Honorary Degrees

Honorary Degrees

Kathleen Marie Ireland
  • Kathleen Marie Ireland
Kathleen Marie Ireland

Entrepreneur/Philanthropist/Author

California State University, Channel Islands

Kathleen Marie Ireland is an accomplished business woman and entrepreneur, an inspiring role model for young women, and an active philanthropist committed to creating a better world.

Ms. Ireland is a California native, born in Glendale and currently residing in Santa Barbara with her husband, Dr. Greg Olsen, and their three children, Erik, Lily and Chloe. While still in high school, Ms. Ireland began a successful modeling career at age 17, gracing the cover of the annual Sports Illustrated Swimsuit Issue three times as well as the cover of the 25th Anniversary Swimsuit Edition, the best selling issue to date.

Expanding her career, she has written a total of six books: three for children, two geared toward busy mothers, and a debut work containing inspirational messages derived from her own life experiences.

Ms. Ireland began her career in business in 1993 when she contracted with K-mart to start her own clothing line, at which time she founded her brand product marketing company, "Kathy Ireland Worldwide." In a little over a decade's time, she had expanded her marketing products to 16 manufacturers with her products selling in 15 countries at 50,000 locations grossing close to $2 billion in retail. Because she has a passion for making life easier for busy moms, her product line consists of a myriad of household items ranging from furniture to windows, and from flooring to books. Ms. Ireland was recently featured on the cover of Forbes Magazine and highlighted as a "model-turned-mogul."

As a thriving business executive, she generously uses her power and influence to benefit others. By way of KathyIreland.org, she supports many social causes, including empowering women, supporting young girls through mentoring and providing opportunities for girls and women at risk. She has been honored by the YMCA, the Anti-Defamation League, and the Dream Foundation, among others, for her humanitarian and philanthropic efforts. She is a significant contributor to the Make a Wish Foundation, St. Jude's Research Hospital, the Alliance for Christian Education, and Elizabeth Taylor's AIDS Foundation, as well as others. In addition, Ms. Ireland encourages social entrepreneurship, a value which closely mirrors the objectives of the CSU Channel Island's California Institute for Social Business.

In recognition of her professional, philanthropic and humanitarian achievements, the Board of Trustees of California State University and California State University, Channel Islands are proud to confer upon Kathleen Marie Ireland the honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters.