Honorary Degree Recipients

Since 1963, the 23 CSU campuses have awarded 436 individuals honorary degrees to recognize their excellence in areas that benefit humanity, CSU campuses, the state, nation or world. The degrees are given by the CSU Board of Trustees in the name of the California State University or in the name of the CSU and a campus, which is the typical designation. For more information about the nomination and selection process, visit http://www.calstate.edu/honorarydegrees/.

John Farrer, CSU Bakersfield

John Farrer CSU Bakersfield today announced that it will award its highest honor to John Farrer, Music Director of the Bakersfield Symphony Orchestra. Farrer will receive only the second Honorary Doctor of Fine Arts to be awarded by the university, the first having gone to Merle Haggard in 2013. The honorary degree will be conferred during the spring commencement ceremony on Friday, June 13th at 7am at the CSUB Amphitheater. Read more about Farrer.

Yoshie Akiba, CSU East Bay

Yoshie Akiba
CSU East Bay will award an honorary doctoral degree to Yoshie Akiba, a community activist and owner of Yoshi’s jazz clubs and restaurants in San Francisco and Oakland. Akiba, an innovative and successful entrepreneur in the restaurant and music industries, has helped create one of the world’s most respected jazz clubs while building Yoshi’s as one of the Bay Area’s premier locations for food and entertainment. Akiba is a co-founder of 510akland, which provides Oakland public school students with access to programs, resources, supplies, instruction, mentoring and training in music and the arts. Read more about Akiba.

Stephen D. Bechtel Jr., CSU East Bay

Stephen D. Bechtel, Jr.
CSU East Bay will award an honorary doctoral degree to Stephen D. Bechtel, Jr., chair of the S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation. Bechtel, a civil engineer who became the leader of one of the nation’s foremost engineering and construction firms, is widely recognized as having contributed to building America’s industrial base and improving the quality of life around the world. He did this, primarily, as the third-generation leader of Bechtel Corp. beginning in 1960). He has continued to contribute to society with his philanthropic leadership of S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation as well as his service as chairman (retired) and senior director of the Bechtel Group. Read more about Bechtel.

Richard K. Davis, Cal State Fullerton

Richard K. Davis
Richard K. Davis, chairman, president and chief executive officer of U.S. Bancorp, will be awarded an honorary doctor of humane letters during May 17 commencement ceremonies at Cal State Fullerton. The 1983 CSUF economics graduate helms a financial services holding company with more than $361 billion in total assets and business across the United States, Canada and Europe. U.S. Bancorp is the parent company of U.S. Bank, the nation’s fifth largest commercial bank. Read more about Davis.

Herrmann Spetzler, Humboldt State

Humboldt State University alumnus Herrmann Spetzler will receive a Doctorate of Humane Letters in recognition to his dedication to expanding access to health care in rural Northern California. Spetzler, whose work has been recognized by the U.S. House of Representatives and the California State Assembly, is the CEO of the Humboldt Open Door Clinic Centers. More about Spetzler.

María Elena Durazo, Cal State L.A.

María Elena Durazo
María Elena Durazo, Executive Secretary-Treasurer of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO, will be conferred an Honorary Doctorate during Cal State L.A.’s Commencement this spring. The hooding ceremony will take place on June 14, as part of the College of Health and Human Services undergraduate graduation. Read more about Durazo.

Julie Packard, CSU Monterey Bay

Julie Packard
The first person to receive an honorary doctor of science degree from CSU Monterey Bay, Julie Packard— founding director of the Monterey Bay Aquarium—has become a force for advancing ocean conservation worldwide through the aquarium’s exhibits and programs, and its work in scientific research, education and public policy. Her degree will be awarded on May 17 at CSUMB’s 18th commencement. Read more about Packard.