Katcho Achadjian

Honorary Degrees

California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo

Katcho Achadjian was a former San Luis Obispo County Supervisor and California State Assemblyman representing San Luis Obispo County. Mr. Achadjian passed away in March 2020.

Mr. Achadjian immigrated to the U.S. in 1971 at the age of 19 and attended Cuesta College before transferring to California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo. While earning his degree in Business Administration, Mr. Achadjian worked at a Shell gas station in Arroyo Grande. In 1978, he bought that Shell station, following in his father's footsteps as a small-business owner, eventually owning three gas stations on the Central Coast.

Mr. Achadjian was elected to the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors in 1998 and served in that role until he was elected to the State Assembly in 2010, where he served three terms. His voting record, with an emphasis on supporting small businesses, earned him praise from the California Chamber of Commerce and the California Small Business Association. As the descendent of genocide survivors, Mr. Achadjian was the principal co-author of the Armenian Genocide Education Act, which requires every school district in California to include the Armenian Genocide in its curriculum for grades seven through 12. 

A life-long community advocate, Mr. Achadjian volunteered in support of numerous civic, service and nonprofit organizations. He served as a member of the Board of Directors of Arroyo Grande Community Hospital and chairman of San Luis Obispo's French Hospital. He also served as a mentor to college students through the Executive Partners Leadership Council in Cal Poly's Orfalea College of Business. In 2019, Mr. Achadjian was the recipient of the Cal Poly Alumni Association Sandra Gardebring Ogren Leadership Award.

In December 2022, the San Luis Obispo County Board of Supervisors approved to rename the San Luis Obispo County Government Center in honor of Mr. Achadjian; it is now known as the Katcho Achadjian Government Center.

In recognition of his role as an impactful political leader, proud Cal Poly alumnus and community advocate committed to the central coast, the Board of Trustees of the California State University and California Polytechnic State University are proud to confer upon Katcho Achadjian the posthumous honorary degree of Doctor of Laws.