The Commonwealth Club of California will honor Jack O'Neill, founder and chairman of the board of O’Neill Wetsuits in April, for revolutionizing California’s iconic surfing industry with his invention of the wetsuit in the 1950s.
He will receive The Commonwealth Club's Distinguished Citizen Award at the Club’s 22nd Annual Distinguished Citizen Award Dinner, which will take place April 29, 2010, at The Palace Hotel in San Francisco.
Today O’Neill spends much of his time on philanthropic projects that seek to foster educational achievement and environmental stewardship in California’s schoolchildren. In 1996, O’Neill founded the O’Neill Sea Odyssey, a unique educational program for 4th-6th graders that, utilizing the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary as a classroom, instills in young minds urgent lessons about our endangered oceans. In 2005, the program received the California Governor’s Award in Economic and Environmental Leadership, as well as U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer’s Conservation Champion award. O’Neill himself has received numerous accolades from the surfing industry that he helped to establish, including having been named “Waterman of the Year” in 2000 by the Surfing Industry Manufacturers Association.
Also being honored at the annual celebration are the Honorable George P. Shultz, former U.S. secretary of state under President Ronald Reagan, and his wife, California and San Francisco Chief of Protocol Charlotte Mailliard Shultz; Pixar Animation Studios' writer and director Brad Bird; and Dr. Bill Rutter, chairman and CEO of Synergenics. As leaders and innovators, these distinguished citizens embody “The Spirit of California” in creative, technological, civic, entrepreneurial, environmental, and, increasingly, global contexts.
Visit our web site for more information on The Commonwealth Club's 107th Anniversary and 22nd Annual Distinguished Citizen Award Dinner.
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