Honorary Degrees

Honorary Degrees

Betty M. Barker
  • Betty M. Barker
Betty M. Barker

Philanthropist/Community Volunteer

California State University, San Bernardino

Betty M. Barker is highly respected for her passionate philanthropy, which has greatly influenced the development of California State University, San Bernardino's Palm Desert Campus and many Coachella Valley institutions. As co-chair for Cal State San Bernardino's capital campaign to build a permanent campus in Palm Desert, she helped raise $35 million to construct the first four buildings.

Along with her tireless efforts in securing support for CSUSB's Palm Desert Campus, she has been a generous contributor, and The Betty Barker Sculpture Garden is named in her honor. It will remain a lasting legacy to her contributions. In an apt description, United States Supreme Court Associate Justice Anthony Kennedy referred to her as "Mrs. Money Raiser," when he spoke at the opening of the Indian Wells Theater at the Palm Desert Campus.

She was raised in Ardmore, Penn., and attended Wilson College in that state. She spent much of her adult life in the Chicago area, and was among the first women in the 1940s to work in industrial design, and she eventually started her own firm. She also enjoyed a successful modeling career for Clairol, and photos of her appeared in Reader's Digest and Good Housekeeping.

Ms. Barker has lived in the Coachella Valley for more than 30 years and has been active in the region's development. She had a role in establishing the Children's Discovery Museum of the Desert in 1996. In 2007, she received the Children's Champion Award.

Ms. Barker has served as president of the Women's Committee of the Palm Springs Desert Museum, and she has held leadership roles with the Palm Springs Friends of the Philharmonic, the Desert Community Foundation, Women Leaders Forum and the Desert Samaritans for the Elderly. She was named one of California's "Women of the Year" and the "Good Samaritan" of the year in 2004. Even in her 90s, she continues to be active. She serves on Cal State San Bernardino's new Board of Governors, and she is responsible for staging a highly acclaimed ethics forum at the CSUSB Palm Desert Campus.

In recognition of her many accomplishments and extensive contributions to the university and the community, the Board of Trustees of the California State University and California State University, San Bernardino are proud to confer upon Betty M. Barker the honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters.