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August 13, 2009
The Stanford University Board of Trustees recently elected Ronald P. Spogli, former U.S. ambassador to Italy and San Marino, to a five-year term beginning in October.
The board, which last met in June, used electronic ballots to conduct the election, which took place in July. Spogli will take his seat at the next meeting, scheduled for Oct. 12-13.
Including Spogli, the board will have 31 members, four fewer than its limit of 35.
"Ron Spogli has a long track record of commitment to and support for Stanford, and we are fortunate to have him join the board," said Leslie Hume, chair of the Board of Trustees. "With a distinguished career in both business and in public service, he brings a global perspective to the board that will serve the university well."
Spogli, who was nominated by former President George W. Bush as U.S. ambassador to Italy, was sworn in as ambassador in August 2005. In 2006, Spogli also became the American ambassador to San Marino—the first person to hold the title in the small mountainous country, which is completely surrounded by Italy. Both terms ended last February.
Spogli is a founding partner of Freeman Spogli & Co., a private equity investment firm he established in 1983 with Bradford M. Freeman in Los Angeles. In 2005, the longtime business partners and friends donated $50 million to Stanford's International Initiative. The initiative was launched to promote collaboration on campus on three themes: pursuing peace and security; improving governance locally, nationally and internationally; and advancing human well-being.
In recognition of their generous gift, the university changed the name of the Stanford Institute for International Studies to the Freeman Spogli Institute for International Studies. Currently, Spogli is a member of the institute's advisory board.
When he became an ambassador in 2005, Spogli was required to sever all ties with Freeman Spogli & Co. He rejoined the firm in June 2009.
Spogli, who was born in Los Angeles in 1948, earned a bachelor's degree in history from Stanford in 1970. During his junior year, Spogli was elected to the Phi Beta Kappa Society, the nation's oldest academic honor society.
As an undergraduate, Spogli traveled to Italy to study at Stanford's Florence campus. After graduating, he spent a year working as an assistant to the directors of the Florence program. Later, he spent more than a year living in Milan, where he was the lead researcher for a project studying the social impact of labor migration from southern Italy to the Italian industrial north.
In 1975, Spogli earned an MBA from Harvard Business School.
In 2002, President Bush appointed Spogli to a three-year term with the J. William Fulbright Foreign Scholarship Board, which establishes worldwide policies and procedures for the Fulbright Program and issues an annual report.
From 2002 to 2005, Spogli also served on the Overseas Studies Program Council, an advisory panel to what is now known as Stanford's Bing Overseas Studies Program.
Spogli has endowed two positions at Stanford: The Gesue and Helen Spogli Professorship in Italian Studies, which was named in honor of his Italian immigrant grandfather, who arrived in America in 1912, settled in Pennsylvania and moved to California in 1941, and his mother; and The Spogli Family Overseas Studies Director position in Florence, Italy.
Spogli served as regional chair of the major gifts committee of the Campaign for Undergraduate Education from 2000 to 2004. The campaign, which ended in 2005, raised more than $1 billion.
Spogli also has served as an active volunteer at many Stanford events. He served as co-chair of the "Think Again" event in Los Angeles and as a member of the steering committee for the "Think Again" event in San Diego. The 12-city tour – a component of the Campaign for Undergraduate Education – was designed to reacquaint alumni with the university and the strides it had made in undergraduate education over the past decade. He also served as co-chair of the Special Gifts Committee for his 35th class reunion.
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