Lidia Martinez

Honorary Degrees

San Diego State University​

Lidia Martinez is a first-generation college graduate from the University of Texas at Arlington with a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration and a minor in Marketing. For over 30 years, Martinez served as the Manager of Community Outreach for Southwest Airlines. In this capacity, she and five other Southwest Airlines employees created the Department for National Multicultural Community Affairs. This department served as a vessel for Southwest Airlines to engage, empower, support, and invest in communities of color. Her work provided individuals from historically underrepresented and underserved communities the opportunity to develop professionally, personally, and intellectually. 

Martinez demonstrates her passion for civil and human rights, equality, and equity through her service as a founding member of SDSU's President’s Latino Advisory Board and the Latino Leaders Network. She also co-chairs the Advisory Council for Mana de San Diego and serves as CLASSY's Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Advisor. Martinez serves on numerous boards such as SDSU's Campanile Foundation, UCSD Chancellor's Community Advisory Board, the San Diego Center for Children, the San Diego Regional Chamber of Commerce, Mana de San Diego, San Diego Foundation Emergency Fund Committee and Promises2Kids Board of Directors.

Her overall outstanding service to the city, county, and the state of California resulted in her being awarded the Lifetime Achievement Award from the San Diego Business Journal and the Herb Klein Lifetime Achievement Award. In October 2021, Martinez was recognized with the Latino Leaders Network Inaugural Champion Award. In 2020, July 16th was declared Lidia S. Martinez Day in San Diego by the San Diego City Council in recognition of her service to the city. 

Ms. Martinez has had extraordinary achievements, and her service and contributions to improve the lives and experiences of others is not only inspirational but embodies the mission of the California State University. Her service to SDSU on various boards and councils has enriched the university community, and her work at Southwest Airlines and in the community has enriched the lives of people living in the city, state, and even nation.
In recognition of her dedication and contributions to the San Diego community, the Board of Trustees for the California State University and the San Diego State University are proud to confer upon Lidia Martinez the honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters.