Cecil H. Steppe

Honorary Degrees


San Marcos​

Cecil H. Steppe is known for his positive demeanor and infectious sense of humor by those who have worked with him. During his distinguished career working for the County of San Diego, Mr. Steppe garnered a reputation as someone who could bring together myriad county departments, schools, agencies and private-sector organizations to share in the responsibility of providing social and health services to families.

With 35 years of service to San Diego County, Mr. Steppe’s personal and professional history embody his belief in the value of working to make things better, and that "all things are possible."

Mr. Steppe spent 12 years as the county’s chief probation officer, later becoming the director of Community Initiatives in the Health and Human Services Agency.

From 1992-97, Mr. Steppe served as director of the Department of Social Services, and was responsible for the administration of the largest department in the county with a budget of more than $900 million and a staff of nearly 4,000. After retiring from the county, Mr. Steppe became president and CEO of the Urban League of San Diego County where he led efforts to provide tools for success in underrepresented communities from 2001-07.

Mr. Steppe’s dedication to creating an environment for positive and empowering change in the county has led him to become involved with numerous organizations at the state and national levels. He serves on many boards and committees, including the YMCA Corporate Board, the Vista Hills Foundation and the Policy Council on Head Start, among others.

A strong advocate for welfare reform, Mr. Steppe aggressively supports family-centered practice, program integrity and the need to strengthen employment and training programs to move welfare recipients to self-sufficiency. Mr. Steppe’s achievements have been recognized with numerous awards, including the “San Diego Songs of My People: 100 African-American Role Models.” Since September 2005, Mr. Steppe has served as the board chair of the Gompers Preparatory Academy, a conversion charter school serving students from grades 6-12.

In recognition of his outstanding accomplishments and his dedication to creating environments where change can occur, the Board of Trustees of the California State University and California State University San Marcos are proud to confer upon Cecil H. Steppe the honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters.​​