Michael A. Lawson

Honorary Degrees

California State University, Dominguez Hills

Michael A. Lawson is an accomplished lawyer and civil rights advocate with a passion for public service. He is currently the president and CEO of the Los Angeles Urban League, one of the oldest community organizations in the nation dedicated to empowering and advocating for equitable opportunities and treatment of African Americans and other underserved communities. Under Mr. Lawson’s leadership, the organization continues to offer education, job training and programs targeting workforce development, entrepreneurship, health and quality of life issues.

After earning his law degree from Harvard Law School, Mr. Lawson had a lengthy and distinguished legal career with the prestigious international law firm Skadden, Arps, Slate, Meagher & Flom, LLP and Affiliates, rising to become a partner at the firm. Upon his retirement in 2011, after 31 years at Skadden, Mr. Lawson moved into a second career as a public servant.  

In 2013 President Barack Obama appointed Mr. Lawson to serve as the U.S. Ambassador and Permanent Representative to the Council of the International Civil Aviation Organization. He served in that position until 2017, returning to Southern California to take the helm of the L.A. Urban League in 2018. Mr. Lawson is very active in the community, serving on the boards of several influential organizations, from the Board of Airport Commissioners for Los Angeles World Airports to the California State Teachers Retirement System Board of Trustees. He is also a former board director and chairman of the Constitutional Rights Foundation, as well as a former board director for the Advancement Project. 

In recognition of his activism for civil rights, impactful community engagement and significant support of Angelenos, the Board of Trustees of the California State University and California State University, Dominguez Hills are proud to confer upon Michael A. Lawson the honorary degree of Doctor of Laws.