Honorary Degrees

Honorary Degrees

Michelle DeYoung
  • Michelle DeYoung
Michelle DeYoung

Mezzo-Soprano Opera Star

California State University, Northridge

California State University, Northridge alumna Michelle DeYoung is among the world's elite mezzo-sopranos and one of the most exciting and respected musical artists of her generation. Recognized internationally in her vocal genre for both her range and repertoire, she personifies the excellence and achievements that embody the objectives and ideals of the California State University, and serves as a professionally dynamic example of the University's aspirations for its diverse student body.

Born in 1968 in Colorado, Ms. DeYoung grew up in California, spending summers in the San Fernando Valley with her extended family. She came to the attention of faculty of the University's Music Department while in high school. Ms. DeYoung entered California State University, Northridge in 1990 as a first-year music major to study voice performance and participate in the CSUN opera program.

Over the next two and a half years she demonstrated enormous talent. At her professors' urging she competed for the Metropolitan Opera National Council Award in 1992. After winning the local, regional and national first prizes, she was invited to join the Met's prestigious three-year Lindemann Young Artist Development Program the following year.

In the 18 years since leaving California State University, Northridge, Ms. DeYoung has appeared in most of the world's finest opera houses with the world's greatest orchestras and most prestigious conductors. She has performed many of the most beautiful and challenging roles in the classical music repertoire. Her recordings have thrice been honored with Grammy Awards: Best Classical Album and Best Opera Recording for Les Troyens with Sir Colin Davis and the London Symphony Orchestra in 2001; and Best Classical Album in 2004 for her recording of Kindertotenlieder and Mahler's Symphony No. 3 with Michael Tilson Thomas and the San Francisco Symphony Orchestra.

Valuing her ties to California State University, Northridge and her commitment to higher education, Ms. DeYoung remained in contact with faculty mentors throughout her career. In 2008 she re-enrolled to complete a few remaining courses and earned her Bachelor's of Music in Vocal Arts from the university in 2009.

In recognition of the extraordinary contributions she has made to American culture and the world, and her commitment to this university, the Board of Trustees of the California State University and California State University, Northridge are proud to confer upon Michelle DeYoung the degree of Doctor of Fine Arts.