Labor leader María Elena Durazo awarded Honorary Doctorate by the CSU Board of Trustees at Cal State L.A.’s 2014 Commencement

María Elena Durazo, executive secretary-treasurer of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, was conferred an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters from the California State University (CSU) Board of Trustees at Cal State L.A.’s Commencement ceremony Saturday, June 14.

"We are very proud to award Maria Elena Durazo the honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters for 2014. Her significant impacts on the quality of life in this region demonstrate what can be achieved through dedication, hard work, and a commitment to community," said President William A. Covino.

Durazo was elected to serve as executive secretary-treasurer of the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor, AFL-CIO on May 15, 2006. In 2010, she was re-elected to her second term with overwhelming delegate support, affirming her track record of energetic leadership and innovative growth in Los Angeles County’s labor movement.

Through more than 300 local unions, the Los Angeles County Federation of Labor represents more than 600,000 workers in every key industry, including transportation/goods movement; entertainment/media; services including janitorial and hospitality; education and construction; public sector and retail; health care and communications, to name a few.

The daughter of Mexican immigrant farm workers, Durazo learned the importance of hard work and determination at a very young age.  As a child, she traveled from Oregon to California with her parents and nine siblings to work in the fields.

In 2010, Durazo was elected as vice president of the national AFL-CIO Executive Council where she served as the only leader of a local labor movement in the country. She is also the chair of the National AFL-CIO’s Immigration Committee.

In 2013, Durazo was elected as vice chair for the Democratic National Committee, DNC. She served as a national co-chair for President Obama’s campaigns in 2008 and 2012. She also had the great honor of serving as vice chair to the 2008 Democratic National Convention Committee.

“It is fitting to recognize Maria Elena Durazo during Cal State L.A.’s Commencement, as I cannot think of any Los Angeles leader who more fully embodies the university’s vision of engagement, service, and the public good,” commented President Covino.

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Working for California since 1947: 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 230,000 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 the Honors College for high-achieving students. Programs that provide exciting enrichment opportunities to students and community include an NEH-supported humanities center; a NASA-funded center for space research; and a forensic science program, housed in the Hertzberg-Davis Forensic Science Center.