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Honorary Degrees

Honorary Degrees

Charles W. Hostler
  • Charles W. Hostler
Charles W. Hostler

Ambassador/Educator/Philanthropist

San Diego State University

Ambassador Charles W. Hostler: Diplomat, soldier, scholar, businessman, educator, author, global traveler and citizen of the world. For nearly a century, he has played a role in world-altering events as an Air Force colonel, U.S. ambassador to Bahrain, U.S. Department of Commerce official, and a member of the Office of Strategic Services, converting German sympathizers and agents among the French civilian population.

Born in 1919, Ambassador Hostler was a teenager during the Great Depression when his family drove west from Chicago in search of economic opportunity. Then 13, he sold newspapers to augment the family income. While a student at the University of California, Los Angeles, he joined the ROTC and entered the Army Air Force as a second lieutenant shortly after graduation. His counterespionage unit landed with the allied forces in Normandy on D-Day and he was awarded the Purple Heart for a combat wound. On June 6, 2004, during the 60th anniversary celebrations of the D-Day landings, he was the only U.S. veteran to receive the French Legion of Honor from French President Jacques Chirac. Ambassador Hostler has been decorated by nine foreign countries and four religious leaders.

Dr. Hostler studied law at the University of Bucharest and earned master's and doctoral degrees in political science from Georgetown University and a master's degree in Middle Eastern Studies from the American University of Beirut.

He served as Director of International Operations, Middle East and North Africa, for the McDonnell Douglas Corporation, and Regional Vice President, Middle East and Africa, for E-Systems, Inc. In 1974 he served a two-year post as Deputy Assistant Secretary in the U.S. Department of Commerce, and from 1989-1993 he was Ambassador to Bahrain, a position he held during the first Gulf War.

In honor of Ambassador Hostler's lifelong commitment to international understanding, San Diego State University's Institute on World Affairs was renamed the Hostler Institute on World Affairs in 2004.

He has made a significant planned gift to the College of Arts and Letters to support the Hostler Institute.

In recognition of his extraordinary achievements and his unwavering support for educational, civic and peace-building efforts worldwide, the Board of Trustees of the California State University and San Diego State University are proud to confer on Charles W. Hostler the honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters.