Lorry LokeyLorry I. Lokey
2014 Community Spirit Award Recipient

In keeping with Notre Dame de Namur University’s (NDNU) commitment to promoting the values of social justice through community engagement, NDNU established the NDNU Community Spirit Award. It publicly recognizes, on an annual basis, citizens who “live” these values, and who have given selflessly of their time, energy and resources to improve the quality of life for others.

This year, we are excited to honor Lorry Lokey, an outstanding member of our Bay Area community. Mr. Lokey exemplifies the mission of Notre Dame de Namur University by way of his distinguished and extraordinary history of philanthropy and community involvement. His spirit of giving is far reaching, benefiting citizens throughout the United States and internationally. 

Recognized by the Chronicle of Philanthropy as one of the top philanthropists in the country, Mr. Lokey has given away close to $700 million since 1990 with a goal of $1 billion. According to Mr. Lokey, he was raised to give money away to charitable causes. Even during the Depression when his parents made $2,200 a year, they gave away about 10% of their money, an example he has followed throughout his life. Many have called Mr. Lokey a “philanthropic hero” and at NDNU he is both a hero and an inspirational role model to the many students who have benefited from his extraordinary generosity. In 2008, he pledged $1,000,000 to NDNU for an endowed scholarship in the sciences and at the 2009 inauguration of President Judith Greig, he issued a $25,000 matching grant challenge for an endowed scholarship in her name.

In 1961, Mr. Lokey started Business Wire, a news release service, in San Francisco. The company rapidly expanded and became a multimillion-dollar international business. Mr. Lokey sold the business to Berkshire Hathaway in 2006 for approximately $600 million. In 2010, he accepted the Bill Gates/Warren Buffet challenge and joined The Giving Pledge, an elite group of some 80 plus of the world’s wealthiest individuals who have agreed to give away more than half of their money to charitable causes before they die. In his pledge, Mr. Lokey states that the single factor that most affected his success in business was education. In his words, “throughout the world without exception, education is the determinant of a person’s intelligence level and possible success.” This belief is what prompted Mr. Lokey to focus the majority of his giving on education, which he views as a valuable investment, not charity. He has made “transformational” gifts at educational institutions in the United States and Israel. While too many to list, beneficiaries of his generosity in addition to NDNU include Stanford University, the Technion in Israel, University of Oregon, Peninsula Jewish Community Center, Family Services in San Mateo County and Sequoia Hospital.

Mr. Lokey has served on the boards of numerous educational institutions as well as businesses and nonprofit organizations, but today most of his energy is focused on overseeing his philanthropic efforts. A journalist by training, Mr. Lokey received his BA degree in journalism from Stanford University. In 2008, he received a Doctorate of Humane Letters from Notre Dame de Namur University. The father of three daughters, Mr. Lokey enjoys traveling with his companion of 22 years, Joanne Harrington.

Previous recipients of the Community Spirit Award include Joseph Cotchett, Marie Gallo ’57, Mary Lou ’79 and Joe Putnam, Peter Brusati, Sr. Roseanne Murphy, SND, Dennis Pettinelli, Pamela G. Clarke, and Hon. Mike Nevin (awarded posthumously).

William SpencerWilliam D. Spencer
2014 President’s Legacy Award Recipient

In 2013, Notre Dame de Namur University established the President’s Legacy Award, which honors extraordinary individuals whose leadership, generosity, vision and commitment to the values of the Sisters of Notre Dame and the university have made a lasting impact on the NDNU community.  This prestigious award will publicly recognize individuals who understand the critical importance of providing educational access and academic excellence for all our youth and who have, through their actions and selfless giving, ensured that current and future generations of students have access to a quality education.

We are honored to present this year’s award posthumously to a beloved and esteemed member of the NDNU family and our Bay Area community, William D. Spencer.  He exemplified the mission of Notre Dame de Namur University through his many contributions to the University as well as his distinguished history of community and civic involvement.

Mr. Spencer began his affiliation with NDNU in 2001 when he joined the NDNU Board of Trustees and he served in that capacity until 2011. He was an exemplary trustee who led by example, giving generously and regularly to support the NDNU Annual Fund, building and program initiatives, major fundraising efforts such as the Gala, and several NDNU scholarships. He also served on several Board of Trustee committees including Student Life and Facilities. Mr. Spencer’s leadership and expertise were essential in guiding NDNU through the development of the NDNU Master Plan, construction of New Hall, and upgrades to various NDNU facilities such as the remodeling of the campus apartments and the resurfacing of Koret Field. In 2003, Mr. Spencer and his wife Claire ’70, ’74, ’03, ’06, were honored as members of the Leadership Society for having made lifetime gifts totaling over $100,000. Without a doubt, NDNU and its students will benefit for many generations from his legacy of giving.

Mr. Spencer’s spirit of giving also extended beyond NDNU.  His commitment to education included substantial contributions to De Marillac Academy, Hillsborough schools and his alma maters, Sacred Heart Cathedral Prep High School and St. Gabriel’s Elementary School in San Francisco.  He also supported Smile Train and many community non-profit organizations including the Peninsula League and the Hillsborough Auxiliary for Family Services in San Mateo County.

A prominent and well-respected businessman with a strong work ethic, Mr. Spencer successfully ran the company started in 1903 by his grandfather, F.W. Spencer & Son, Inc., and brought it to the success it is today. A beloved husband, he enjoyed spending time with his wife at their vineyard in Healdsburg and at their vacation home in Carmel. Above and beyond all his accomplishments, his greatest sources of pride were his children, Celine and Zack.

An outstanding role model and inspirational philanthropist, we are proud to honor to honor William D. Spencer with the second Notre Dame de Namur University President’s Legacy Award.