Honorary Degrees

Honorary Degrees

Stephen Bechtel Jr.
  • Stephen Bechtel Jr.
Stephen Bechtel Jr.

Businessman/Philanthropist/Civic Leader

California State University, East Bay

Stephen Bechtel Jr. is an internationally recognized engineer, business, philanthropist and civic leader who has made significant and sustained contributions to his profession and enhanced the quality of life for communities throughout the world. Under Mr. Bechtel's leadership, the innovation and influence of the Bechtel Corporation has permanently changed the landscape of engineering and construction, with a legacy of excellence established for the future.

An Oakland native and third-generation leader of the worldwide engineering and construction business founded by his grandfather, Mr. Bechtel received his bachelor of science degree in engineering from Purdue University and a master in business administration from Stanford University. After completing graduate school, he held a variety of positions throughout Bechtel, both in the field and in the office. He was elected president of the parent company in 1960 and became chairman in 1973.

Mr. Bechtel has held six federal appointments under three U.S. presidents and was awarded the National Medal of Technology, the nation's highest honor for technical achievement. He served as Director on the boards of several major corporations, including General Motors and IBM, and as Chairman for many industry and community organizations, including the National Academy of Engineering.

In 1957, Mr. Bechtel established the S.D. Bechtel Jr. Foundation "to improve the quality of life for Californians by addressing selected issues that challenge the health and prosperity of the state." Most recently, the Foundation has concentrated its grant-making to support education and transformative social and environmental projects that have a large-scale public benefit.

As one of California's leading education foundations, the S.D. Bechtel Jr. Foundation has been at the forefront of working with California school districts to implement the new Common Core State Standards and Next Generation Science Standards. The Foundation has made significant grants to institutions of higher education, including California State University, East Bay, with significant investments aimed at helping close the achievement gap to provide high-quality education opportunities for diverse and educationally disadvantaged student populations.

In recognition of his support for education, and his extraordinary professional achievements and outstanding civic leadership, the Board of Trustees of the California State University and California State University, East Bay are proud to confer upon Stephen Bechtel Jr. the honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters.