Camarillo, Calif., Feb. 14, 2012 – Labor and civil rights leader Henry L. “Hank” Lacayo and designer and entrepreneur Kathy Ireland will receive honorary doctorate degrees from CSU Channel Islands (CI) during the University’s Commencement ceremony on May 19, 2012.

Lacayo’s Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.) degree salutes his decades of service as an influential figure in the American labor, civil rights and political movements, as well as his longstanding support of CI and the surrounding community.

An Air Force veteran and former national director of the United Auto Workers’ political and legislative department, Lacayo has advised U.S. presidents, members of Congress, Senate, and governors, marched for civil rights alongside Dr. Martin Luther King Jr., championed the rights of farm workers with Cesar Chavez, and helped to found and lead the Labor Council for Latin American Advancement and the U.S. Hispanic Leadership Institute. The 80-year-old Newbury Park resident is currently serving a sixth term as president of the Congress of California Seniors, which represents more than 500,000 seniors statewide. He continues to address the interests of the public, minorities, the disadvantaged through philanthropy, and volunteering his time to more than a dozen boards and committees.

Lacayo was an early and important friend of the University who helped garner community support when the campus opened its doors. He was instrumental in securing more than $560,000 in financial support for the Henry L. "Hank" Lacayo Institute for Workforce & Community Studies (HLI), which provides opportunities for students to engage in entrepreneurial studies and continues his legacy by addressing the importance of workforce and community issues.

“To be recognized in this way by CSU Channel Islands, where I’ve devoted so much of my time, is a significant, overwhelming and a completely unexpected honor,” Lacayo said.

 “Hank Lacayo has left a profound and lasting mark on the American labor, political and civil rights movements and on CSU Channel Islands through his ongoing support and involvement,” said CI President Richard R. Rush. “His service to the underserved in our communities and to higher education has made him a strong positive role model for university students and alumni. I can think of no better way to pay tribute to this man’s remarkable life.”

Kathy Ireland’s honorary Doctor of Humane Letters (L.H.D.) degree recognizes her many accomplishments as a designer, entrepreneur and philanthropist.

As a super model in the fashion industry, who appeared on countless covers including Vogue, Cosmopolitan and the best-selling Sports Illustrated issue in history, Ireland launched a highly successful design and marketing empire. Ireland’s designs include fashion, home products, fine jewelry, and has written six books. Her business, Kathy Ireland Worldwide, now boasts retail sales of more than $2 billion a year with more than 15,000 products in 50 countries. In a cover story out this month, Forbes magazine proclaims her as the prototype for a savvy, hands-on $350-million “Supermodel/Supermogul,” far surpassing Martha Stewart in sales and revenue.

The 48-year-old Santa Barbara resident is also recognized for using her success to create a better world. Through kathyireland.org, she supports a variety of causes, including maternal and child health, HIV/AIDS, military families, and empowering women.  She is lauded for running a sustainable and socially responsible business by the United Nations Global Compact and honored for her philanthropic impact and contributions by the Anti-Defamation League, the Dream Foundation, the Alliance for Christian Education, and the YWCA, among others.

 “Being honored by CSU Channel Islands is completely humbling. This great university changes lives in powerful ways. Receiving this honorary degree reminds me that we must expand the opportunity of education whenever possible. CSU Channel Islands is a university of the people, by people and for the people of our great state. I am most grateful, and even more aware of the responsibility that accompanies this honorary degree,” said Ireland.

“Kathy Ireland sets a powerful example of how business success and entrepreneurship can be used to perpetuate good in the world – values we work hard to instill in our graduates,” said Rush.  “We are proud to honor her work and impact with an honorary degree and to be able to count her among CI’s many distinguished associates.”

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About California State University Channel Islands
CSU Channel Islands (CI) is the only four-year, public university in Ventura County and is known for its interdisciplinary, multicultural and international perspectives, and its emphasis on experiential and service learning. CI's strong academic programs focus on business, sciences, liberal studies, teaching credentials, and innovative master's degrees. Students benefit from individual attention, up-to-date technology, and classroom instruction augmented by outstanding faculty research. CI has been designated by the U.S. Department of Education as a Hispanic-Serving Institution and is committed to serving students of all backgrounds from the region and beyond. Connect with and learn more about CI by visiting CI's Social Media.