Webb School of California Announces 2023 Commencement Speaker

Taylor Stockdale, Head of The Webb Schools, has proudly announced the graduation speaker for Webb’s 101st graduation.  Mr. James E. Drasdo, Webb Class of 1963 and former Webb Trustee, will deliver the commencement address to the WSC Class of 2023.

Mr. Drasdo spent most of his career at The Capital Group, a global investment management company.  At the time Drasdo joined the company, Capital had assets under management of around $2 billion, and when he retired in 2013 it was managing well over $2 trillion, with more than a thousand employees, and more than a dozen research offices around the world.  Capital’s astounding growth came about largely because of the outstanding results it achieved for its clients, and Mr. Drasdo’s investment record was consistently among Capital’s best.  Mr. Drasdo says of his investment success, “it wasn’t that hard as I had a team of really bright people feeding me relevant information from all over the world.”

Early in his career, Mr. Drasdo was selected by Institutional Investor Magazine to its original All-Star Team which identified the dozen best analysts in the investment business.  Both Capital and Drasdo eschew publicity, but he has been featured in numerous publications – often as “Captain of the Best Investment Team You’ve Never Heard Of.”

All the while, Mr. Drasdo has led Webb’s equally astounding endowment growth for the past 30 years.  In the mid-1990’s he chaired Webb’s first major capital campaign, Building Character, and in doing so, helped to envision, and then fund Webb’s original digital infrastructure, W.E.B.B.I.E.  Soon after, he inspired his former USC Professor, Guil Babcock ’49, to join him in establishing the Les and Barbara Perry Faculty Enrichment Fund. Each year, the “Perry Awards” are presented to deserving faculty members who embody the legacies of Barbara and Les Perry.  Mr. Drasdo has consistently been there for Webb.  During the pandemic, he led the Hero’s Challenge, and made a substantial gift to ensure the school would continue to thrive in the most challenging times.  His giving continues and secures Webb’s future. 

Mr. Drasdo has served as a source of inspiration for countless alumni, and in 2018, he was the recipient of the Colborn Distinguished Service Award, Webb’s most prestigious award to a Webb graduate.

“Jim Drasdo embodies the very best of Webb,” said Stockdale.  “He has not only been immensely generous to the school and cares deeply for the students and for the school’s success, he has also provided insightful vision to the big picture of what will constitute a relevant, dynamic, and engaging education in the future. He has a unique gift of identifying macro trends and seeing into the future.  Building W.E.B.B.I.E. before the Internet even really existed is a good example of his foresight and is one of the reasons he was one of the top investors in the world.”  

Webb School of California’s 101st graduation will take place on Saturday, June 3, 2023 on the venerable Alamo Lawn.  

May 19, 2023

10:34 AM PDT