Campus: CSU Los Angeles -- June 24, 2003

Cal State L.A. President Conferred SIU's Honorary Degree

Cal State L.A. President James M. Rosser was recently presented the degree of Honorary Doctor of Human Letters from Southern Illinois University at Carbondale at the university’s commencement ceremony. He received SIU’s highest alumni honor, the Distinguished Alumni Award, in 1999, as well as the university’s Alumni Achievement Award from the College of Education in 1986.

Born and raised in East St. Louis, Illinois, President Rosser was an honor student at SIU and a member of the Saluki basketball team for two years. He graduated at the top of his senior class in 1962 with a B.A. in microbiology. He went on to earn his M.A. in 1963 and Ph.D. in health education administration in 1969. Rosser served as both an administrator and faculty member at SIU, and was the founder and first director of SIUC’s Black American Studies program.

He served as special assistant to SIU Chancellor Robert W. MacVicar in 1970. Following that, he was appointed senior associate vice chancellor for academic affairs at the University of Kansas and, in 1974, vice chancellor for the State of New Jersey Department of Higher Education.
Introduced by SIU Dean of the College of Education and Human Services Keith Hillkirk, Rosser was lauded for his lifelong commitment to excellence in education. The SIU honor noted that, at the time of his 1979 appointment as president of Cal State L.A., he was the second African American and the youngest to head a CSU campus. He is now the longest-serving African American president at a public university.

Contact: Carol Selkin, Public Information Director, (323) 343-3050

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