Louise Shakarian Ukleja

Honorary Degrees

California State University, Long Beach

Louise Shakarian Ukleja is a longtime friend of California State University, Long Beach and has a passion for raising public awareness of the needs of students with learning challenges. She has given her time and talents in support of various programs throughout Cal State Long Beach. She funded the naming of the Center of Ethical Leadership, the Ukleja Family Hall of Honor in the Walter Pyramid and was instrumental in launching the Shakarian Educational Support Services program which provides services that help remove barriers to student success.

Ms. Ukleja drew inspiration from her parents' strong work ethic and passion for helping others. When her daughter was diagnosed with multiple learning challenges, she dedicated her life to creating an educational environment where her daughter could thrive. With the same entrepreneurial spirit that her dad possessed, Ms. Ukleja founded Opportunity Schools in 1990. This pioneering effort helped enable private faith-based schools in Southern California to educate students with learning and social challenges. Opportunity Schools developed a comprehensive multisensory instructional program that was not widely used at the time. Under her dedicated leadership, thousands of students have achieved academic competency and now have a brighter future.

Ms. Ukleja is a former member of the 49er Foundation Board, a trustee for the Winston School as well as a supporter of Cal State Long Beach's athletics program, College of Business Administration, Disabled Student Services and President's Scholars Program. She is a member of the Carillon Society and a recipient of the Carillon Award, an honor reserved for donors who have made transformational gifts of $1 million or more to the university. She is also the recipient of the Hero Award from the Winston School for outstanding service to students with learning challenges. A graduate of Ohio University, Ms. Ukleja earned a degree in Business Administration.

In recognition of her generous support of the university and raising public awareness of and helping support the needs of students with learning challenges, the Board of Trustees of the California State University and California State University, Long Beach are proud to confer upon Louise Shakarian Ukleja the honorary degree Doctor of Humane Letters.