George L. Pla

Honorary Degrees

California State University, Los Angeles

George L. Pla is an entrepreneur, philanthropist and author whose business and civic activities focus on enhancing and empowering communities throughout California. He is the founder, president and CEO of Cordoba Corporation, a nationally recognized civil engineering, program and construction management firm specializing in transportation, education, and water and energy infrastructure.

Mr. Pla was raised in East Los Angeles, after arriving in the United States undocumented from Zacatecas, Mexico. He was the first in his family to graduate from college, earning a Bachelor of Arts in Sociology from California State University, Los Angeles in 1972 and a Master of Public Administration from USC in 1974.  

Mr. Pla is the governor's appointee to the Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum Commission, which is helping prepare for the 2028 Summer Olympics, and serves as the commission's president. He served on the California Science Center Foundation Board of Trustees and led the planning of Cordoba Corporation's historic transport of the Space Shuttle Endeavour through the streets of Los Angeles in 2012. He is a co-founder of the City Club, a premier private club in Los Angeles that embraces and reflects the diversity and spirit of the city.

A generous donor to Cal State LA, Mr. Pla has made a commitment to fund the George L. Pla Latino Leadership and Policy Forum at the university. His philanthropic efforts extend to national institutions, including Cordoba Corporation's commitment to supporting the Latino history initiatives at the Smithsonian National Museum of American History. Mr. Pla co-authored, with the noted academic and political analyst David Ayón, “Power Shift: How Latinos in California Transformed Politics in America", which recounts the history of Latino political empowerment in California and beyond. As part of the book release, Mr. Pla met with Cal State LA students to discuss their potential in the future of politics in this country. 

Mr. Pla is an inaugural member of Cal State LA's President's Council. In 1991, he was honored as Cal State LA's Alumnus of the Year, and in 2016, he received the Joe Shapiro Humanitarian Award at Cal State LA's Billie Jean King & Friends Awards Gala. In 2017, he was awarded the Presidential Medallion, the university's highest honor, bestowed upon individuals who have displayed outstanding leadership and extraordinary service to the Cal State LA community. 

In recognition of his generous contributions to the campus and decades of commitment to the city of Los Angeles, the Board of Trustees of the California State University and California State University, Los Angeles are proud to confer upon George L. Pla the honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters.