California State University San Marcos (CSUSM) will award two honorary degrees during its 20th annual Commencement exercises on 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 Jose Yenque.

Honorary degree recipients are selected by a campus committee of faculty and staff from recommendations made by 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.

About J. Douglas Pardee

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 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.

About Jose Yenque

Introduced to acting very early in life, Jose 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 such films 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 standout 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 is 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.

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 Foundation of Orphaned and Disabled African Children, The Puerto Rican Traveling Theatre Company and Campus Chill Out – a program of the National Wildlife Federation.

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 and Diekman are collaborating on a second video 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.

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 Jose Yenque.