Honorary Degrees

Honorary Degrees

Charles Obershaw
  • Charles Obershaw
Charles Obershaw

Businessman & Philanthropist

California State University, San Bernardino

Charles and Shelby Obershaw are leading business and philanthropic leaders in the San Bernardino area, having become integral to the prosperity and well-being of many lives through their strong efforts to support education.

The Obershaws have a longtime interest in scholarship support. A native of Wisconsin, Mrs. Obershaw worked to put herself through college at the University of Wisconsin-River Falls. She taught elementary school for more than 20 years in San Bernardino and later served for 12 years on the San Bernardino's Unified School District board. Because of a scholarship gift she received in college that meant the ability to finish her degree, She and her husband, Charles, share a special concern for scholarships for teacher training. They have worked hard to nurture that cause at California State University, San Bernardino, as well as for high school students in San Bernardino.

Between 1999 and 2005 the Obershaws made significant gifts to endow scholarships in the university's College of Business and Public Administration, the College of Education, and in athletics, supporting between 13 and 17 students a year. The scholarship endowment created by their lead gift is now valued at nearly $10 million. In appreciation, the university named its dining commons after the couple in 2004. Mr. Obershaw's credo in life has been the motto, "Those who have prospered from the system should put back into the system," and he has lived by it.

Mr. Obershaw created a number of successful automobile dealerships in San Bernardino. He has served on the boards of the National Orange Show, the Community Hospital of San Bernardino and the local YMCA. At the university he has sat on the CSUSB Foundation Board. He served in the 187th Paraglider Infantry in the Pacific during World War II and received the Patrick Henry Medallion for Patriotic Contributions. He is a graduate of San Bernardino Valley College and San Bernardino High School.

In addition to her teaching and elective career on the San Bernardino school board, Mrs. Obershaw co-chaired a successful 1999 bond measure that resulted in $50 million for San Bernardino's public schools. She has served on the city library's Foundation Board and has 11 years of service with the Assistance League, including chairing its Children's Dental Health Center. She has also volunteered at a San Bernardino county school for homeless children, and serves on the College of Education Advisory Board, the San Bernardino Symphony and other boards.

In consideration of their strong support for community service and higher education in the San Bernardino area, the Board of Trustees of the California State University and California State University, San Bernardino are proud to confer upon Charles and Shelby Obershaw the honorary degrees of Doctor of Humane Letters.