- Pete Wilson
Former California Governor
San Diego State University
Former California Governor Pete Wilson has a distinguished career of public service to California and San Diego. He entered private practice in San Diego with the firm of Davies and Burch, then was elected State Assembly Member, Mayor of San Diego and U.S. Senator before becoming the 36th Governor of California in 1991. Throughout his impressive political career, Mr. Wilson supported the California State University as it grew to include several new campuses.
As San Diego mayor, Mr. Wilson helped transform the Navy town into an international trade hub, amended the city charter to make public safety the first responsibility of city government, led an effort to manage San Diego's growth and revitalize the downtown area, and coined the city’s slogan: “San Diego: America's Finest City.”
As governor, Mr. Wilson inherited a battered state economy and worked to speed recovery. He implemented strict budget discipline and worked to rehabilitate the state's environment for investment and job creation. Mr. Wilson also enacted education reforms focused on creating curricular standards and reducing class sizes and promoted individualized testing of all students, teacher competency training, and a return to phonics and early mastery of reading, writing and mathematical skills.
Mr. Wilson is a distinguished visiting fellow at the Hoover Institution, a think tank affiliated with Stanford University. He serves on the Ronald Reagan Presidential Foundation and the Richard M. Nixon Library and Birthplace Foundation; is the founding director of the California Mentor Foundation; and the chairman of the National World War II Museum Board of Trustees. He received the Woodrow Wilson Award for Public Service in 1999 from the Woodrow Wilson International Center for Scholars of the Smithsonian.
He is a consultant at the Los Angeles office of Bingham McCutchen LLP law firm, and founded and co-chairs the Southern California Leadership Council focusing on the economic health of Southern California. A Yale graduate, Mr. Wilson served as a U.S. Marine Corps infantry officer and earned his law degree at the University of California, Berkeley.
In recognition of his 40 years of public service, the Board of Trustees of the California State University and San Diego State University are proud to confer upon Pete Wilson the honorary degree of Doctor of Laws.