With a personal anecdote from UCLA legend John Wooden, Mayor Kevin Johnson delivered remarks to the MPP, MSW, MA, and PhD students of the UCLA School of Public Affairs,
"When I think about social welfare, urban planning, and public policy, we speak the same language," remarked the Sacramento mayor, philanthropist, and former NBA star-turned-entrepreneur. "What you are doing and what you have decided to do with your life is so purposeful already, and I am one to say that it is going to get better."
Johnson, who is the 55th mayor of Sacramento, is also the first native Sacramentan and the first African American to be elected to the office. His vision is for Sacramento to become “a city that works for everyone.”
Johnson’s dedication to public service began long before he started his tenure as mayor. Upon retiring from the NBA after 12 seasons with the Phoenix Suns in 2000, he returned to his Oak Park neighborhood in Sacramento to serve as the CEO of St. HOPE, a non-profit community development organization he founded in 1989 to revitalize inner-city communities through public education, economic development, civic leadership and the arts. St. HOPE has dramatically improved the community of Oak Park through its holistic community development approach, and is recognized as a national leader in the “transformation high school” movement.
Johnson, who earned his undergraduate degree in political science from UC Berkeley, was a John Wooden Achievement Award winner, and closed the 2010 ceremonies with a stories about the legendary Bruins coach that brought the audience in Royce Hall to its feet.
"The last time I was in LA talking to John Wooden, I asked him for words to live by, and for the first time ever I had him stumped. So he thought about it, and then he turned to me and said 'Kevin, if you really want to do something significant, if you really want to do all the things you're talking about doing, here's all you need to know.' and he paused, 'Help others.'"
The commencement video can be fully downloaded through iTunesU. Click here to download.