Honorary Degrees

Honorary Degrees

Dale Carlsen
  • Dale Carlsen
Dale Carlsen

Businessman/Philanthropist

California State University, Sacramento

California State University, Sacramento alumnus Dale Carlsen '84 (Business Administration) is the founder of Sleep Train Mattress Centers, Inc. Sleep Train is now an employee-owned company that regularly ranks as a top mattress retailer in consumer polls. It is the largest mattress seller on the West Coast and is among the top four in the country.

While earning his degree in business administration at Sacramento State, Mr. Carlsen learned of the challenges facing children in the foster care system. He and his wife, Katy, created Sleep Train's Foster Kids program to raise awareness and help provide for foster children's needs. For more than 20 years, the program has collected funds, clothing and school supplies for foster children, and the company's mattress donation program provides thousands of new mattress sets to foster homes each year. Sleep Train's Ticket to Dream Foundation also has given more than $150,000 to Sacramento State's Guardian Scholars Program, which provides support services for former foster youth pursuing degrees at the university.

Mr. Carlsen's efforts, both in business and philanthropy, have earned him numerous awards including the Ernst & Young Entrepreneur of the Year Award, Sacramento Metro Chamber Businessman of the Year and Junior Achievement Volunteer of the Year. In February 2013, he was honored as Sacramentan of the Year by the Sacramento Metro Chamber.

He received the university's Distinguished Alumni Award in 2002, the College of Business Administration Alumnus of the Year Award in 2001 and the Lambda Chi Alpha Fraternity Distinguished Alumni Award in 2007. In addition, he was selected to be featured in the California State University's statewide "Working for California" advertising campaign.

In recognition of his personal and professional achievements and meritorious service to society, the Board of Trustees of the California State University and California State University, Sacramento are proud to confer upon Dale Carlsen the honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters.