News Release| CSULA, Cal State L.A.; Commencement; Graduation; Los Angeles; Class of 2008; Honorary Doctorate; Dionicio Morales

Note to editors and news directos: To request a digital photo or an interview with Dionicio Morales, contact the CSULA Public Affairs office in advance at (323) 343-3050.

 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 organizationwill 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 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.

For more about Morales, go to or

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Working for California since 1947: The 175-acre hilltop campus of California State University, Los Angeles is at the heart of a major metropolitan city, just five miles from Los Angeles’ civic and cultural center. More than 20,000 students and 200,000 alumni—with a wide variety of interests, ages and backgrounds—reflect the city’s dynamic mix of populations. Six colleges offer nationally recognized science, arts, business, criminal justice, engineering, nursing, education and humanities programs, among others, led by an award-winning faculty. Cal State L.A. is home to the critically-acclaimed Luckman Jazz Orchestra and to a unique university center for gifted students as young as 12. Programs that provide exciting enrichment opportunities to students and community include an NEH- and Rockefeller-supported humanities center; a NASA-funded center for space research; and a growing forensic science program, housed in the Hertzberg-Davis Forensic Science Center.