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Cal Poly Announces Keynote Speakers for Spring Commencement Ceremonies

GoDaddy CEO and technology pioneer Blake Irving, Madonna Inn owner and philanthropist Phyllis Madonna, and KTTV anchor and Cal Poly alumna Laura Diaz will deliver keynote addresses at three spring 2015 commencement ceremonies June 13 and 14 at Cal Poly.

Irving will address the colleges of Engineering and Architecture & Environmental Design at 9 a.m. June 13. Madonna will speak at 5 p.m. June 13 to the colleges of Agriculture, Food & Environmental Sciences and Science & Mathematics. Diaz will address the College of Liberal Arts and Orfalea College of Business at 9 a.m. June 14. All ceremonies will take place in Spanos Stadium on campus.

— Irving is CEO and board director of GoDaddy, the world’s largest domain name provider and web host. Under his direction, the company has sharpened its focus to help the world’s 200 million small, independent ventures grow and thrive online — using a unified platform that powers their digital presence, communications, marketing, commerce, back-office administration and peer/community support. A technology pioneer for more than 30 years, Irving began his career at Xerox in 1981. He is a former executive vice president at Yahoo and also served in a variety of roles at Microsoft. He has been at the forefront of innovation, lending his expertise to numerous products and services that are now staples of the Internet.

— A resident and business owner in the San Luis Obispo community for more than 60 years and the mother of four proud Cal Poly alumni, Madonna is passionate about giving back to her community — driven especially by her love of education and the arts. Her generous sponsorship of Mission College Preparatory Catholic High School, San Luis Obispo High School, and Cal Poly will continue to benefit students for many years to come. She also has supported the San Luis Obispo Symphony, Festival Mozaic, I Madonnari, the Performing Arts Center, the SLO International Film Festival and the local Women’s Shelter. Madonna’s legacy of support has earned her many distinctions in the local community. She has been San Luis Obispo Woman of the Year; a Cuesta College Woman of Distinction; Cattlewoman of the Year; San Luis Obispo Chamber Citizen of the Year; and grand marshal of Cal Poly’s Poly Royal parade and the San Luis Obispo Christmas Parade. Madonna also will receive an honorary doctorate at the June 13 ceremony.

— Diaz is a 1994 Cal Poly English graduate and 14-time Emmy-winning Southern California journalist who currently anchors the evening newscast for Studio 11 LA (KTTV). Diaz has anchored, reported and produced for several flagship Los Angeles stations for more than two decades, including KABC, KCBS and KTLA. Her work has garnered the Golden Mike award and the L.A. Press Club’s highest honor, the Joseph M. Quinn award for journalistic excellence and distinction. Diaz sits on the advisory board of The Joyful Child Foundation and is a member of the Pasadena Playhouse Diversity Committee.

Cal Poly will confer degrees on more than 3,000 graduates June 14 and 15. For more information about spring commencement, visit www.commencement.calpoly.edu.

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