Irene Tovar

Honorary Degrees

California State University, Northridge

Irene Tovar is the former executive director of the Latin American Civic Association (LACA), a non-profit multi-family service agency that focuses on affordable housing. Ms. Tovar received her bachelor’s degree in Social Science from California State University, Northridge in 1969, and was honored with the Distinguished Alumni Award in 2000 for being a “trailblazer in social sciences.”  

Ms. Tovar embodies an engaged Matador and has proudly served her alma mater. Active in La Raza as a student, she is a past president of the Alumni Association Board of Directors and is a past member of the CSUN Foundation Board of Directors. She served as a member of the Soraya Gala Committee and the Presidential Search Committees for Drs. Jolene Koester and Dianne Harrison. She is currently a member of the university’s Commission on Diversity and Inclusion and the Library Working Group. She became a member of the 50-Year Club for alumni in 2019, and is a Lifetime Legacy member of the Alumni Association. She is an Annual Giving donor, supporting first generation student scholarships, the Chicana/o Studies Department and the Younes and Soraya Nazarian Center for the Performing Arts. She was also a nominee for the 2021 Fernando Award which honors those whose civic engagement has made the San Fernando Valley a better place to live and work.  

Ms. Tovar is a stalwart champion for the communities she proudly serves, especially those from historically underserved areas. In addition to her volunteer work with CSUN, she currently serves on the City of Los Angeles’s Human Relations Commission. She also served eight years in Governor Jerry Brown’s administration as the first Mexican American appointed to the State Personnel Board who, as its president, was instrumental in implementing policies that removed barriers in the state civil service system including differential pay and which supported affirmative action. She has served on the State Public Employment Relations Board, the LA City Redistricting Commission, was a member and then chair of the LA City Proposition Q Citizens Oversight Committee and was president of the LA City Civil Service Commission.  She is a former board member of the LA Urban Coalition and the United Way.  A founder of Los Angeles Mission College, she now serves on its Advisory Board. Ms. Tovar has served on additional Latinx-focused organizations and has received numerous awards for her community work. 

In recognition of her dedication to the campus community, commitment to diversity and years of civil service, the Board of Trustees of the California State University and the California State University, Northridge are proud to confer upon Irene Tovar the honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters.