- Paul Anka
California State Polytechnic University, Pomona
Most people know Paul Anka as a music legend who recorded more than a dozen Top 20 hits and appeared in movies and TV shows - but they might not know about his numerous philanthropic efforts. Mr. Anka has performed at fundraising events to help children in Russia, his native Canada and other countries around the world through UNICEF. He serves on the board of a Las Vegas organization that helps people with intellectual disabilities and also headlined a benefit concert for an Arcadia performing arts center.
The entertainer became connected with Cal Poly Pomona through his friend and business manager Mickey Segal, a Cal Poly Pomona alumnus. Mr. Anka has proved especially generous to the university as well, serving as honorary chair of the Campaign for Cal Poly Pomona and headlining the Founders' Celebrations in 2003 and 2006, which raised more than $560,000 for the university.
A Canadian native, Mr. Anka began his contributions to the music world 55 years ago with his first hit, "Diana." It was his talent as a composer and lyricist that took his career to new heights. His works span 125 albums in genres ranging from pop to jazz to doo-wop. He has written more than 900 songs, and they have been performed well over 150 million times. Mr. Anka wrote "It Doesn't Matter Anymore" for Buddy Holly; Frank Sinatra's signature hit, "My Way"; "She's A Lady" for Tom Jones, and co-wrote Michael Jackson's posthumous hit, "This is It." He penned the Academy Award nominated theme music and had a role in the movie "The Longest Day" alongside John Wayne, Robert Wagner and Robert Mitchum.
With his latest release from Sony, "Duets," he has become the first artist to reach the Billboard Top 100 in seven consecutive decades. His music has appeared in more than 160 TV shows and movies over the years, including "The Tonight Show" theme made famous by Johnny Carson. Mr. Anka is a recipient of a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, has been appointed to The Order of Canada, and has received the prestigious Johnny Mercer Award at the 2008 Songwriters Hall of Fame.
In recognition of his accomplishments as a musician, entertainer and philanthropist, the Board of Trustees of the California State University and California State Polytechnic University, Pomona are proud to confer upon Paul Anka the honorary degree of Doctor of Fine Arts.