Scott Olivet PO ’84 was chosen as the keynote speaker for this year’s Class Day, scheduled for May 15. Olivet, who is currently the Executive Chairman of RED Digital Camera and Chairman of Oakley, Inc., became the newest member of the Pomona College Board of Trustees last October.
“I think Scott Olivet brings something unique in that he’s obviously experienced real world success but at the same time he’s the type of person that students can associate themselves with,” said Senior Class President Calvin Kagan, who organized the event. “He’s the type of individual who can give a very interesting and insightful speech, but at the same time make it fun.”
Starting in the 1980s, Class Day festivities have consisted principally of an awards ceremony for graduating seniors with speeches from faculty, staff and students. The event is meant to be a fun, informal counterpart to Commencement, which will be held the following day. Kagan said he hopes Olivet’s speech will help make the program a more significant part of commencement weekend.
“[Class Day] wasn’t living up to its potential,” Kagan said. “I thought the way to boost anticipation for Class Day was to recruit a big name speaker.”
Kagan worked closely with Dean of Students Miriam Feldblum and Smith Campus Center Program Director Susan Deitz to revamp the ceremony in order to draw more seniors to the annual ceremony.
“I think we can do more to make this really a student-focused event,” Feldblum said. “In recent years, we have been trying to revitalize that spirit.”
Olivet graduated from Pomona with a degree in government and public policy, and he went on to earn his M.B.A. from Stanford University’s Graduate School of Business in 1990. Before being named CEO of Oakley, he oversaw all Nike subsidiaries, including Converse and Hurley. Before that, he was responsible for real estate and store design at The Gap, Old Navy and Banana Republic as vice president at The Gap, Inc. Olivet has served on his class’s 20th Class Reunion Committee and is part of the Career Development Office’s Volunteer Program.
“I was very surprised to receive Senior Class President Calvin Kagan’s invitation,” Olivet said in an email interview. “I am honored to have been invited and will do my best to live up to the standards of Pomona and the spirit and importance of the day. If I can provide a perspective to help you appreciate your experiences of the last four years and if you remember one thought, story, challenge, or inspiration beyond the weekend, I will be happy.”