Michael Berolzheimer, Jerry Engel, David Charron and Nibha Aggarwal were also at the Gala, and it was good to see them. Michael is leading the Haas Entrepreneurs alumni Special Interest Group.
I shot video of Richard’s acceptance speech. His biography from the gala program is interesting, so I’m retyping it here:
Richard C. Blum received his BS in Business Administration in 1958 and and MBA in 1959 from the University of California, Berkeley. He is widely respected for his ability to produce dramatic results, and focuses his considerable energy on big challenges that range from turning around troubled corporations to alleviating global poverty.
Dick is a strong business leader who brings innovation to every venture he tackles. He is Chairman and CEO of Blum Capital Partners, a private equity firm he founded in 1975. He is also Co-Chairman of TPG Capital, Co-Founder of Newbridge Capital (now part of TPG Capital), and Chairman of the Board of CB Richard Ellis Group, Inc. He is also a director of Fairmont Raffles Holding International, Current Media, LLC and Myer Pty. Ltd.
Active in a number of nonprofit organizations, Dick is heralded as a philanthropist of enormous vision. He is Founder and Chairman of the American Himalayan Foundation (AHF), established 25 years ago to help the people and ecology of the Himalaya. In 2006, he provided the seed funding to create the Blum Center for Developing Economies at UC Berkeley, which implements scalable technologies to improve the well-being of people in need, while educating and inspiring students as a new generation of global citizens. He also founded the Global Economy and Development Center at the Brookings Institution and the Brookings Blum Roundtable Conference to develop policy research strategy.
Dick is the former Chairman of the University of California Board of Regents and now serves as a Regent. He has played a pivotal role as a member of the Haas School Board since 1984. He is also a trustee and a member of the executive committee of The Carter Center, and on the boards of The Wilderness Society and The California Academy of Sciences.
He received the Haas School of Business Alumnus of the Year Award in 1994 and was recently honored with the Berkeley Medal by Chancellor Robert Birgeneau in the presence of His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama. Dick is married to United States Senator Dianne Feinstein.
After cocktails but before dinner a band came on stage for few minutes to entertain the guests.