Social justice advocate Antonia Hernández to receive honorary doctorate at Cal State LA Commencement

Antonia Hernández

By Cal State LA News Service

Antonia Hernández, a social justice champion, civil rights attorney and philanthropist, will receive an honorary doctorate during the 2019 Commencement at Cal State LA.

Hernández is the president and chief executive officer of the California Community Foundation, one of Southern California’s most active and largest philanthropic organizations. The foundation has served individuals, families and organizations in Los Angeles for more than a century and currently holds more than $1.7 billion in assets. During Hernandez’s tenure, the California Community Foundation has focused on health, housing, education and programs benefitting immigrants.

Cal State LA and the California State University Board of Trustees will confer an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters to Hernández during the Commencement ceremony for the College of Arts and Letters, which is scheduled for 12:30 p.m. on May 20. She will also deliver the keynote address for this ceremony.

“We are proud to confer upon Antonia Hernández an Honorary Doctor of Humane Letters,” Cal State LA President William A. Covino said. “Her distinguished career as an advocate for social justice and her contributions to enriching Los Angeles embody Cal State LA’s mission of engagement, service, and the public good.”

Previously, Hernández was president and general counsel of the Mexican American Legal Defense and Educational Fund (MALDEF). Founded in 1968, MALDEF is a nonprofit litigation and advocacy organization committed to protecting and defending the rights of Latinos living in the United States and the constitutional rights of all Americans.

Hernández began her legal career as a staff attorney with the Los Angeles Center for Law and Justice. She also served as counsel to the U.S. Senate Committee on the Judiciary before joining MALDEF in 1981 as regional counsel in Washington, D.C.

She is a member of the State Bar of California, United States Supreme Court, District of Columbia Bar, American Bar Association and the Mexican American Bar Association of Los Angeles. She is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences and the American Law Institute.

Hernández earned a Bachelor of Arts in History at the University of California, Los Angeles in 1970 and a Juris Doctor at the UCLA School of Law in 1974.

Photo: Antonia Hernández. (Credit: California Community Foundation)

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California State University, Los Angeles is the premier comprehensive public university in the heart of Los Angeles. Cal State LA is ranked number one in the United States for the upward mobility of its students. Cal State LA is dedicated to engagement, service, and the public good, offering nationally recognized programs in science, the arts, business, criminal justice, engineering, nursing, education, and the humanities. Founded in 1947, the University serves more than 28,000 students and has more than 245,000 distinguished alumni.

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