Clark D. Rucker

Honorary Degrees

California State Polytechnic University, Pomona

As an undergraduate at California State Polytechnic University, Pomona, Clark Rucker felt challenged by the demanding curriculum. With his family and friends over 100 miles away in San Diego, he was often homesick. However, with his father's encouragement to persevere, Mr. Rucker persevered and completed what he had started earning his degree in Engineering Technology in 1983. His time at Cal Poly Pomona was formative, setting the foundation for a long and storied engineering career in the aerospace industry. As an undergraduate, he took on a part-time job with General Dynamics as a test technician on the company's Standard Missile program.

A year after graduating, he joined the Systems Engineering/Reliability team for Northrop Grumman's B-2 aircraft program. Five years later, he went to work for McDonnell Douglas/Boeing. He served as the director of Phantom Works Quality, Boeing Defense, Space, and Security, and retired after 33 years with the company.

Mr. Rucker is an engineering leader who makes an impact in all that he does. From 2019 to 2022, he served as chair of the College of Engineering's Dean's Leadership Board. During his tenure, the board hosted virtual company tours, a four-part career seminar series and an on-campus mentorship luncheon for hundreds of engineering students. He also has played a key leadership role as a former Boeing employee, acting as a liaison for the company and directing Boeing's annual philanthropic support and outreach to Cal Poly Pomona.

Mr. Rucker has served as a mentor to countless students at the university and has given numerous lectures as a guest speaker. He frequently volunteers to help with student clubs and programs, including the Maximizing Engineering Potential-Women in Science and Engineering program, the Veterans Resource Center and the Black Alumni and Friends chapter. In 2019, he was inducted into the college's Hall of Fame, and in 2017 he earned the university's Distinguished Alumni award.

For Mr. Rucker, the reason for his ongoing commitment to the university is simple—it is the responsibility of all alumni to shepherd the next generation: "How have we assisted in shaping the minds of young, impressionable college students to not only think but believe that they have a solid chance to be whatever they want to be in life if they put their minds to it and work hard?"

For his contributions to the field of aerospace engineering, his dedication to Cal Poly Pomona, and the fact that he demonstrates, above and beyond, the intellectual and humane values that are reflective of and consistent with the goals of higher education, the Board of Trustees of the California State University and California State Polytechnic University, Pomona are proud to confer upon Clark D. Rucker the honorary degree of Doctor of Science.