Jorge Matias

Honorary Degrees

California State Polytechnic University, Humboldt

Life experience, hard work and the desire to access education can be what separates someone from community member to community leader. Jorge Matias has made it his life's work to improve his community's access to education and health information. An exemplary example of service before self, Mr. Matias is a role model who upholds the university's vision of a more just and equitable society.

Mr. Matias' own financial barriers, challenges accessing education and exposure to community violence caused him to seek opportunity in the United States. Emigrating from Mexico, he worked at a dairy while seeking a high school equivalency credential.  He later struggled to find bilingual support as a parent to a child with intellectual disabilities, causing him to turn his life experiences into opportunities to create access and support. 

Mr. Matias has spent more than two decades working to facilitate access to resources and community support for the Latinx community. His passion, dedication and service was recognized by his colleagues and the leadership team at Providence St. Joseph Hospital when in 2018, Mr. Matias was the recipient of the Values in Action Award. This is the highest individual honor Providence offers representing five core values: –dignity; justice; compassion; integrity; and excellence. The award also recognizes those who have experienced language barriers and documentation challenges.  

One of the many ways Mr. Matias inspires others is by bravely sharing his own story as a Spanish-speaking parent to a child with special needs. The passion with which he shares his story is truly contagious and inspiring. For over two decades, he has given tirelessly to Humboldt County. He is grateful to the community he calls home, and for the opportunity to give back every day. His unwavering generosity of spirit and commitment to care for all has become a Humboldt County legacy.

In recognition of his career in health outreach, providing support and resources to underserved communities in Humboldt, the Board of Trustees of the California State University and California State Polytechnic University, Humboldt are proud to confer upon Jorge Matias the honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters.