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May 26
1956 - Placerita Canyon State Park dedicated [story]
Oak of the Golden Dream


California State University, Northridge will confer honorary doctorates on four alumni, all respected leaders in their fields, at the university’s commencement ceremonies next month.

Receiving honorary doctorates of humane letters will be Andrew Anagnost, president and CEO of Autodesk Inc., a leader in design and make software; Debra Farar, California State University Trustee Emerita and former senior policy advisor; David Nazarian, CEO and founder of the private investment firm Nimes Capital; and Robert Taylor, president and CEO of the private equity firm Centinela Capital Partners.

“Andrew Anagnost, Debra Farar, David Nazarian and Robert Taylor are outstanding leaders in their careers and in their communities and we are so proud to call them Matadors, ,” said CSUN President Erika D. Beck. “Each is passionate about uplifting those around them and making the world a better place for future generations. Individually and collectively, they embody CSUN’s deeply rooted values of justice, equity and inclusion, and it is our great privilege to recognize their extraordinary achievements with honorary degrees.”

Anagnost and Taylor, both graduates of CSUN’s College of Engineering and Computer Science, will receive their honorary doctorates during the joint ceremony for the College of Engineering and Computer Science and the College of Science and Mathematics scheduled for 6 p.m. on Friday, May 17.

Anagnost earned his bachelor’s degree in mechanical engineering from CSUN in 1987 and both his master’s degree in engineering science and doctorate in aeronautical engineering and computer science from Stanford University. A global innovator and thought leader in technology solutions, Anagnost is a champion of diversity in STEM education and for creating opportunities for students to discover and achieve their highest aspirations.

Anagnost advocates for equitable learning opportunities, enabling human potential, and advancing knowledge that serves the public good, including through his leadership of Autodesk, a multinational software corporation committed to advancing a more sustainable, resilient and equitable world. Anagnost has given back to CSUN, both personally and through Autodesk, and was recognized in 2019 with the university’s Distinguished Alumni Award. In 2023, under his leadership, Autodesk donated funds to support the construction of the Autodesk Technology Engagement Center, which will accommodate design, research, fabrication, mentorship, and whole-family outreach STEM programming.

Taylor, graduated from CSUN in 1982 with a bachelor’s degree in engineering and was recognized with CSUN’s Distinguished Alumni Award in 2016 for his long-standing contributions to the university.  He earned an MBA and law degree from Stanford University and has co-founded two private equity and financial services firms, including Centinela Capital Partners, LLC, where he currently serves as president and chief executive officer. He is also a managing partner in 3.5.7.11, a holding company that creates wealth by building high-performing and inclusive businesses through corporate partnerships, relationships with leaders, deep operating experience and values-based culture.

Taylor played an instrumental role in the RebuildLA initiative following the 1992 Los Angeles riots and became a local and national leader in the Urban League, whose mission is to enable African Americans to secure economic self-reliance, parity, power and civil rights. He currently serves as chair of the CSUN Foundation Board.

Farar will receive her honorary doctorate during the commencement ceremony for the Michael D. Eisner College of Education and select departments from the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences at 6 p.m. on Saturday, May 18.

Farrar earned her bachelor’s degree in English and her master’s degree in education from CSUN and her doctorate in education from Pepperdine University. An inspirational leader and mentor, Farar has devoted her career to transforming lives through service and an unwavering commitment to social justice and quality education for California students. She has served as an elementary school teacher and as senior education policy advisor for then-Lieutenant Governor Gray Davis. Appointed by Governor Davis to the CSU Board of Trustees in 1999, Trustee Emerita Farar was the longest-serving trustee in recent CSU history, serving as chair of the CSU Board for two years.

Farrar has also served as a board member of the Association of Governing Boards, the Planned Parenthood Advocacy Project, the CSU Channel Islands Site Authority and CSUN’s performing arts center. Her post professional appointments include board membership on the Funds for the Improvement of Postsecondary Education, the Grant Advisory Committee of the California Student Aid Commission and the “College Making It Happen” committee of the California Intersegmental Coordinating Committee.

Nazarian will receive his honorary doctorate during the commencement ceremony for the David Nazarian College of Business and Economics at 8 a.m. on Monday, May 20.

After immigrating from Iran in 1979, Nazarian earned his bachelor’s degree in business administration from CSUN and his MBA from the University of Southern California. A visionary and prolific investor in numerous fields, including the early telecommunications and renewable energy industries, aerospace, real estate and hospitality, Nazarian currently serves as chief executive officer and founder of Nimes Capital.

Nazarian has said he that an investment in students is an investment in our collective future. His transformational gift to CSUN in 2014 was recognized with the naming of the college that bears his name, the David Nazarian College of Business and Economics, and reflects his deep and enduring commitment to enhancing entrepreneurship and international programming, providing professional development and career assistance to students and elevating the success of women in business. He also contributes his time and many talents to CSUN as a thought partner and mentor to CSUN students, faculty and staff.

Additionally, Nazarian is further immersed in the greater Los Angeles community through his support of numerous nonprofit and educational institutions He has served on the Board of Directors of the UCLA Foundation; the Investment Committee and Board of Governors of Cedars-Sinai Medical Center; the USC Marshall School of Business Board of Leaders; LACMA’s Collector’s Committee; The Hammer Museum Circle and the Young Presidents Organization. He is also the founder of the Youth Leadership Program at Sinai Temple.

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