San Diego State University today announced it will award honorary doctorate degrees to two distinguished San Diegans, marking the 50th anniversary of SDSU's first honorary doctorate, which was given to President John F. Kennedy in 1963.
The Honorable Jerry Sanders, former San Diego mayor, and Linda Lang, chairman of the board and chief executive officer of Jack in the Box Inc., will be honored during commencement ceremonies May 17 and 18 at Viejas Arena.
"We are especially pleased to honor Jerry Sanders and Linda Lang," said SDSU President Elliot Hirshman. "As members of the Aztec family, both honorees embody our ethos that 'Leadership Starts Here' at San Diego State. Their significant contributions to the San Diego community provide models for today's students, and we are exceedingly grateful for their many contributions to our university."
Sanders has made public service his life’s work. He joined the San Diego Police Department during his senior year at SDSU in 1973 and served 26 years, the last six as chief of police. He then led the United Way and the Red Cross before becoming mayor of San Diego in 2005.
Throughout his two mayoral terms, Sanders worked collaboratively with SDSU to build bridges between the university and its neighbors. He spread the word of SDSU’s emergence as a leading public research university and presided over events such as SDSU President Emeritus Stephen Weber’s farewell gala and the dedication of the Donald P. Shiley BioScience Center. In 2012, he officially welcomed the Dalai Lama to SDSU before a sold out crowd at Viejas Arena.
A true Aztec for Life, Sanders has been a volunteer, donor and advocate for SDSU. He served on the Arts and Letters Dean’s Advisory Board as well as the President’s Advisory Board and donated $10,000 to the College of Arts and Letters Faculty Excellence Fund.
Because of his many years of public service and his impact on public policy, Sanders is an ideal role model for graduates, particularly those from the College of Professional Studies and Fine Arts which is home to public administration, city planning, the arts, hospitality and tourism management programs.
Sanders will receive his honorary degree at the College of Professional Studies and Fine Arts commencement ceremony at 3 p.m. on Friday, May 17.
Lang, recognized by Forbes as one of the top 10 female CEOs in the country, earned her M.B.A. at SDSU in 1991.
She began her career at Jack in the Box as an accounts payable supervisor in 1984, shortly after graduating from UC Berkeley. After earning her M.B.A., she held a succession of officer-level positions.
Lang was named chair and CEO of Jack in the Box in October 2005. She has been credited with tripling franchise revenues and opening more than 900 new restaurants.
A committed advocate for higher education, Lang served as a board trustee for the California State University from 2009 to 2011. She currently serves on SDSU’s College of Business Administration board. She and her husband, Tom (’67, public affairs), are supporters of the SDSU Joan and Art Barron Veterans Center and made a significant gift to SDSU’s Lavin Entrepreneurship Center.
Lang will receive her honorary degree at the commencement ceremony for the College of Business Administration at 8 a.m. on Saturday, May 18.
An honorable history
Since Kennedy was awarded the university’s first honorary degree in 1963, SDSU has conferred a total of 36 honorary doctorates to local, national and international figures. The list includes Israeli President Shimon Peres, former California governor Pete Wilson and College Hall of Fame football coach Don Coryell. A complete list can be found online.
About SDSU commencement
Approximately 9,100 degree candidates will participate in SDSU’s commencement ceremonies May 17 to19 at Viejas Arena. SDSU Imperial Valley campus will also host a commencement ceremony May 16 on their Rollie Carrillo Quad.
Schedules and additional information about SDSU’s commencement ceremonies can be found online.