CSUSM Honorary Degree Recipients Announced

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE

Media Contact: Margaret Lutz | mlutz@csusm.edu

California State University San Marcos (CSUSM) will award two honorary degrees during its 20th annual Commencement exercises May 21, 2011. An Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters will be awarded to retired Co-founder of Pardee Construction Company Mr. J. Douglas Pardee and an Honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts will be awarded to Actor José Yenque.

Honorary degrees recipients are selected by a campus committee of faculty and staff from recommendations made from CSUSM students, faculty, staff, alumni and the greater community. Suggested recipients of the award are then forwarded by the committee to the president for approval after which they are sent to the Chancellor of the California State University (CSU) system. The CSU Board of Trustees makes the final determination and awards the degrees in the categories it considers most appropriate.

The following is biographical information on the recipients:

J. Douglas Pardee, Doctor of Humane Letters

J. Douglas Pardee, along with his father, George Pardee, Sr. and his brothers, George Jr. and Hoyt founded Pardee Construction Company in 1946. Quickly their company became an established and reliable company in Southern California building homes and commercial properties in Los Angeles, Las Vegas and San Diego. Douglas Pardee eventually became Chairman of the Board of Pardee Construction Company and over the years served on a number of philanthropic and foundation boards including the Board of Trustees of the University of Southern California (USC) - on which he has been honored as a Life Trustee - and the Board of Trustees of Marborough School in Los Angeles.

With a 50-year connection to San Diego, a grandson who is a recent graduate of CSUSM and a desire to make a gift that would impact the region, Pardee and his family decided to support Cal State San Marcos. In 2007, The J. Douglas and Marian R. Pardee Foundation Scholarship program was established at CSUSM. This generous financial gift has enabled the university to annually award 50 scholarships to students with a minimum grade point average of 3.25 and demonstrated need.

It is in recognition of his lifetime of service to the community, his commitment to higher education and his ongoing scholarship support that J. Douglas Pardee is awarded the honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters.

José Yenque, Doctor of Fine Arts

Introduced to acting very early in life, José Yenque has more than three decades of experience working successfully in theatre, film and television. Among his professional awards are the SAG and the Alma Awards for films such as Steven Soderberg's Academy Award winning Traffic opposite Benicio Del Toro, HBO's The Blue Diner opposite Miriam Colon and his mother Teresa Yenque, and Academy Award winning short film (Student Category) Wednesday Afternoon. He delivered a stand-out performance in Lifetime Network's thriller Between alongside Poppy Montgomery, which earned him the 2007 Imagen Award, honoring positive portrayals of Latinos in entertainment. Most recently, he can be seen in the role of "Robert" starring Christopher Plummer and Ewan McGregor in the Mike Mills' feature film Beginners, which opened at the San Francisco International Film Festival in April, and as "Enrique ‘Kike' Camara" in Canana Films' Miss Bala, produced by Diego Luna, Pablo Cruz and Gael Garcia Bernal, premiering at the 2011 Cannes Film Festival.

While building a stellar acting career, Yenque has maintained a passionate commitment to improving the conditions of others throughout the world and has worked tirelessly to give back to those in need. He has used his celebrity status to bring light to non-profit organizations such as Friends of El Faro, The Foundation of Orphaned and Disabled African Children, The Puerto Rican Traveling Theatre Company and Campus Chill Out - a program of the National Wildlife Federation. He is also the co-founder of a non-profit organization, The East Los Angeles Society for Film and Arts.

Yenque has also been a steadfast friend of CSUSM. He has led by example through his pro-bono involvement in the "Hands Across the Border" initiative at the university, and helped inspire hundreds of university students from both CSUSM and the Universidad Autonoma de Baja California to forge bonds of international collaboration and friendship through side-by-side service at an impoverished orphanage in Tijuana. He has also worked with professors to enhance student experiences with lectures on such topics as acting, adapting narrative to film, Latino theatre, and performance techniques for future teachers.

In 2009 Yenque collaborated with Dr. Darci Strother to create an intense study abroad program. This innovative, summer program provided a group of mainly first-generation college-students with the chance to study Spanish drama and acting in the unique context of an international classical theatre festival in Almagro, Spain.

In 2008 under the direction of filmmaker and CSUSM Professor Kristine Diekman, Yenque co-produced and narrated a 23-minute educational gang-prevention video, titled Never Too Early, Never Too Late.  Free Spanish and English versions of the DVD were distributed to families, law enforcement, and social service organizations nationwide. Currently, Yenque is working on a second video with Diekman, this time as director, advocating for teen pregnancy prevention.

In recognition of his distinguished achievements in the areas of humanitarianism and the arts, Jose Yenque is awarded the honorary degree of Doctor of Fine Arts.

What: Honorary degrees will be presented to J. Douglas Pardee and José Yenque at CSUSM's 20th annual Commencement exercises.

When: Saturday, May 21, 2011.  J. Douglas Pardee will be honored at the 9 a.m. ceremony and Jose Yenque will be honored at the 2 p.m. ceremony.  
 
Where: California State University San Marcos, Mangrum Track and Field

For more information on CSUSM's Commencement Ceremonies, visit www.csusm.edu/commencement .

About California State University San Marcos
California State University San Marcos combines the ambiance of a mid-sized, personal, modern campus with the unequaled value of the California State University. Since its founding in 1989, the campus has distinguished itself. Students benefit from the latest facilities and equipment, a superb faculty that enjoys teaching, and a rigorous academic program that prepares students for a successful life in and out of the workplace. A recent survey reported that our annual spending in the region was $161 million, generating a total impact of $307 million on the regional economy. Eighty-five percent of CSUSM's alumni stay in the region. CSU San Marcos is located on a 304-acre hillside overlooking the city of San Marcos. It is 15 miles east of the ocean; just 30 miles north of downtown San Diego.