2024 Commencement Speakers Announced

We are pleased to announce the graduation speakers for the 2024 Webb School of California and Vivian Webb School commencements. 

Abigail Johnson “AJ” Hess, VWS Class of 2012, will address the VWS Class of 2024 at the 41st VWS commencement ceremony. Jason Brooks, WSC Class of 1999, will speak to the WSC Class of 2024 at the 102nd WSC commencement ceremony.

“AJ and Jason are both inspiring examples for our graduating seniors,” said Dr. Smith. “They live our mission deeply in their lives, as leaders in their professions and their communities. I am so grateful to them for sharing their wisdom with us on such a special occasion as commencement day.”

Vivian Webb School’s 41st graduation will occur on Saturday, June 1, 2024, on Faculty Field, followed by the Webb School of California’s 102nd commencement on the venerable Alamo Lawn.

Abigail Johnson “AJ” Hess ’12

AJ Hess, Webb graduate from the Class of 2012, has built a robust career in journalism and media, covering the changing ways people learn, earn, and work. She currently showcases her expertise and editorial leadership as an editor at Fast Company, a leading business media brand with an editorial focus on the future of work, innovation in technology, and design. Prior to joining Fast Company, AJ was the head of multimedia for Robinhood and a multimedia reporter for CNBC, where she anchored, scripted, and produced digital series and wrote profiles, reported essays, and breaking news. She has contributed on-air for outlets such as MSNBC, NBC, and NPR and has interviewed elected officials, business executives, and celebrities. Her work reflects a deep understanding of the contemporary media landscape and a commitment to producing engaging and impactful content.

Prior to her professional experience, AJ attended Wellesley College where she was a four-year NCAA soccer player and received a dual bachelor’s degree in media arts & sciences and political science. During her time at The Webb Schools, AJ distinguished herself as an exceptional athlete, student, and leader. In addition to being a three-sport varsity athlete and receiving the 9th and 12th grade History Department Awards, she also held leadership positions as a Day Student Prefect on the Dorm Council, a Senior Ambassador, and a Girl’s Camp Leader. AJ was also recognized as a Rogers Peccary Scholar, participated in the prestigious Hefner Initiative, a U.S./China/Singapore Cultural Exchange and Experiential Learning Program, and contributed to academic research, co-authoring a paper on Proboscideans of the Barstow Formation, which was published in the proceedings of the 2012 Desert Research Symposium. AJ’s varied achievements underscore her commitment to academic excellence and community involvement.

AJ is excited to be part of the Vivian Webb School Class of ’24 Commencement: “Graduating from Webb had a profound impact on my life, and it is a privilege to play a small part in the graduation of the Class of 2024.”

Jason Brooks ’99

Entrepreneur and educator Jason Brooks has been ahead of the curve in AI. Brooks has dabbled with a few start-ups and last year co-founded Relativ.ai, a venture focused on leveraging cutting-edge technology to enhance educational preparation. In his capacity as Head of Sales at Relativ.ai, Jason plays a pivotal role in driving the success of the platform, revolutionizing the way K-12 and college students prepare for their future careers. This career grew out of his impactful work as an educational leader. Brooks served as a Spanish and Chinese language instructor at McCallie School in Tennessee, World Languages Department Chair at the Brooklyn Prospect Charter School, and Head of Upper School at The Episcopal School of Los Angeles.

At Webb, Brooks was honored as both a Rogers Scholar and recipient of the esteemed Hempel Cup for Sportsmanship. During his time on campus, he was actively involved as a leader on campus. He showcased his athletic prowess on the varsity football and basketball teams, exhibited his speed on the track, served as an Alamo prefect, and held the position of Student Body Vice President.

Jason expressed his honor at being asked to speak at the Webb School of California commencement for the Class of ’24: “It means the world to be invited back as the WSC speaker, not only in terms of timing, but also because of the profound impact WSC has had on my life. At a time when leadership is more critical than ever, the foundation that Webb laid has been invaluable. I’m excited to celebrate with the Class of 2024 and it’s heartening to see that the Webb tradition holds strong.”

March 28, 2024

17:08 PM PDT