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All three honorees will receive honorary doctor of humane letters degrees from SDSU during the 2017 commencement ceremonies. All three honorees will receive honorary doctor of humane letters degrees from SDSU during the 2017 commencement ceremonies.

SDSU to Award Honorary Degrees to Three Community Leaders

Jack McGrory, Harold Brown and Andrea Skorepa are distinguished alumni.
By Coleen L. Geraghty

A long-time civic leader, a civil rights activist and an advocate for San Diego’s poorest residents will receive honorary doctor of humane letters degrees from San Diego State University during the 2017 commencement ceremonies.

All three honorees are alumni who have served the San Diego regions for decades in multiple capacities. Andrea Skorepa ('71) will receive an honorary doctorate from the College of Arts and Letters at its May 12 commencement ceremony. Harold Brown ('59) will be recognized at the Fowler College of Business commencement ceremony on May 13, and Jack McGrory ('76) will be honored at the College of Professional Studies and Fine Arts commencement ceremony on May 14.

As city manager, McGrory placed high value on public-private partnerships, playing an important role in the development of Petco Park, which is linked to the redevelopment of East Village. His leadership of the City Heights Initiative—as chair and CEO of the Price Legacy Corporation—resulted in a comprehensive redevelopment of that neighborhood. McGrory served SDSU as chair of the Campanile Foundation, helping to steer The Campaign for SDSU to its $750 million goal. He has supported the School of Public Administration, the Department of Classics and Humanities and the Joan and Art Barron Veterans Center.

Brown is a champion of civil rights, a conservator of African American history and a lifelong crusader on behalf of San Diego’s underrepresented communities. The first African- American administrator at SDSU, he created a certificate program in community economic development within the Fowler College of Business. This program later became the Center for Community Economic Development under Brown’s direction, offering classes in finance, accounting and leadership to train professionals to develop underserved communities. Through his advocacy and the donation of his own personal papers, the SDSU Library established the Harold K. Brown Civil Rights and African American Experience Collection.

A powerhouse community activist, Skorepa has served families in San Ysidro and the South Bay for 36 years as president and CEO of Casa Familiar. Her dedicated leadership grew the non-profit organization from nine employees, no assets and a $60,000 budget to a thriving institution with 34 employees, $8.1 million in assets and a budget of $1.7 million. After graduating from SDSU in 1971, she became an educator in the San Ysidro School District and an organizer for the American Federation of Teachers. Her belief in the power of education to lift people out of poverty has inspired her life’s work.

SDSU has conferred more than 45 honorary degrees since 1963, when President John F. Kennedy received the first, a Doctor of Laws degree. Other notable recipients include Shirley Chisholm (1999), the first African-American woman elected to the U.S. Congress; alumnus and internationally recognized artist John Baldessari (2003); SDSU alumna and award-winning film producer Kathleen Kennedy (2004); and Charles W. Hostler (2010), former U.S. Ambassador to Bahrain.