Basketball legend, bestselling author, activist and cultural icon Kareem Abdul-Jabbar will speak as the 2019 undergraduate commencement speaker on Saturday. Alternately, LMU alumna and CEO and president of the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce, Maria Salinas (‘87), will be speaking as the 2019 graduate commencement speaker on Sunday.
Here are some fast facts to get to know your speakers.
- Lew Alcindor, Jr. changed his name to Kareem Abdul-Jabbar after converting to Islam, which means “the noble one, servant of the Almighty.”
- Graduated from UCLA and dubbed NCAA Tournament Most Outstanding Player in '67, '68, '69
- Played for Milwaukee Bucks (‘69-’74) and Los Angeles Lakers (‘75-'89) (Source: NBA)
- 19-Time All-Star player and 6-Time NBA MVP (Source: NBA)
- All-time highest-scoring NBA player scoring 38,387 points in his career
- Appointed as a Global Cultural Ambassador by Hillary Clinton in 2012
- Awarded Presidential Medal of Freedom by President Obama in 2016
- Chairman of the Skyhook Foundation, which provides STEM education opportunities for underserved communities
- Raised over $3 million while receiving the Double Helix Medal in 2011 at the Double Helix Awards dinner to expand Cold Spring Harbor Laboratory's research and education programs that focus on cancer research
- Co-writer and co-producer of the basketball documentary, “On the Shoulder of the Giants”
- NY Times best-selling author who has written 15 books, two memoirs and an Emmy Award-winning HBO sports documentary
- Recipient of two Columnist of the Year Awards (2017, 2018) at the Southern California Journalism Awards
- Regular contributing columnist for various newspapers and magazines, including The Hollywood Reporter and The Guardian
- First African-American appointed to the Citizens Coin Advisory Council (CCAC), that determines the coin minting process in the U.S.
“You can't win unless you learn how to lose.” — Kareem Abdul-Jabbar
- LMU alumna, class of 1987
- Graduated with a BA of Science in Accounting
- First Latina woman to rise to the ranks of CEO and become president of the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce in 130 years.
- As CEO and president of the Los Angeles Chamber of Commerce, she represents an estimated workforce of 650,000 employees and an annual budget of $14 million.
- Chair of the 2018-2019 LMU Board of Regents
- Member of the founding Board of Directors of Kaiser Permanente School of Medicine, Chair of the UnidosUS Board of Directors
- Began her career post-graduation in public accounting at Ernst & Young and Kenneth Leventhal & Company
- Held positions as Director and Controllership of the Consumer Products Division at Walt Disney Company for almost 11 years and Chairwoman and Founding Organizer of ProAmérica Bank for 10 years.
- Runs her own firm consulting firm, Salinas Consulting (2006-present)
- Founding member of the Hispanas Organized for Political Equality
“We also have a story of great inequality. If we don’t solve this inequality problem, it will increasingly be an economic and national competitiveness problem.” — Maria Salinas (Source: LA Times)