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Long-time champion of Mexican American opportunity to receive honorary doctorate at Cal State L.A.
Dionicio Morales to be cited at Commencement Fri., June 6
Los Angeles, CA – Dionicio Morales—founder and former president of the Mexican American Opportunity Foundation (MAOF), the nation’s largest Latino-serving social service organization—will receive an honorary doctorate from the California State University Board of Trustees at Cal State L.A.’s 61st Commencement Friday, June 6. The ceremony begins at 5 p.m. in the University Athletic Stadium.
Helping children and families in need since 1963 and spanning over seven counties, the MAOF provides service to more than 100,000 Californians, 95 percent of whom earn a low to moderate income. MAOF’s programs include child care and development, resource and referral, alternative payment programs, senior and disabled services, welfare-to-work employment services, youth programs, a food bank, and financial-literacy and computer-literacy education.
According to HispanicVista.com Publisher Sal Osio, Morales is “a man of destiny and a legend. In the Hispanic America urban communities he has become an inspirational leader and a beacon of hope.”
Morales served four years as a State Apprenticeship Commissioner, heading the state committee to ensure minority involvement in building and construction apprenticeships. He has served as advisor to the California Employment Development Department and on the Los Angeles County Manpower Council (LACMAC) and the National Advisory Committee for the U.S. Department of Labor.
Cal State L.A. President James M. Rosser said, “Dionicio Morales has been a pioneer in harnessing economic power and social awareness to foster greater inclusion in our nation. It is altogether fitting—and a privilege—to have this honor bestowed upon him at Cal State L.A. as his legacy offers inspiration to us as we continue our mission to provide broader access to higher education and, with it, the education and training to excel.”
Additionally, Morales served the Century Freeway Commission, the National Council of Senior Citizens in Washington, D.C., the Los Angeles Child Care Advisory Board, and the U.S. National Task Force on Hispanic Affairs.
Born in Arizona and raised in Ventura County by migrant farmworker parents, Morales graduated from Moorpark High School in 1937, attended Santa Barbara State College, and continued his studies at the University of Southern California.
In recognition of Morales’ 30 years of devoted community service, in 1987, the Los Angeles County Board of Supervisors renamed a historic lake and park in East Los Angeles, calling it Dionicio Morales Plaza. In 2006, Morales was also presented a Lifetime Achievement Award at the Hispanic Business magazine’s annual EOY Awards Gala, which honors the top Hispanic entrepreneurs in the United States.
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