Honorary Degrees

The California State University awards honorary degrees to individuals who have demonstrated excellence in areas that benefit humanity, CSU campuses, the state, nation and/or world. Recipients serve as examples to be recognized and honored for their exemplary contributions. The degrees are given by the CSU Board of Trustees in the name of the California State University and in the name of the campus. The CSU awarded its first honorary degree to then-President John F. Kennedy in June 1963 at San Diego State University. 

Click here to submit a nomination.

Submission deadline is September 28, 2017.

For more information, view the California State University Board of Trustees policy for awarding honorary degrees. 

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Previous Recipients

Cheryl Dell '82 (Communication Studies)
Former newspaper executive
Doctor of Humane Letters 2017

Alumna Cheryl Dell is the former publisher and president of The Sacramento Bee, the fifth largest newspaper in California. Her career in news spans nearly 33 years and includes positions in Texas and Washington. She returned to Sacramento to take over the flagship publication of the McClatchy Company after 11 years with the organization.

Throughout her career, Dell strongly believed in volunteering and to that end, served on the board of directors for various organizations in the Sacramento region which include the Sacramento Tree Foundation, Valley Vision, Sacramento Area Commerce and Trade Organization (SACTO), the Salvation Army Advisory Board and MLK 365. Additionally, she served on the executive committee and chaired the board for the Inland Press Foundation.

The Bee has a 160-year legacy of public service journalism and has won nearly every major journalism award under Dell's leadership, including the Pulitzer Prize.

Cheryl Dell

Ephraim Williams
Pastor
Doctor of Humane Letters 2017

Pastor Ephraim Williams is the most senior pastor in the Sacramento region and leads the St. Paul Missionary Baptist Church, one of the largest congregations in the area. Over his 45-year tenure, he has grown the church’s membership from 133 in 1971 to more than 4,000 today. He has performed more than 900 marriages, 2,200 funerals, 2,100 baptisms and 6,100 sermons.

His outreach to the community includes regular participation in the CSU’s and Sacramento State’s “Super Sunday” effort to encourage college enrollment. He also spearheads the St. Paul and Oak Park Community Outreach Program, which provides recreational, educational and family support programs. Williams’ commitment to the region extends to his service to organizations such as the Sacramento Baptist Ministers Conference, the Sacramento Urban League, the NAACP and the Sacramento City Unified School District.

Ephraim Williams

Gregory Kondos '51, MA '57 (Art)
Artist
Doctor of Fine Arts 2016

Renowned landscape artist Gregory Kondos’ contributions to the art community have earned him accolades around the world. Kondos is considered one of America’s leading contemporary landscape painters and his works have been exhibited in museums and galleries in the U.S. and abroad. 

For nearly 30 years Mr. Kondos taught art at the college level at Sacramento City College, where he founded the campus gallery which is named in his honor. At Sacramento State, he gifted his painting “River Life” to the University Library and it now hangs in the lobby of the Harper Alumni Center, where it can be enjoyed by hundreds of visitors each year. 

His many honors also include election to the National Academy of Design, the Lifetime Achievement Award from the 1999 International Biennale in Florence, Italy and a Master of Drawing Award from American Artist magazine.

David Lucchetti '67 (Physical Education), Credential '68
Business Leader
Doctor of Humane Letters 2016

David Lucchetti is president and CEO of Pacific Coast Building Products, a family-owned company based in the Sacramento region with operations in 13 western states and Canada.

Lucchetti has been an active member of the Sacramento community, co-chairing the capital campaign for Sierra Adoption Services and his family made the lead gift to the Sutter Medical Center Foundation in 2005 and was recognized with the naming of the Anderson Lucchetti Women’s and Children’s Center. In 2004 he was named Business Man of the Year and in 2008 he was named Sacramentan of the Year by the Sacramento Metropolitan Chamber of Commerce.

At his alma mater, Lucchetti has been a supporter of Sacramento State athletics and scholarship programs and has been a member of the College of Business Administration Advisory Council.

David Lucchetti

Lester Holt
News anchor, NBC Nightly News and Dateline NBC
Doctor of Humane Letters 2015

Lester Holt is an award-winning journalist who has covered some of the nation's—and the world's—most important news stories as a television reporter and anchor. After studying government at Sacramento State, Holt began a more than 30-year career in news that put him on the frontline of such breaking stories as the war in Afghanistan and the 2011 Egyptian revolution. 

Holt is a graduate of Cordova High in Rancho Cordova. His wife, Carol, and his parents, June and Lester Sr. were in the audience to see him receive his honorary doctorate.

"I am honored, and I certainly accept this degree with deep gratitude," said Holt, who noted that his father also attended—and graduated from—Sacramento State. "I am so proud to be and (to) have been associated with this University."
Holt

Joyce Raley Teel
Businesswoman
Doctor of Humane Letters 2015

For nearly 80 years, “Raley” has been a household name in northern California. Joyce Raley Teel is the daughter of Thomas P. Raley, founder of Raley’s Family of Fine Stores, a privately held family business.

Carrying the legacy of her family’s commitment to community, Mrs. Teel co-founded the Raley’s Food for Families program, which started as a holiday food drive and now is a year-round effort to combat hunger. In addition, she and her husband James Teel ’53 (Business Administration) co-chair the Thomas P. Raley Foundation and contribute to the community through their own Joyce and Jim Teel Family Foundation. She was also honorary chair of the $100 million campaign to expand the Crocker Art Museum, which named the Teel Family Pavilion in honor of this leadership and gift.

"Thank you for this most esteemed honor—my father and mother would be very proud of me today, if they saw me here on this stage."
JRT

Previous Recipients (Continued)

Dale Carlsen '84 (Business Administration)
Doctor of Humane Letters 2013

Hugo Noe Morales Rosas
Doctor of Fine Arts 2011

Cruz Reynoso
Doctor of Laws 2012

Marcy Friedman
Doctor of Fine Arts 2010

Mario G. Obledo
Doctor of Laws 2010

Frederick Teichert '95 MBA
Doctor of Humane Letters 2009

Winnie Leung, MS '97 (Accountancy)
Doctor of Humane Letters 2007

Roger Valine '73 (Sociology)
Doctor of Humane Letters 2007

Robert T. Matsui
Doctor of Laws 2006

Hans J.A. Van Ginkel
Doctor of Letters 2003

Ingrid Moses
Doctor of Letters 2003

Phillip L. Isenberg '61 (Social Science)
Doctor of Letters 2002

Richard W. Riley
Doctor of Humane Letters 2001

Grantland Johnson '74 (Government)
Doctor of Humane Letters 2001

Dorothy Stevens Enomoto
Doctor of Humane Letters 2001

Steven Lee Yamshon '77 (Envrionmental Resources)
Doctor of Humane Letters 1999

Angelo K. Tsakopoulos '60 (History)
Doctor of Humane Letters 1998

Wayne Thiebaud '51, MA '53 (Art)
Doctor of Fine Arts 1998

Heitor Gurgulino de Souza
Doctor of Laws 1996

Sisbusiso M.E. Bengu
Doctor of Laws 1996

Federico Mayor
Doctor of Laws 1996

Anna Deavere Smith
Doctor of Fine Arts 1996

George Perle
Doctor of Fine Arts 1996

Lou Harrison
Doctor of Fine Arts 1993

Nathaniel S. Colley, Sr.
Doctor of Laws 1988

Albert S. Rodda
Doctor of Laws 1987