Commencement Speakers

Commencement 2013

Marilyn Magness Carroll ’75, the Honorable Gaddi Vasquez ’78, and Dr. Maureen E. Latham ’10 are the 2013 Commencement speakers for the University of Redlands.

College of Arts & Sciences: Marilyn Magness Carroll, Creative Director for Walt Disney Imagineering

Marilyn Magness Carroll has created hundreds of theatrical and stage productions around the world. Directorial highlights include three presidential inaugural galas, five Super Bowl halftime shows, the Radio City Music Hall Christmas Spectacular, the Olympic City during the Atlanta Olympics, four national tours of Sesame Street Live, multimedia extravaganza "Boardwalk" at Caesar’s in Atlantic City, main stage shows for Sitmar and Princess cruise lines, World Cup opening ceremonies, and staging and choreography of Broadway’s smash hit revival "Peter Pan", starring Cathy Rigby. She is co-writer and director of two original productions which recently premiered at theater festivals in New York City: "Casey at the Bat", a comedic romp through the heroic adventures of Ernest Thayer’s immortal baseball legend, and "Rosie the Riveter", the story of the plucky heroine and iconic poster girl for World War II.

Marilyn has written and directed some of the largest events in the world, including Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, Pasadena Tournament of Roses, Special Olympics and Senior Olympics opening ceremonies, statehood celebrations for the states of Texas and Alaska, "Make 'Em Laugh" for the Fiesta Bowl Spectacular and NBC, “America’s Greatest Game” for Major League Baseball, the international tour "Jesus Was His Name” for Radio City Music Hall, the national and international tours of “Drumline Live!” based on the hit film, and the Nickelodeon hit show “Rocket Power” for Clear Channel Entertainment.

Marilyn began her career as a teenage bird cage player with Steve Martin at the Bird Cage Theater at Knott’s Berry Farm. She created the role of comedic cowgirl Dolly Drew in the Walt Disney World dinner show “Hoop Dee Doo” – which led her, upon graduation, to join the burgeoning Walt Disney Company Entertainment team as a choreographer under the tutelage of master showman Bob Jani. Marilyn left Disney to work for Donny and Marie and the Osmond family, staging several television musical variety shows for Osmond Television Studios in Utah. Returning to Los Angeles, Marilyn launched a freelance career as a stage director and choreographer.

Marilyn’s career highlights for Disney include creatively directing Disneyland California Adventure live entertainment, the Hollywood Bowl Disney Symphonic Spectacular, Golden Horseshoe Jamboree, Disney Channel High School Musical stage shows, Emmy-winning Christmas and Easter ABC television specials, international promotional tours for Buena Vista Films, Tokyo Disneyland’s interactive 3D attraction “The Magic Lamp Theater,” Disneyland and Walt Disney World’s “Main Street Hop” and “Block Party” street spectaculars, the river show heralding "The Princess and the Frog," and the grand openings of Disney cruise ships and the Disney Aulani Resort in Hawaii. As a principle creative director for Walt Disney Imagineering, Marilyn’s responsibilities include oversight of all live entertainment at Disneyland Resort and Paris Disneyland Resort, creative direction of global special events, and future theme park development.

Marilyn graduated summa cum laude in English literature and theatre arts from the University of Redlands. She is an avid skier, honky-tonk piano player, and the world’s worst cook. She has been married for 35 years to college sweetheart, Redlands alumnus and theatrical producer Steve Carroll ’74. They have two grown children, Brian and Molly. 

School of Business: Honorable Gaddi H. Vasquez, Senior Vice President of Public Affairs for the Southern California Edison Company

The Honorable Gaddi H. Vasquez is a native of Carrizo Springs, Texas, and is the descendant of migrant farm workers who instilled in him a strong work ethic and the value and reward of serving others. He was the first member of his family to earn a college degree and has been a lifelong advocate against world hunger, disease and poverty. He has been recognized for his advocacy and support of the underserved both at home and abroad.

From 2006 to 2009, he served as U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Organizations in Rome, Italy. His effective and decisive leadership prompted the director of the World Food Program to name Ambassador Vasquez as a Champion Against World Hunger. He led reform efforts at the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization which resulted in the adoption of some of the most sweeping changes in the organization’s history.

From 2002 to 2006, Ambassador Vasquez served as director of the United States Peace Corps and became the third longest-serving director in the organization’s 50-year history. Under his leadership, the Peace Corps realized the highest enrollment of volunteers in the field in 30 years, and achieved increased congressional appropriations for three consecutive years. During his tenure, the Peace Corps established the Peace Corps Global AIDS Program, which has resulted in the development of new country programs with a focus on the President’s Emergency Plan for AIDS Relief. He also led the opening of the first Peace Corps in Mexico and directed the entry or re-entry into 21 Peace Corps countries.

His public career includes service at the city, county, state and federal levels of government. He began his 28-year career in public service as a police officer in Orange, Calif. and has served as an appointee of three former California governors and was appointed to two federal commissions by former President George H. W. Bush.

Ambassador Vasquez has been recognized for leadership and service and is the recipient of the Marine Corps Scholarship Fund Globe and Anchor Award, Outstanding Alumni Award by the American Association of Community Colleges, the Jewish National Fund Tree of Life, the William H. Booth Award by the Salvation Army, and Humanitarian of the Year Award by the National Conference for Community and Justice. He has been named one of the 100 Most Influential Hispanics in the U.S. by "Hispanic Business Magazine."

He serves on the national advisory board of the Salvation Army and the boards of Project Concern International, the Board of Governors of the California State University Foundation and the Orangewood Foundation.

Ambassador Vasquez is a graduate of the University of Redlands and has served as a trustee professor at Chapman University. He is the recipient of four honorary doctorate degrees and has completed executive coursework at the Kennedy School of Government at Harvard University.

He is currently senior vice president of public affairs for the Southern California Edison Company, one of the nation’s largest investor-owned utilities.

School of Education: Maureen E. Latham, Superintendent of Beaumont Unified School District

Dr. Maureen E. Latham is a life-long career educator who believes all students are capable of learning at high levels and it is the responsibility and moral obligation for all educators to ensure student learning is the focus of their work.

Her avocation for student learning is derived from her experience as a classroom teacher and administrator in K-12 public schools. Her early career was spent in an urban, high poverty school district where basic safety to and from school was as important as the learning that took place within the classroom walls. Violence and prison were a part of students’ lives, yet in the safety of the classroom, student learning thrived and Maureen learned the important lesson of the funds of knowledge within the community, and the resourcefulness students developed to navigate their lives.

Her avocation deepened with experience in rural school districts where the context of safety was replaced with limited opportunities for student access to high quality instruction and programs. Students often were marginalized by the lack of funding and resources to support their learning.

Maureen is a fierce advocate for student learning today because of her experience in Alvord Unified School District and currently in her position as superintendent for Beaumont Unified School District, where she witnesses the miracles that occur in classrooms and schools when every educator in the building and the district is committed to student learning. The belief and focus transform classrooms and schools and affirm her belief that with the expertise and commitment of every person who interacts with children, all students will increase academic proficiency and thrive in a safe, positive educational environment.

Maureen earned recognition as a leader in teaching, learning, and instruction with the VIP award from the California League of Middle School, the Outstanding Certificated Administrator of the Year from the Riverside County Office of Education, the Curriculum and Instruction Administrator of the Year from the Region XIX Association of California School Administrators, and the California Curriculum and Instruction Administrator of the Year from the Association of California School Administrators.

She currently is involved in the Beaumont community as a member of Rotary, the Beaumont Chamber of Commerce, and the Child Abuse Prevention Task Force for Riverside County.

Maureen received her bachelor’s degree in social and behavioral science from Webster University, in St. Louis, MO. Upon moving to California, she earned a master’s degree in special education from California State University San Bernardino, and special education and administrative credentials from California State University San Bernardino and Azusa Pacific University. In 2010, she earned her doctorate degree in Leadership for Educational Justice from the University of Redlands.

The University has a long tradition of encouraging and supporting study abroad.

More than 47 percent of Redlands undergraduates participate in study abroad programs.

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