University of the Pacific is pleased to announce that Walter Robb, Co-CEO of Whole Foods Market, will be the 2013 Commencement Speaker. Commencement will be held at 9 a.m. on May 4th in the Alex G. Spanos Center.
Under Robb’s guidance, Whole Foods Market has become the leading retailer of natural and organic foods and was named America’s Healthiest Grocery Store by Health magazine. The company is known for being a champion for ecologically sustainable and socially responsible business practices. The company supports organic farming, promotes reusable bags in its stores, and was the first major retailer in the U.S. to offset 100 percent of its energy costs with wind power credits. It also sponsors the Whole Planet Foundation, which helps relieve poverty through microcredit loans in countries where products are sourced, and the Whole Kids Foundation, which works to improve children’s nutrition and wellness throughout the U.S.
Robb also has several personal ties to Pacific. His two sons, Ted ’02 and Chris ’06, attended the University, and last year he donated $100,000 to the founding of the Ted and Chris Robb Garden on the Stockton campus. He also serves on the University’s Board of Regents, where he helped lead an effort two years ago to establish a community garden at the Pacific McGeorge School of Law in Sacramento.
“Walter Robb embodies the entrepreneurial spirit that we instill into all our students,” said Pamela A. Eibeck, president of the University. “He worked his way up from store manager to co-CEO. Along the way, he spearheaded some of the most innovative and socially-conscious changes in the grocery business, from being one of the first organizations to offset costs with wind power to tying executive compensation to the pay of the rank and file.”
Robb joined Whole Foods Market in 1991 when he opened and operated the Mill Valley, Calif., store. Named regional president in 1993, he was promoted to Chief Operating Officer in 2001, Co-President in 2004,and in 2010 was named Co-CEO along with John Mackey and joined the Whole Foods Market Board of Directors. Robb has served on Pacific’s Board of Regents since 2006, and serves on the Board of Directors for the Whole Planet Foundation. He is Chairman of the Board of the Whole Kids Foundation. He graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Stanford University in 1976 and is a proud father and grandfather with two sons, a daughter, and four grandchildren.
In 2010, Robb served as the keynote speaker of the Pacific Business Forum, an annual lecture hosted by the Eberhardt School of Business that focuses on innovative leaders in the world of business. In a speech titled, “Business and Sustainability in the 21st Century - Observations of a Retailer," Robb discussed the advantages and challenges of trying to run a business and still respect the environment.
Commencement is a University-wide celebration for all graduates from Pacific’s nine schools and three campuses. After Commencement, each school will hold its own graduation ceremony, most of which will take place on the same day. The Pacific McGeorge School of Law, the Thomas J. Long School of Pharmacy and Health Sciences and the Arthur A. Dugoni School of Dentistry typically hold their graduation ceremonies one to four weeks after Commencement.
Tickets to Commencement are distributed to graduating students and their families. For more information about Commencement, visit http://www2.pacific.edu/commencement.