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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 are 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.

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

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2020 Recipients

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Kevin Nagel Photo
Kevin Michael Nagle
Chairman & CEO, Sac Soccer & Entertainment Holdings

2020 Recipient of an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters

Kevin Michael Nagle

A Sacramento resident for 26 years, Mr. Kevin Nagle is a local legend. As the largest local owner of the National Basketball Association’s Sacramento Kings, and Chairman and Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Sacramento’s newly-minted Major League Soccer team, Sacramento Republic FC, he is a hero to sports fans and economic developers in the Sacramento region.

Mr. Nagle was the co-founder and CEO of Envision Pharmaceutical Holdings, the nation’s fifth-largest prescription benefit management company, before it was acquired by Rite Aid Corp. in June 2015. Currently, he is owner and President of the Nagle Company, which is actively engaged in real estate development, venture capital, and private equity.

A dedicated philanthropist, Mr. Nagle also is a hero to community members in need. In 2019, he was named the United Cerebral Palsy Humanitarian of the Year, Sacramento's premier humanitarian award, presented annually to individuals who have made exceptional contributions to the Sacramento region and to enhancing the lives of others. A recipient of numerous awards from other organizations in the region too numerous to mention, Mr. Nagle was also selected as the Sacramentan of the Year by the Sac Metro Chamber of Commerce for comprehensive contributions to the region... Read More About Kevin Michael Nagle

Lorenda T. Sanchez Headshot
Lorenda T. Sanchez
Executive Director, California Indian Manpower Consortium, Inc.
2020 Recipient of an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters

Lorenda T. Sanchez

Lorenda T. Sanchez (Northern Paiute) has dedicated more than 45 years to enhancing the lives of Native Americans through the administration of job training. In that time, more than 125,000 individuals and their families have benefited from Ms. Sanchez’s unwavering commitment to improving the lives of Native Americans. Her legacy is proof that Ms. Sanchez’s top priorities are to provide service to Native American communities and to improve the conditions that persist throughout Indian Country.

Since 1977, Ms. Sanchez has served as Executive Director of California Indian Manpower Consortium, Inc. (CIMC), the largest Native American social and human service organization in the nation. In this role, she has strengthened CIMC's commitment to building partnerships with each new administration in Washington, DC. Ms. Sanchez also strengthened collaborations with the U.S. Department of Labor and the Division of Indian and Native American Programs and maintained a strong voice and significant role for CIMC in the Workforce Innovation and Opportunity Act implementation. With Ms. Sanchez at the helm, CIMC creates meaningful solutions that are relevant for the social, economic, and employment and training needs of Native American people and their communities.

For decades, Ms. Sanchez and CIMC have provided vital opportunities for Tribal and Native American communities, such as... Read More About Lorenda T. Sanchez

Marielle B. Tsukamoto
Ms. Marielle B. Tsukamoto
Retired Principal and Past President of the Florin Japanese American Citizens League, Sacramento Valley
2020 President’s Medal for Distinguished Service

Marielle B. Tsukamoto

Marielle Tsukamoto embodies the vision and values of Sacramento State. Her lifelong commitment to education and innovative approaches to teaching about issues of Constitutional rights and inclusivity, along with her tireless community engagement, make her a treasure for our region, our state, and our nation.

In 1942, Ms. Tsukamoto and her parents were among more than 5,000 people of Japanese descent living in Sacramento who were forcibly evacuated and sent to live in U.S. concentration camps. On the morning they were sent away, Ms. Tsukamoto vividly remembers her grandmother crying in her precious flower garden, afraid she would never return home. At the tender age of 5, Ms. Tsukamoto took her grandmother’s hand and told her everything would be okay, and that she knew they would make it back someday. Fortunately, through the grace of a friend, Bob Fletcher, who tended their farm and paid their mortgage, and returned it, the Tsukamoto family was able to return to their Florin farm after the war in 1945. Only a few families were able to return. The town of Florin disappeared.

Ms. Tsukamoto was one of 120,000 people who were imprisoned during World War II. She openly shares stories of the humility, uncertainty, and fear inflicted... Read More About Marielle B. Tsukamoto

Previous Recipients

Marlene Marie von Friederichs-Fitzwater
Emeritus Faculty and Founder of the Health Communication Research Institute Inc.
Doctor of Humane Letters 2019

Hazel Witten Mahone
Emeritus Faculty, Author, and Advocate
Doctor of Humane Letters 2019

Alice A. Huffman
Political Activist
Doctor of Humane Letters 2018

Ruth M. Rippon
Distinguished Artist
Doctor of Fine Arts 2018

Ernest E. Tschannen
Philanthropist
Doctor of Humane Letters 2018

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

Ephraim Williams
Pastor
Doctor of Humane Letters 2017

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

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

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

Joyce Raley Teel
Businesswoman
Doctor of Humane Letters 2015

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