May 20, 2010

2010 Honorary Degrees Go to John and Jennifer Webley

Sonoma State University will award honorary degrees to John and Jennifer Webley at the 2010 Commencement Ceremony during the aftenoon session on Sat., May 29. John Webley will be awarded the Doctor of Science (Sc.D.), and his wife, Jennifer Webley, will receive the Doctor of Fine Arts (D.F.A.). The couple live in Santa Rosa.

The Webleys have been tremendous supporters of the Sonoma State community, and their philanthropic contributions to the growth of the campus and the quality of education for all students have made them prime candidates for these awards. Paired with their community investment and generosity, the couple's dedication to education and the arts have benefited SSU greatly over the past several years.


With a donation of $2 million from their family foundation, the Webleys helped to kick off the construction of the Donald and Maureen Green Music Center at SSU. The couple now serves on the Green Music Center Advisory Board, and advocate strongly for the GMC in the Bay Area.

As a Bay Area local, Jennifer Webley has served as a humanitarian in her community for many years. Raising four children, and serving on numerous boards and committees, she is currently continuing her education at Santa Rosa Junior College.

John Webley moved to America in 1985 from Cape Town, South Africa where he started his career at the Department of Telecommunications as a network systems engineer after having received both his Bachelor and Master degrees in Electronic Engineering from Stellenbosch University.

After having secured his position as the senior engineer at Lynch Communications, he moved to the U.S. and co-founded Advanced Fibre Communications, known today as one of the leading independent telecommunications suppliers. After founding Turin Networks, an optical networking company, John Webley took his current position of CEO and Director at PAX Streamline, a product development firm specializing in energy efficiency.

Very successful in the world of entrepreneurship, John Webley has contributed a great deal of knowledge and experience to the School of Science and Technology at SSU. Volunteering his time as a guest lecturer, as well as mentoring numerous students, helping them to develop business plans, John Webley is dedicated to the advancement of education at SSU. In 2004, The School of Business and Economics presented him with the North Bay Lifetime Entrepreneur (NOBLE) Award.

The Webleys are active not only in the SSU community, but within the entire Sonoma County community as well. In addition to serving on the GMC Advisory Board, John Webley was recently appointed to the Sonoma County Economic Development Board by Sonoma County Supervisor Shirlee Zane.

Jennifer Webley is equally active in the community, co-chairing the Council on Aging Capital Campaign, and serving on the Board of the Santa Rosa Symphony and the Sonoma County Mental Health Board, Third District.

SSU is not the only school to benefit from the Webley's generosity. Students at Santa Rosa Junior College were recently the recipients of the Webley's humanitarian ways, and their financial contribution to higher education.

In June of 2009, Exchange Bank announced that they would be unable to continue awarding Doyle Scholarships to incoming SRJC student recipients. In an effort to salvage the program, the Bridging the Doyle Campaign was launched in hopes that community members would take part in raising funds that assist 2,000 students in making the dream of higher education a reality. The Webleys offered to match every donation made, dollar for dollar, up to $50,000, encouraging a number of other community members to donate as well.

Jean Wasp
Media Relations Coordinator
University Affairs
(707) 664-2057