(January 25, 2011) – The Commonwealth Club of California will proudly present its prestigious Distinguished Citizen Award to The Honorable Tad Taube, president of the Koret Foundation; Mary B. Cranston, senior partner at Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP; and Janet Lamkin, president of Bank of America California, during the Club’s 23rd Annual Dinner. The Distinguished Citizen Award recognizes individuals and their noteworthy contributions to local and global society. Commonwealth Club Vice Chair of the Board and Silicon Valley Advisory Council member Maryles Casto and Managing Director at Merrill Lynch, San Francisco Complex Offices, Brian D. Riley will co-chair the evening’s festivities. Event attendance is projected to be 500, and will include California’s most pioneering thought leaders in the arts, academia, business, philanthropy, and other fields. The Dinner is the Club’s most significant annual fundraising event, providing resources to support its critical nonprofit public forum mission throughout the year.

President and CEO of The Commonwealth Club Dr. Gloria Duffy remarked, “We have all experienced the economic downturn of the past few years. Such times render the philanthropic efforts and social contributions of individuals in the Bay Area and throughout the nation even more vital than ever.”

For the first time ever, the Club is orchestrating the dinner theme, “A Room with Views.” The event committee is inviting some of California’s most charismatic thought leaders to enrich the evening’s conversations throughout dinner. Guest leaders representing the arts, academia, business, philanthropy, politics, and other fields will preside over discussions at each table. So far, the discussion principals include:

o Willie Brown, Former San Francisco Mayor
o Joanne Hayes-White, First female San Francisco Fire Chief
o George Gascón, San Francisco District Attorney
o Ronn Owens, KGO Radio personality
o Michael Krasny, KQED Forum Host
o Belva Davis, Bay Area Journalist and Media Personality
o Jed York, President and CEO of the San Francisco 49ers
o Lois Lehrman, Publisher of The Nob Hill Gazette
o Kevin Starr, California historian
o Sally Osberg, The Skoll Foundation 
o Annie Maxwell, CEO of the Skoll Global Threats Fund
o Robert Trent Jones, Jr., Golf Course Designer
o Dr. Joel Parrott, Executive Director of the Oakland Zoo
o Alex Filippenko, Professor of Astronomy at UC Berkeley
o Richard Lyons, Dean of Haas School of Business at UC Berkeley
o Kirk O. Hanson, Executive Director of the Markkula Center for Applied Ethics
o Paul Saffo, Managing Director of Foresight, Discern Analytics
o Violet Grgich, Co-proprietor and Vice President of Sales & Marketing of Grgich Hills Estate
o Lloyd H. Dean, President and CEO of Catholic Healthcare West
o Cindy McCullagh, Director of Public Affairs at Shorenstein Company
o Vaughn R. Walker, United States District Court Judge of the Northern District of California
o Sally C. Pipes, Taube Fellow in Health Care Studies and President and Chief Executive Officer of the Pacific Research Institute
o Patricia Splinter, Chief Operating Officer and Managing Director of Vantage Point Venture Partners
o The Very Reverend Doctor Jane Shaw, Dean of Grace Cathedral
o Bishop Marc Andrus of Episcopal Diocese of California
o Hubert Keller of Fleur de Lys
o Michael Mina of Michael Mina SF
o Alison Barakat of Bakesale Betty
o Father Stephen A. Privett, S. J., President, University of San Francisco
o Tanya Peterson, Executive Director of the San Francisco Zoo
o George M. Scalise, Former President, Semiconductor Industry Association

Several of these discussion leaders are available in advance for interviews with the press. Please call to arrange 415-597-6712. In recognition of the outstanding achievements and contributions of exemplary California visionaries, the Club will honor Tad Taube, president of the Koret Foundation and chairman of Taube Philanthropies, which fund many projects enhancing life in the Bay Area and beyond. Taube is also chairman and founder of the Woodmont Companies, a diversified real estate investment and management organization. His accomplishments further include founding a silicon wafer manufacturer, serving as chairman and CEO of a public company, being a founder of the United States Football League and being an honorary consul of Poland in the United States.

The Club will also honor Mary B. Cranston, senior partner and immediate past chair at Pillsbury Winthrop Shaw Pittman LLP and recent chair of the Commonwealth Club Board of Directors. Cranston helped Pillsbury Winthrop become one of the largest and most prestigious international law firms. She was also named one of "The 100 Most Influential Lawyers in America" by the National Law Journal. She has provided outstanding leadership across many institutions and fields, including chairing the board of the San Francisco Ballet and serving on such boards as Visa Corporation, Stanford University and Juniper Networks.

Honoree Janet Lamkin, president of Bank of America California, has had a distinguished career in the banking industry. Lamkin has been named of one of the 100 most influential businesswomen in the Bay Area on multiple occasions (San Francisco Business Times). She has served on various boards, from the San Francisco Symphony to the California Chamber of Commerce.

The Club looks forward to remembering and recognizing at the Annual Dinner the Honorable L. W. (Bill) Lane, Jr., with its William K. Bowes, Jr. Lifetime Achievement Award (posthumous). Ambassador Lane’s abundant philanthropic accomplishments and his overwhelming dedication to conservation efforts enriched the lives of so many, locally, nationally and beyond.

The Commonwealth Club's 23rd Annual Distinguished Citizen Award Dinner will take place Tuesday, March 15, at The Palace Hotel in San Francisco. This dinner marks the Club’s 108th anniversary and promises to be a very special evening, beginning with a reception at 5:30 p.m. followed by dinner at 7 p.m. For tickets and information please call Holly Friden at 415-869-5909 or visit

Each year since 1903, The Commonwealth Club has held a gala dinner celebrating its anniversary, and since 1988 has presented its Distinguished Citizen Award. The 2010 Distinguished Citizen Award recipients were The Honorable George P. Shultz and Charlotte Shultz, two-time Academy Award winning Pixar Producer Brad Bird, surfing pioneer Jack O’Neill, and Chiron Corporation Founding Chairman Dr. Bill Rutter, all representing The Spirit of California. Prior honorees have included Toni Rembe and Arthur Rock, former Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, David Packard, House Minority Speaker Nancy Pelosi, Chris and Warren Hellman, the Lane Family and Sunset magazine, the Honorable William H. Draper, III and Stephen D. Bechtel, Sr.