Salvador B. Castro (posthumous)

Honorary Degrees

California State University, Los Angeles

Salvador B. Castro, who died in 2013 at the age of 79, was an influential teacher, educational reformer, social activist and champion for young people in the underserved communities of

Los Angeles’ Eastside. An alumnus of California State University, Los Angeles, he believed deeply in the power of higher education to transform lives and affect societal change.

Mr. Castro mentored thousands of high school students during his four decades as a history teacher in the Los Angeles Unified School District (LAUSD). His reach, however, extended far beyond his own classrooms, principally through his role in inspiring the students who led the historic 1968 protests known as the “East Los Angeles Blowouts.” Thousands of students from five high schools within a six-mile radius of Cal State LA walked out of their classrooms and went on strike to protest systemic inequities in the LAUSD. Their weeklong protests captured the attention of the city and the nation and remain a seminal development in the story of the Chicano movement and U.S. history of that era. Mr. Castro put his career at risk and even faced arrest  ̶  on charges that were eventually dismissed  ̶  for encouraging the students to exercise their constitutional rights and demand reforms.

Throughout his career, Mr. Castro urged young people to become what he called “change makers.” In his own influential, but largely underappreciated, career he was a tremendous change maker whose legacy has grown in importance during what are tumultuous times for many students. He was the embodiment of Cal State LA’s mission of engagement and service for the public good, and of the core values championed by the California State University.

In recognition of his significant accomplishments and civic impact, the Board of Trustees of the California State University and California State University, Los Angeles are proud to confer posthumously upon Salvador B. Castro the honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters.