UCLA Medal Presentation to Peter Guber


It is a great honor tonight to introduce Peter Guber and present him with the UCLA Medal.

One of the amazing things about Los Angeles is the incredible access we have to an industry recognized around the world for its imagination and creativity. The entertainment industry attracts people from all over. It’s a wildly competitive and tough business. To have enduring success requires talent, ambition and intelligence.

Peter Guber possesses all of these qualities.

His accomplishments in entertainment and sports are truly remarkable and an inspiration to the UCLA community.

Peter is a film producer, whose movies including Rain Man, Midnight Express and The Color Purple have earned 50 Academy Award nominations.

Peter is an executive, serving as Chairman and CEO of Mandalay Entertainment Group. He was previously chairman and CEO of Sony Pictures and Polygram Entertainment.

Peter is a co-owner of professional sports teams, including the Los Angeles Dodgers and the Golden State Warriors which have had some incredible seasons recently.

Peter is a television personality, serving as a weekly entertainment and media analyst for Fox Business News.

He is a New York Times bestselling author.

Peter is a new member of the University of California Board of Regents.

And, somehow I have no idea how he SLEEPS Peter has taught at UCLA for over 40 years! His classes, in our School of Theater, Film and Television as well as the Anderson School of Management, are among the most popular anywhere on campus.

It’s not surprising, as Peter routinely brings in studio heads, network presidents, film directors and media executives. But the real star of his classes, of course, is Peter himself.

Peter’s classes offer our students first-hand perspectives on the sports and entertainment industry. He takes them on a journey with real-world knowledge of how the businesses work. And Peter understands how to apply what he teaches to any industry, broadening the appeal of his key lessons. One of those lessons emphasizes the power of storytelling.

People are drawn to films and television because they want to hear compelling stories and connect with characters on the screen. Over the course of his career, Peter found that the ability to tell a powerful story is important not just on screen, but in meeting rooms as well.

In his inspiring book Tell to Win, Peter writes: “To succeed, you have to persuade others to support your vision, dream or cause…You have to reach their hearts as well as their minds and this is just what storytelling does.” Lessons like this really resonate with our students. They still talk about Peter’s classes even decades later. Teaching is clearly one of Peter’s greatest passions.

I know he values preparing the next generation for success whether it’s in entertainment, sports or any number of other industries. And, despite all he’s worked on throughout his career, Peter has never to anyone’s knowledge missed a year of teaching. Governor Brown recognized his incredible commitment this summer, when he appointed Peter to a 12-year term on the UC Board of Regents.

Peter has also made time for leadership roles here on campus. He serves on the Executive Board of our School of Theater, Film and Television. He has been a member of the UCLA Foundation Board of Trustees. He is the chair of the Founding Board of Advisors for the UCLA Anderson Center for Management of Enterprise in Media, Entertainment and Sports.

This center is among the first anywhere to offer students the chance to specialize in entertainment management. Peter was integral to its creation and he has been heavily involved. I’m told there was only one time he ever asked to reschedule a board meeting: a few months ago, when his team the Dodgers were playing Game Seven in the World Series!

So, tonight, we all thank you, Peter, for playing such a vital role here at UCLA and for the University of California. Supporters like you allow this to be one of the world’s great universities, offering unmatched opportunities and experiences for our students and community.

We are deeply grateful for all you have done and continue to do for UCLA and the University of California. Please join me in welcoming to the stage, Peter Guber.

Before I present the medal, I’d like everyone to hear this citation. It reads:


You have achieved extraordinary business success and garnered international renown across multiple fields, including motion pictures, television, sports, technology, and new media. A trailblazer in new avenues of entertainment, you have been a leader in the international discourse on the changing power of media and its role in the future. Throughout four decades, you have shown uncommon commitment in sharing your considerable expertise, experience, and counsel as a teacher and mentor to students; an advisor to UCLA and many other organizations; and a bestselling author. For your intense intellectual curiosity, superb achievements, and abundant passion for educating future business and entertainment leaders, we proudly bestow upon you the UCLA Medal.