Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff to give Berkeley commencement speech

Marc Benioff, chairman and CEO of Salesforce, philanthropist and pioneer in cloud computing, will deliver the 2015 commencement address at UC Berkeley on Saturday, May 16.

Marc Benioff

Marc Benioff

Benioff, a tech titan who founded the San Francisco-based cloud computing company in 1999  —  building Salesforce into one of the world’s biggest software companies — will address graduating seniors and their guests, faculty and administrators at the campuswide commencement ceremony at California Memorial Stadium.

“In addition to being a successful entrepreneur and respected technology executive, Mr. Benioff has been an outspoken advocate for social justice as well as an innovative and generous philanthropist,” said Chancellor Nicholas Dirks. “He exemplifies what we at Berkeley hope to instill in our students: the desire to work hard, coupled with the desire to give back and support the greater good.”

Among other accolades, Benioff has been named “businessperson of the year” by Fortune magazine readers and one of the “best CEOs in the world ” by Barron’s, and received the Economist’s Innovation Award. He served as co-chairman of the President’s Information Technology Advisory Committee from 2003 to 2005.

Best-known for its customer relations management platform, Salesforce was named the “world’s most innovative company” four years in a row by Forbes magazine, and the “world’s most admired company” in the software industry two years in a row by Fortune, which ranked it among the “world’s best places to work.” In response to the passage of Indiana’s controversial “religious freedoms” law, Benioff canceled all events in the state, and announced that Salesforce would reduce its investment in Indiana.

Benioff was just 15 when he founded his first company, Liberty Software, which created video games. He also worked as an assembly language programmer in Apple Computer’s Macintosh division during his college years, and went on to work for 13 years at Oracle Corp. He holds a bachelor’s degree in business administration and an honorary degree from the University of Southern California. He is the author of three books, including the national bestseller Behind the Cloud.

The May 16 commencement ceremony, which celebrates all graduating seniors, also will feature an address by Dirks and a speech from the soon-to-be named University Medalist, the top graduating senior from the class of 2015. For more information about the event, visit the commencement website.