Campus: CSU Fresno -- May 6, 2005
CSU to Confer Honorary Doctorates To Sister Ruth Marie Nickerson,
The California State University and California State University, Fresno will
confer honorary doctoral degrees - the CSU's highest commendation -- on Sister
Ruth Marie Nickerson and Richard A. Johanson - during
Saturday, May 21.
The honorees will receive the honorary doctorate degree in humane letters in
recognition of their achievements, visionary leadership and civic commitment.
Nickerson served as president and CEO of Saint Agnes Medical Center in Fresno for
20 years until resigning last summer. Johanson, founder of Johanson Transportation
Service in Fresno, is known for business success and his devotion to improving the
lives of the people of Central California.
Fresno State President John D. Welty said the two have made an impact on Fresno
and the entire Central California region. They also have partnered with Fresno
State to improve its service to the Valley, he said.
As a nun, registered nurse, associate hospital administrator, president and CEO,
Sister Ruth, as she is known, has devoted the past 35 years to serving and
improving the lives of others. She currently is a member of the leadership team
of Sisters of the Holy Cross based in Notre Dame, Ind.
Through her vision and leadership, Saint Agnes Medical Center grew from a
community based hospital to a comprehensive regional medical center equipped with
state-of-the-art facilities and leading medical technology.
Sister Ruth's advocacy for long-term sustainable change in the health status of
Valley residents drove the creation of the Central Valley Health Policy Institute
within the College of Health and Human Services at Fresno State. First envisioned
as a concept in 2000, by mid-2003, the institute became a reality with a $4 million,
five-year partnership between The California Endowment and Fresno State. Through
her vision, an important link has been forged between higher education and health
care in the Central California region.
Johanson's work in the community has spanned K-12 and higher education, business
organizations, service organizations, health care, cultural groups and museums. He
has served on the governing board of numerous organizations, including the United
Way, Fresno Metropolitan Museum, Fresno Business Council, Community Hospitals and
Children's Hospital of Central California, Fresno Unified School District, Chamber
of Commerce, Rotary International and the Foundation of the State Center Community
College District. He served as president of the Fresno Business Council.
He also has actively served in political campaigns and in bond efforts supporting
Johanson is a longtime supporter of both the academic and athletic interests of
Fresno State. He serves on the university's Foundation Board of Governor's and the
Craig School's Business Advisory Council.
This is the 13th year honorary doctorates have been awarded by the CSU system and
Fresno State. A campus committee composed of faculty and administrators considered
nominees for the honor and recommended the candidates to Welty, who then made the
recommendations to the CSU Board of Trustees.
Last year an honorary doctorate was presented to Fresno State alumna Mary Carolyn
Dobbs of Grass Valley, a teacher and pioneer in special education whose work has
achieved international recognition.
Contact: Shirley Melikian Armbruster, (559) 278-5292 or (559) 593-1815