Dwight E. Stanford
Attorney, Educator, Philanthropist
San Diego State University
Dwight E. Stanford is a native San Diegan whose leadership, generosity and devotion to the community reflect a rare breadth of achievement in public life. Born on April 16, 1914, he attended elementary and secondary schools in San Diego and in 1936 graduated from San Diego State College with a bachelor's degree in history. That same year he also received his law degree from Balboa School of Law. He completed his master's degree at Stanford University in 1937 and later undertook additional graduate study at the University of Southern California.
Mr. Stanford was admitted to the State Bar of California in 1936 and practiced law for the next 40 years, retiring from active practice in 1976. He is a member of the San Diego County Bar Association and the American Bar Association, has served on many professional committees, and has published in the California Bar Journal. In 1964, Mr. Stanford was awarded the San Diego Bar Association's prestigious award for distinguished service to the community.
From 1939 until 1951, Mr. Stanford served as President of Balboa University, later renamed United States International University, and now known as Alliant International University. Under his leadership, the university expanded from a School of Law with only nine enrolled students into a university with multiple subject area specializations. During his administration, the school acquired a 140-acre campus on Point Loma and expanded enrollment to nearly 700 students.
Over the years, Mr. Stanford also generously donated his time and resources to philanthropic causes. He served on the board of San Diego Community Services, (now the United Way) for more than 10 years and organized the Mission-Crest Community Council. He helped found the San Diego Foundation, an organization that has played a major role in revitalizing civic life in San Diego. He also contributed his leadership talents to the Boy Scouts, the San Diego arts and the Hillcrest-Mission Valley Lions Club. In 1961, the Lions Club presented him with its highest honor, the Ambassador of Good Will Award.
His most enduring legacy may well be at San Diego State University. He has been active in the SDSU Alumni Association, having served as director and as the chair of the Planned Giving Committee in 1987-88. He and his wife, Fern Stanford, have endowed the Dwight E. Stanford Chair in American Foreign Relations, which will make a long-lasting difference in the ability of the SDSU Department of History to compete for scholars and students. As a university president, Mr. Stanford greatly expanded the opportunities available to a generation of students. As an attorney, he received public recognition for his service to the bar and the community. As a business leader, he made a difference in the day-to-day operation of a large economic enterprise. As a community leader, he gave of himself unstintingly to help others.
In recognition of his lifelong work in the community, the Board of Trustees of the California State University and San Diego State University are proud to confer upon Dwight E. Stanford the honorary degree of Doctor of Laws.