Oaksterdam University Anniversary

Celebration Recap
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Oaksterdam University Celebrates 10 Years of Cannabis Education and Legalization with the O’Dammy Awards Ceremony; Legacy Book Will Honor Those Who Fought For Cannabis Rights

Oakland, CA (November 28, 2017) – In another cannabis industry ‘first,’ Oaksterdam University (OU) set the bar for what could be called the most elaborate cannabis event to ever be held, by celebrating its 10th Anniversary with an Emmy-like awards ceremony and dinner. On Saturday, November 18, 2017, nearly 500 people–including such pioneers as Ed Rosenthal, Richard Lee and Jeff Jones to name just a few–helped OU recognize its newest graduates and honor those in the Oaksterdam community–activists, entrepreneurs, students, faculty and citizens–who have fought for cannabis rights and freedoms for over 20 years.

“While there is much still to do,” said OU Executive Chancellor Dale Sky Jones, “we wanted to recognize, honor and thank people who have made a difference in transforming the movement into an industry. This evening was about celebrating the gladiators for how much has been accomplished as well as remembering what has been lost in the cannabis policy reform battle.”

Held at the Scottish Rite Center on the shores of Lake Merritt in Oakland, CA, the evening began with a graduation ceremony for Oaksterdam alumni from April 2012 to the present. Commencement speaker Oakland City Councilmember-At-Large Rebecca Kaplan spoke eloquently of her experiences through the years, including experiencing the federal raid on Oaksterdam in 2012 while the worst mass shooting in Oakland history occurred simultaneously a few miles away at Oikos University.

Keynote speaker Richard Lee, Oaksterdam University’s retired founder, was honored with Living Legend Recognition and received a standing ovation. Alameda County Board of Supervisors presented the college with a formal Commendation as a dynamic, diverse and responsive academic institution dedicated to equity and educating the global cannabis community as the world’s only hands-on training facility.

Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” – Margaret Mead

Award winners included Lynette Shaw (Cannabis Pioneer Award), Valerie Corral for WAMM and Ann Lee For RAMP (Advocacy Awards), Tommy Chong (Luminary Award), Dr. Sue Sisley (Chancellor’s High Achievement Award), Richard Lee (Living Legend Recognition) and many more. Green Heart Medals were awarded to a host of people for suffering great loss or ‘shedding blood’ while placing themselves at great risk for cannabis freedom and rights. A Certificate of Appreciation was given to major sponsor Acres Cannabis from NV and to Big Rock, who funded $25,000 in scholarships this year. 

OU is also publishing a Legacy Book to commemorate its history and to recognize those who have fought for cannabis rights, which is available for pre-order. Page dedications and advertising opportunities are available through December 14, 2017.

Award Winners

Oaksterdam University Recognizes the Following Individuals Who Have Exhibited Extraordinary Commitment to the Mission of Quality Training for the Cannabis Industry. Our Alumni Are Changing the World!

Moment of Remembrance

    • “We stand on the shoulders of giants. We see more and farther than our predecessors, not because we have keener vision or greater height, but because we are lifted up and borne aloft on their gigantic stature.” – Bernard of Chartres
    • Robert (Bob) Lee, Alex Zavell, John Sperling, Mike Gray, Senator John Vasconcellos, Monty Jacobs, Carl “Lasagna” Minss, Laurence Lichter, Dr. Tod Hiro Mikuriya, Jack Herer, Alexander Shulgin, Ben Masel, Bill Rosendahl, Cecile Bonaudi, Eric Heimstadt, Hugh Hefner, Dr. J. Thomas Ungerleider, Jay Bergstrom, Joe McNamara, Peter Baez, Patrick McCartney, Paul Kantner, Ray Manzarek, Ryan Landers, Richard Lake, Dr. Phillip E. Leveque, Mickey Martin, Rik Musty, Richard Lake, Randy Givens, Steve Collett, Steven Gaskin, Strain Hunter Franco Loja, Dr. Tom O’Connell, William H Buckman

Cannabis Pioneer Award
– Lynette Shaw

    • “Only those who will risk going too far can possibly find out how far one can go.” – T.S. Eliot

Oaksterdam Ambassador Recognition
– Daniel Cedeno

Advocacy Award
– Valerie Corral for WAMM & Ann Lee For RAMP

  • Those Who Have Exhibited Extraordinary Selflessness in the Service of Others.
  • “A hero is someone who has given his or her life to something bigger than oneself.” – Joseph Campbell

International Cannabis Advocacy Award

    • Improving Awareness and Inspiring International Cannabis Policy Reform

Green Heart Medals

    • ”For Merit”, Those Who Have Been Wounded in Combat; Raided, Arrested or Convicted, They have “shed blood” under great risk.
    • Valerie Corral
    • Sarah Shrader
    • Jose Gutierrez
    • Big Mike Parker
    • Jeff Jones
    • dress wedding
    • Michelle Aldrich
    • Virgil Grant
    • Richard Lee
    • Ed Rosenthal
    • Kyle Kushman

Luminary Award
– Tommy Chong

  • One Who Inspires and Influences Others to Embrace and Enjoy Cannabis.
  • “Judge each day not by the harvest you reap, but by the seeds you plant.” – Robert Louis Stevenson

Meritorious Service in Public Office Medal – Rebecca Kaplan

    • Changing the world one law at a time

Literary Excellence Award
– Ed Rosenthal

    • Recognizes Ed Rosenthal for Exceptional Literary Contributions, Improving Awareness and Increasing Educational Opportunities in the Fields of Cannabis and Horticulture.
    • “One book, one pen, one child, and one teacher can change the world.” – Malala Yousafzai

Distinguished Service & Heroism Recognition of “Pre & Post Raid” Faculty

    • For Distinguished Service to Oaksterdam University Before and After the Federal Raid on April 2, 2012, in the Face of Adversity and a Determined Enemy. Their Dedication and Commitment to Duty Undoubtedly Saved the School, While Their Leadership and Service were Instrumental to Oaksterdam University’s Successful Response to a Lethal Attack.
    • Recognized on the 18th Day of November, 2017, the Following Individuals Have Distinguished Themselves With Heroism and Exceptionally Meritorious Service to Oaksterdam University.

  • “Aunt Sandy” Moriarty
  • “Big Mike” Parker
  • Chad Gilmore
  • Chris Conrad
  • Dale Sky Jones
  • David McCulluck

  • Deidra Bagdasarian
  • Ed Rosenthal
  • Felicia Shaw
  • James Silva
  • Jeff Jones
  • Joey Ereñeta

  • Kali Grech Perkins
  • Paul Armentano
  • Richard Lee
  • Robert Raich
  • Sarah Shrader

“Good Soldier” Awards

Courage Award – Sarah Shrader and Jose Gutierrez

  • “The award for Courage is presented to the Oaksterdam soldier who has contributed to the legalization effort at great personal risk.
  • “I learned that courage was not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it. The brave man is not he who does not feel afraid, but he who conquers that fear.” – Nelson Mandela

Dedication Award – Mikki Norris

  • Demonstrating Selfless Dedication to Civil Rights and Cannabis Policy Reform
  • “Start by doing what’s necessary; then do what’s possible; and suddenly you are doing the impossible.” – Francis of Assisi

Skill in Combat Award
– Alice Huffman & Hezekiah Allen

  • “Education is the most powerful weapon which you can use to change the world.” – Nelson Mandela

Freedom Fighter Award
– Diane Wattles-Goldstein

  • “In any civilized society, it is every citizen’s responsibility to obey just laws. But at the same time, it is every citizen’s responsibility to disobey unjust laws.” – Martin Luther King Jr.

Oaksterdam University Faculty Dedication Recognition

Faculty Member of the Year – Jeff Jones – for Great Dedication to OU and our Students

2017 Employee of the Year
– Morgan Vannavilaithong

  • “When you’re surrounded by people who share a passionate commitment around a common purpose, anything is possible.” – Howard Schultz

A Special Thank You to the OU Staff, who brought this amazing event to life, and are the beating heart of our school. Thank you for the rhythm of Green and Gold!

Volunteers and Veterans who came to allow the staff to party, Thank YOU!

Dean’s Medallion of Honor
– “Big Mike” Parker and Joey Ereneta

  • “Individual commitment to a group effort – that is what makes a team work, a company work, a society work, a civilization work. ” – Vince Lombardi

Chancellor’s High Achievement Award
Sue Sisley

  • Sue Sisley is recognized for Working to Provide Definitive Answers on the Medical Benefits of Cannabis for Wounded Veterans.

    Living Legend Recognition
    – Richard Lee

    • “First they ignore you; then they mock you; then they punish you; then you win.” – Mahatma Ghandi

    Legacy Book

    OU is publishing a Legacy Book to commemorate its history and to recognize those who have fought for cannabis rights, which is available for pre-order. Page dedications and advertising sponsorship opportunities are available through December 14, 2017.

    Thank You to All of Our Friends, Family, Faculty, Graduates, & Sponsors!