Campus: CSU Fullerton -- April 23, 2004

Acclaimed Novelist to Receive Honorary Doctorate at Cal State Fullerton's 45th Annual Commencement

Award-winning mystery novelist Elizabeth George returns to her alma mater to receive an honorary doctorate during Cal State Fullerton’s 45th annual commencement ceremonies May 29-30.

George, who graduated from CSUF with a master’s degree in counseling in 1979, is one of two alumni delivering keynote addresses during the weekend celebration. She will be recognized during the Sunday, May 30, ceremony for her success as an educator and novelist, and also for her philanthropic work. Santa Ana Mayor Miguel Pulido, who earned a bachelor’s degree in engineering in 1980, will address candidates for graduation and their families during the Saturday, May 29, commencement exercise.

“With two dynamic CSUF graduates addressing our commencement ceremonies, our students will be getting a glimpse of their own futures, as individuals who will play a key role in society,” said Cal State Fullerton President Milton A. Gordon. “We are particularly proud to have the honor of presenting an honorary doctorate to one of our own.”

The honorary doctorate, awarded jointly by the campus and the California State University, is conferred in recognition of excellence and extraordinary achievement in significant areas of human endeavors. George, who received the university’s Distinguished Alumna Award in 1995, is only the second Cal State Fullerton graduate selected for an honorary doctorate. Last year, an honorary doctorate was awarded to international businessman and 1965 alumnus Gareth C.C. Chang.

George was born Susan Elizabeth George in Ohio and grew up in the town of Mountain View in the San Francisco Bay Area. She earned her undergraduate degree in English at UC Riverside and embarked on a teaching career — first at Mater Dei High School in Santa Ana, then at El Toro High School, where she was honored in 1980 with the California Teachers Association WHO Award for Teaching. A year later, she was named Saddleback Valley Teacher of the Year and Orange County Teacher of the Year.

The Huntington Beach resident’s first novel, “A Great Deliverance,” won both the 1989 Anthony and 1989 Agatha awards for first best novel, as well as France’s Le Grand Prix de Litterature Policiere in 1990. Since then, George has kept her fans and the publishing world on the edge of their seats with her series of best-selling psychological suspense novels.

George’s books have continued to win her accolades, including Germany’s MIMI for “Well-Schooled in Murder.” Several of her novels have been adapted for television by the BBC – four aired last fall by PBS under the title “The Inspector Lynley Mysteries.”
The author, whose most recent book, “Write Away,” was published in March by Harper Collins, is also known for her philanthropic efforts through the Elizabeth George Foundation, which has provided support to such organizations as St. Joseph Hospital, Medicine for Humanities, Friends for Humanity and SKIP Health Foundation for Disadvantaged Children. She continues to indulge in her love of teaching at the annual Maui Writers retreat and meets weekly with a group of unpublished writers in her home when she is in California.

Miguel Pulido, who earlier this month was named to the board of the California State Teachers Retirement System by Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, has served as mayor of Santa Ana since 1994. He has been a member of the Santa Ana City Council since 1986.

During his mayoral tenure, Pulido formed the Mayor’s Task Force on Arts and Culture, which led to the development of the Artists Village, a section of downtown Santa Ana that includes theaters, galleries, performance venues and Cal State Fullerton’s Grand Central Art Center. In 1999, he spearheaded the Orange County International Trade Center Advisory Council’s efforts to bring together various partners to develop a strategy for assisting local businesses with international trade. Three years ago, Pulido negotiated with Mexico’s President Vicente Fox to open that country’s first trade center in the United States. He also was appointed by Fox to serve on the Federal Inter-Governmental Policy Advisory Committee on Trade.

Pulido, who was honored by his alma mater in 1998 as a Distinguished Alumnus, is a member of the Bowers Museum Board of Directors and represents the city on the Orange County Transportation Authority, a position he has held since 1997. Other leadership positions include service on the board of the Community Commerce Bank, Caltrans Management Information System Advisory Committee, Pacific Symphony, Discovery Science Center and the UCI Foundation.

Cal State Fullerton kicks off commencement festivities with two universitywide ceremonies at 8 a.m. May 29 and 30 on the athletics fields north of Titan Gym. College and department celebrations will follow at various locations throughout campus. An honors convocation to recognize student achievements is scheduled for 7 p.m. Friday, May 28, in the Titan Student Union’s Portola Pavilion.

Media Contacts: Mary Jo Medyn of Academic Affairs at (714) 278-2615, mmedyn@fullerton.edu

Pam McLaren of Public Affairs at (714) 278-4852, pmclaren@fullerton.edu


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