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Office of The President California State University, Sacramento

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Honorary Degrees

About 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.

2022 Submissions

Things to consider before submitting a nomination:

The submission form must be submitted completely. Partially complete submissions will not be accepted.

Questions that will be asked when submitting a nomination (* means required)

  • Nominator contact information (*name, *email, *phone, *address)
  • Nominee contact information (*name, *organization, *affiliation to Sac State, email, address, phone)
  • Additional information about nominee
    * How does the nominee demonstrate inspirational character, excellence and extraordinary achievement in significant areas of human endeavor that reflect the objectives and ideals of the California State University?
    * What is your nominee's community involvement?
    * How does your nominee's life, conduct, and significant achievements serve as examples of the California State University's aspirations for its diverse student body?
    * Please provide any additional information that supports your nominee’s selection.
Supporting documentation (such as letter of recommendation, pictures, articles, etc...) are highly suggested and can be uploaded as part of the nomination form.
Nominations without any additional supporting documentation or letters of recommendation are often not sufficient enough for the Selection Committee to evaluate compared to complete submissions.

Deadline to submit a nominee for the 2021/22 Honorary Doctorate was October 22, 2021

2021 Recipients

Ritchey Headshot

Lee Ritchey

Founder and President, Speeding Edge
2021 Honorary Doctor of Science

Lee Ritchey is the Founder and President of Speeding Edge, an international company engaged in training, consulting, and publishing on high-speed design topics such as signal integrity analysis, printed circuit board (PCB) design and electromagnetic interference (EMI) control. Through Speeding Edge, Mr. Ritchey has taught over 11,000 engineers– both domestic and international. He is a life member of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers, founding member of the Printed Circuit Design Conference, member of the DesignCon Conference Planning Committee, and Cofounder and Sponsor of Hornet Leadership Program.

Mr. Ritchey has written over 100 technical articles published in trade journals and conference proceedings, and authored three internationally recognized books: High Speed PCB Design (1999), Right the First Time, A Practical Handbook on High Speed PCB and System Design, Volumes 1 and 2 (2003, 2006).

Joy Stewart James Headshot

Joy Stewart-James

Associate Vice President, Student Health and Counseling Services, Sacramento State
2021 President’s Medal for Distinguished Service

Dr. Joy Stewart-James is Sacramento State’s associate vice president for Student Health and Counseling Services (SHCS). She came to college health and wellness in August 2007 after working more than 20 years for a large hospital health care system in Austin, Texas, overseeing ambulatory care clinics, including several inpatient and outpatient departments. Soon after coming to Sacramento State, she oversaw the design and construction of a new state-of-the-art health center, The WELL, which opened in September 2010 and includes an urgent care medical clinic, and facilities for primary care, women’s health, laboratory services, radiology, pharmacy, health education, counseling, psychiatry services, victim support services, and athletic training. During her first two years, she successfully integrated health and counseling services and transitioned to a shared electronic health record, which supports a holistic, interdisciplinary care model.

Signh Headshot

Rekhi Singh

Managing Director, R. Systems
2021 President’s Medal for Distinguished Service

Rekhi Singh ’88 (M.B.A.) wants Sacramento State students to be happy. “If you are grateful, you will be happy,” he says. “If you are social, you will be happy.” Mr. Singh first became interested in the science of happiness about six years ago, eventually establishing a research center on the topic at his undergraduate alma mater in India. In his personal life, he practices gratitude daily. Before going to sleep, he thinks about the things for which he is grateful, no matter how small.

In 2019, the businessman, entrepreneur and Hornet alumnus brought that mindset to Sacramento State, making a gift to the University to establish the campus’s very first endowed professorship, the Rekhi Singh Endowed Professor in Happiness. Housed within the Department of Psychology, the position promotes happiness through academic research, curriculum development, cross-campus partnerships and other activities.

Previous Recipients

Kevin Michael Nagle
Chairman & CEO, Sac Soccer & Entertainment Holdings
Doctor of Humane Letters 2020

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
Doctor of Humane Letters 2018

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

Ephraim Williams
Doctor of Humane Letters 2017

Gregory Kondos '51, MA '57 (Art)
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
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