Judy Chicago

Honorary Degrees

California State University, Fresno

Judy Chicago is widely recognized for her cultural contributions in the field of contemporary art. She is also the founder of the Feminist Art Program — the first of its kind — created at was then called Fresno State College more than half a century ago.

The ground-breaking program brought together female art students in an effort to overcome the prevailing views at that time that women could not produce great art. At California State University, Fresno, Ms. Chicago’s pedagogical strategies -- developed with her students -- prompted new ways of depicting their experiences of womanhood. The program upheld the value of traditional female crafts, like embroidery, and concerns about body image by incorporating them into their art.  

The success of the program would later prompt the California Institute of the Arts to invite Ms. Chicago to create a similar program for its university.  

Ms. Chicago’s innovative artwork and large-scale collaborative projects include her most well-known work “The Dinner Party,” a multimedia representation of women’s contributions to western culture completed in 1979. In the 1980s, Ms. Chicago completed “Birth Project,” images created in needlework of women’s experiences of pregnancy and birth. “The Holocaust Project: From Darkness to Light” was exhibited in 1993 and over the next decade.  

Her work as an artist, mentor, teacher, writer and leader changed the art world, the lives of her students, her artistic collaborators, her viewing public and the communities where she taught, worked, exhibited and lectured. Her creative spirit and dedication to social justice continue to motivate her to make art that speaks to a global audience. 

In recognition of her cultural contributions to the fine arts and feminism movements, the Board of Trustees of the California State University and California State University, Fresno are proud to confer upon Judy Chicago the honorary degree of Doctor of Fine Arts.