Honorary Degrees

Honorary Degrees

Henry L. (Hank) Lacayo
  • Henry L. "Hank" Lacayo
Henry L. "Hank" Lacayo

Labor leader/Philanthropist

California State University, Channel Islands

Henry L. "Hank" Lacayo is a recognized national labor leader with more than 50 years of distinguished service, an esteemed adviser to United States presidents and governors, an active public servant and humanitarian, and an ardent supporter of California State University, Channel Islands.

Mr. Lacayo was born in Los Angeles in 1931. Immediately after graduating high school, he enlisted in the Army Air Corps. His early experience in the metal working trade as a precision tool grinder positioned him as a union activist and leader. In 1962, he was elected president of the United Auto Workers (UAW) Local 887 and in 1974, after moving to Detroit, he was appointed the National Director of UAW's political and legislative department, the first Hispanic to serve as a political director of a national union.

Since retiring from the UAW, he continues to serve the public addressing advocacy, senior citizen concerns, labor unions, minorities' rights, politics and legislation at the local, state and federal levels. He is serving a fifth term as state president of the Congress of California Seniors and serves as adviser to the National Association for the Hispanic Elderly. He is one of the founders of the U.S. Hispanic Leadership Institute and the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement.

An active community volunteer and philanthropist, he is the recipient of city, county, state and national awards for his devotion to working people and the disadvantaged. This is evidenced by his membership on the Board of Directors for the Ventura County Community Foundation, El Concilio Family Services, La Hermandad Hank Lacayo Youth and Family Center, St. Barnabas Senior Services in Los Angeles, Health Access of California, the Jewish Labor Committee and the California Foundation on Aging.

Mr. Lacayo was an important friend of CSU Channel Islands who helped garner community support when the campus opened. A positive role model for students and alumni, he serves on the CSU Channel Islands Foundation Board. He was instrumental in securing $560,000 for the Henry L. "Hank" Lacayo Institute for Workforce & Community Studies established in November 2010 on the campus. It provides opportunities for students to engage in entrepreneurial studies and continues Mr. Lacayo's legacy by addressing the importance of workforce and community issues.

In recognition of his outstanding public service in leadership roles that transcend race, his commitment and service to the underserved and his support of higher education, the Board of Trustees of California State University and California State University Channel Islands are proud to confer upon Henry L. "Hank" Lacayo the honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters.