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School of Public Policy to Host Spring 2019 Commencement

Larry Mone

The Pepperdine University School of Public Policy spring 2019 commencement ceremony will take place at Alumni Park in Malibu on Friday, April 26, at 10:30 AM. The event will bestow an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters degree upon Lawrence J. Mone.

Mone is the president of the Manhattan Institute, which he joined in 1982 as a public-policy specialist. Mone worked his way up the institute’s ranks to project manager and then vice president, taking the helm as its fourth president in 1995. He will retire from the institute this year. 

Mone is devoted to the causes the institute promotes: free markets, free societies, and the rule of law. During his 24-year tenure as its leader, the organization has consistently sought to put policy prescriptions into practice. It has worked to rezone much of New York City’s long-neglected industrial spaces and, at the request of the New York Police Department, the institute launched a new policy division to advise it on cutting-edge counterterrorism strategy following the attacks of September 11. 

The institute collaborated with then mayor of Newark Cory Booker to implement a new approach to prisoner reentry, based on the principle of connecting former offenders with paid work immediately upon release. On the state and national levels, the institute has also led on policy changes in the areas of school choice and charter schools, the marketplace for healthcare, and the role of law enforcement in our society. 

Mone earned a bachelor’s degree from the College of the Holy Cross and a master of arts in public policy from the University of California, Berkeley, in 1982. 

Distinguished Alumnus Award

Nicole Neily - Pepperdine School of Public Policy Alumni

This year, Nicole Kurokawa Neily (MPP '06) will receive the Distinguished Alumnus Award. She is the president of Speech First, a membership-based organization that defends the free speech rights of university students across the nation through advocacy and litigation. Since its launch last year, the organization has amassed a following of concerned constituents and has filed multiple lawsuits on behalf of its members, including active federal court cases against two state universities.

Before joining Speech First, Neily served as president of the Franklin Center for Government and Policy Integrity, an investigative journalism nonprofit focused on highlighting cronyism and government overreach. She has also served as executive director and senior fellow at the Independent Women’s Forum and manager of external relations at the Cato Institute and has held prominent positions in the private sector, having been senior vice president at Dezenhall Resources and director of research analysis at the Winston Group. In addition, she has volunteered on the American Swiss Foundation’s Young Leaders Alumni Council and on the boards of Alumni for Liberty and Young Voices.

Nicole Neily earned her bachelor’s degree in political science from the University of Illinois and received her master of public policy from the Pepperdine School of Public Policy.

Student Address

Brandon Ristoff - Pepperdine School of Public Policy

Brandon Ristoff will present the student address. He is receiving his Master of Public Policy degree, specializing in Applied Economic Policy. At the School of Public Policy, he was the President of the Churchill Society and was an editor for the Pepperdine Policy Review. During this program, Ristoff interned for Congressman Warren Davidson on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC. Prior to Pepperdine, he studied the Great Books of Western Civilization at Thomas Aquinas College and received his Bachelor of Arts in Liberal Arts.

More information about the School of Public Policy commencement ceremony.