CSUSM Early Advocate to Earn Honorary Degree

Carol Cox at Groundbreaking

Carol Cox (fourth from right in white) breaks ground on the site of the future CSUSM campus with local dignitaries, CSU officials, and CSU San Marcos founding faculty on February 23, 1990.

Carol Cox, former aide to the late Assemblyman and Senator William A. Craven, will be honored with an honorary Doctor of Laws (LL.D.) for her demonstrated commitment to higher education and the betterment of the region at the 19th annual California State University San Marcos commencement ceremonies on Saturday, May 15, at the Del Mar Fairgrounds at 9:00 a.m.

As a re-entry student at Palomar College in the mid-seventies, Cox realized that options to pursue a four-year degree in North County San Diego were nonexistent. In March 1978, Cox traveled to Sacramento and met with three legislators, one of whom was Assemblyman Craven. Craven was interested in her proposal and told her that if she could garner community support, he would carry the necessary augmentation for the California State University (CSU) budget.

After successfully raising awareness in the region for the need for a new university, including testifying before the Assembly Ways and Means Committee, the January 1979 Governor's budget included a $250,000 increase for the CSU budget.

When SDSU classes were offered in North County in the fall of 1979, Cox was the first student to register. While pursuing her degree, she continued to work alongside Craven part-time; and when she earned her Public Administration degree in 1981, she was hired as a full-time administrator in his Carlsbad office.

Cox successfully maneuvered within the CSU and the State of California, jumping impossible hurdles to pursue her dream of public higher education in the region. This pursuit became a reality in 1989 with the founding of California State University San Marcos, and both Craven and Cox took turns with the shovels at the campus groundbreaking in 1990. In 1994 she established one of the first scholarship funds, the Carol A. Cox Fund for Re-entry Women.

CSUSM's 19th commencement will consist of two ceremonies; one at 9:00 a.m. and the other at 3:00 p.m., combining undergraduate and post-baccalaureate graduates.  Currently there are 2,399 students eligible to graduate, including undergraduate, graduate, Ed.D., and credential candidates.

When SDSU classes were offered in North County in the fall of 1979, Cox was the first student to register.