Calstate.edu will undergo maintenance and be unavailable
Saturday, October 18 at 6 p.m. Pacific Time until Sunday, October 19 at 9 a.m. Pacific Time

Public Affairs

Degrees of Distinction

June 20, 2012
By Elizabeth Chapin


Degrees of Distinction

The California State University awarded its first honorary degree to President John F. Kennedy in 1963 at San Diego State. Since that time, the CSU has awarded honorary degrees to more than 400 distinguished individuals.

Differing from the traditional earned academic degrees, honorary degrees are doctoral level degrees that are conferred to recognize an individual’s contributions to a specific field, to society and/or to the university. Although honorary graduates do not typically use the formal prefix of “Doctor,” the designation gives them a tremendous mark of distinction.

Degrees are granted by the Board of Trustees in the name of the California State University, or in the name of the CSU and a campus. The CSU confers the LLD (Doctor of Laws), LittD (Doctor of Letters), LHD (Doctor of Humane Letters), ScD (Doctor of Science), and the DFA (Doctor of Fine Arts). The LHD, which recognizes achievements in the humanities and contributions to society, is most common.

Here are the CSU’s honorary degree recipients for spring 2012:

Vincent Barabba
Doctor of Laws
CSU Northridge

CSUN alumnus Vincent Barabba served in the U.S. Bureau of the Census under Presidents Carter and Reagan, and was appointed by President George HW Bush as U.S. Representative on the Population Commission of the UN Economic and Social Council. He later assumed executive positions at major corporations including Xerox, Kodak and General Motors, where he was responsible for initiating Onstar technology. Named CSUN Distinguished Alumnus in 2003, Barabba is on the university’s foundation board of directors.

Bert Forbes
Candace Forbes

Doctor of Science
Cal Poly San Luis Obispo

Bert Forbes and his wife, Candace are community leaders and leaders in the high tech industry, having co-founded Ziatech Corporation, an applied computing solutions supplier and manufacturer in San Luis Obispo. A civic-oriented business, the company was named the Small Business Administration’s Central California Small Business of the Year in 1994 and in 2000 it was purchased by Intel. The couple began their support of Cal Poly with a 1986 gift to the College of Engineering and contributions continued—including two endowed professorships, an engineering lab endowment fund, and support for the Society of Women Engineers and the engineering pre-college outreach program.

Kathy Ireland
Doctor of Humane Letters
CSU Channel Islands

Although Kathy Ireland may be best known to the public as a Sports Illustrated swimsuit issue model, she subsequently expanded her career to include acting, writing, health promotion and later entrepreneurship. Ireland generously uses her power and influence to benefit others, supporting social causes including empowering women, supporting young girls through mentoring, and providing opportunities for girls and women at risk.

Robert N. Klein, JD
Doctor of Laws
Humboldt State

Robert Klein has had a profound effect on the development of biomedicine. He is the author and chair of California’s Proposition 71, the ballot initiative that created the California Institute for Regenerative Medicine, which led the way in developing stem cell technologies and education. Klein spearheaded a grant to the CSU for $17.5 million for training bachelor’s and master’s students in stem cell research techniques.

Henry L. “Hank” Lacayo
Doctor of Humane Letters
CSU Channel Islands

As national director of the United Auto Workers political and legislative department, Lacayo was committed to supporting workers’ rights. He also served as the adviser to four U.S. presidents, several governors, and the National Association for the Hispanic Elderly. The volunteer and philanthropist has helped CSUCI secure over $560,000 in financial support for its Henry L. “Hank” Lacayo Institute for Workforce and Community Studies.

Leonard Lavin
Doctor of Humane Letters
San Diego State

A visionary entrepreneur and advertising success, Lavin has made two major gifts totaling $3 million to the SDSU Entrepreneurial Management Center, where he is a guest lecturer and provides countless hours mentoring students. Active on many boards related to education, health care, and research, Lavin has won numerous awards including the Lincoln Laureate, the highest honor that can be bestowed on an Illinois native.

Sandra Lerner
Doctor of Science
CSU Chico

CSU Chico alumna Sandra Lerner co-founded Cisco Systems, Inc., the company that produced the first commercially viable computer network router. She recently donated her 7,000-volume collection of works by and about early English female writers to the Chawton House and Library, a 1580 English estate that serves as a historic cultural and educational center. Lerner also runs Ayrshire Farms, a certified organic, certified humane farm.

Donald L. Lucas
Sally Lucas

Doctor of Humane Letters
San José State

San José State alumnus Donald Lucas is the former owner of the Lucas dealership group, which he began while attending SJSU. The company eventually became one of the top 25 car retailers in the nation. He has demonstrated extraordinary achievement in his business career and has used that success toward the betterment of education and the arts. Mrs. Sally Lucas is a graduate of SJSU and owned and operated SL Interior Designs. She is a lifetime trustee of the Montello Arts Center and is the motivating force behind the establishment of the Sally and Don Lucas Artists Programs. Mr. and Mrs. Lucas co-chaired the Martin Luther King, Jr. Library Committee, contributed to the SJSU Heritage Gateway project, established Sally and Don Lucas Artists Programs, and committed $10 million to the Don and Sally Lucas Graduate School of Business, the largest gift ever received at SJSU. They also give time generously to many other community organizations.

Jenny Ming
Doctor of Humane Letters
San José State

SJSU alumna Jenny Ming is an immigrant whose family walked out of Communist China, settling in the United States when Ming was nine years old. She has run the hugely successful clothing firms GAP, Old Navy and now Charlotte Russe. She gives her time to various boards, including Kaiser Foundation Hospitals and Health Plans, and is a member of Committee of 100, a non-profit organization of accomplished Chinese Americans from business leaders to the arts.

Peter Oppenheimer
Doctor of Science
Cal Poly San Luis Obispo

President and Chief Financial Officer of Apple Inc., Oppenheimer first established a relationship with Cal Poly when he was an agribusiness student. A strong advocate for Cal Poly’s “learn by doing” approach to education, in 2004 he began serving on the President’s Cabinet, and he currently serves on the Cal Poly Foundation Board of Directors.

L. Robert “Bob” Payne
Doctor of Humane Letters
San Diego State

San Diego State alumnus Bob Payne developed a distinguished career, opening restaurants and hotels and running a real estate investment and management company. He now sits on civic and health care boards and was one of the 11 philanthropists who bought 50 percent ownership of the San Diego Padres in order to keep the team in the community. Payne has served as chair of the Campanile Foundation Board and helped with SDSU’s first comprehensive fundraising campaign.

Rogelio “Roy” Perez
Doctor of Humane Letters
San José State

Rogelio Perez is one of the most senior Latino lobbyists in Sacramento. He has led or played a role in virtually every major political campaign involving Latino candidates or issues facing the Latino community since the 1970s. Perez is a Vietnam-era veteran and maintains a strong relationship with the American GI Forum of California, for whom he is legislative adviser. He also serves as Chairman of the Board of Directors of the California Hispanic Chambers of Commerce.

Cruz Reynoso
Doctor of Laws
Sacramento State

Cruz Reynoso was the first Latino to serve on the California Supreme Court. He has also served as a Commissioner of the United States Civil Rights Commission and was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom for his lifelong devotion to public service. Now professor emeritus at the University of California, Davis, Reynoso remains an active member of numerous community boards, commissions and groups.

Dr. Alice Mitchell Rivlin
Doctor of Laws
CSU Monterey Bay

Rivlin served as vice chair of the Federal Reserve Board, director of the White House Office of Management and Budget, director of the Congressional Budget Office, director of the Economic Studies Program at Brookings, and was appointed by President Obama to serve on the Commission on Fiscal Responsibility and Reform. Honored by a MacArthur Foundation Prize Fellowship and Moynihan Prize, among others, she appears in newspapers and on television and radio, and is the author of numerous books. In 2011, Rivlin was honored at the annual Jefferson-Lincoln Awards at the CSUMB Panetta Institute for public policy.

Edward Rollins
Doctor of Humane Letters
CSU Chico

Chico State alumnus Edward Rollins has served for four United States Presidents – including as the director of President Reagan’s successful 1984 election campaign. Currently Rollins is chairman of the Rollins Strategy Group, a communications and crisis management firm with offices in New York and Washington DC. Rollins is an internationally renowned public and corporation relations strategist and well-known political commentator.

Richard “Rich” H. Sherratt
Doctor of Humane Letters
CSU East Bay

CSU East Bay alumnus Sherratt is currently president of the CSUEB Educational Foundation Board of Directors. With his wife, Susan, the couple established the Richard and Susan Sherratt Scholarship Endowment, the campus’ first endowed athletic scholarship. In addition to being a successful entrepreneur, Sherratt is a business and civic leader, having served as Alameda Vice Mayor and on the Alameda City Council – as well as on several educational and community boards.

Ronald R. Simons
Doctor of Humane Letters
Cal Poly Pomona

A Cal Poly Pomona alumnus who earned two bachelor’s degrees in 1964 and 69, Ron Simons is a retired 30-year campus leader in advancement and public affairs, who was nominated for his legacy of university service. Simons has served as chief administrator of the division of university advancement, executive assistant to the president, director of public affairs, director of alumni affairs, and director of development at Cal Poly Pomona.

Dave Stockton
Doctor of Humane Letters
CSU San Bernardino

PGA golf champion Dave Stockton is a great supporter of Coyote athletics, helping to raise funds through the Dave Stockton Coyote Golf Classic. As a community leader and philanthropist, Stockton regularly supports the Children’s Fund, Bighorn Institute, University of Redlands, Children’s Home Society, Congressional Medal of Honor Foundation, among other athletic fundraising activities.

Ellen Tauscher
Doctor of Laws
CSU East Bay
Ellen Tauscher was elected to the United States House of Representatives in 1996. As a congresswoman, Tauscher sponsored and co-sponsored numerous bills, many of which were directed toward improving education, health and welfare, and human rights. She resigned her seat on June 26, 2009, to take her appointed position as Undersecretary of State for Arms Control and International Security in President Obama’s administration. Tauscher’s congressional papers are now archived at CSU East Bay where they are available to researchers and citizens throughout the region.

Joan Weill
Doctor of Fine Arts
Sandy I. Weill
Doctor of Humane Letters
Sonoma State

Mrs. Joan Weill, along with her husband, Sandy Weill, has donated $800 million to the arts, health care, and educational and social service organizations. Originally from New York, where they are deeply committed to service and philanthropy, Mr. and Mrs. Weill have recently moved to Sonoma County and joined the community, becoming involved with Sonoma State and donating $12 million to the university’s music center. They serve on the Green Music Center Board of Advisors, and their support on behalf of the university includes opening their home for special events, and introducing philanthropists and community members to SSU’s Green Music Center.

Lenny Williams
Doctor of Fine Arts
CSU East Bay

Oakland native Lenny Williams is rightfully regarded as one of R&B’s most influential soul men, both with the band Tower of Power and as a solo artist. Williams serves on the board of directors for the Keep the Music Rockin’ Foundation and is ambassador for the Lazarex Cancer Foundation. He works to raise awareness of health issues among various ethnic communities, to promote the arts, to further autism research, and to encourage young people to build lives free of violence.

For more information about the CSU’s honorary degree recipients, visit http://www.calstate.edu/honorarydegrees/