Aquarium director Julie Packard to receive honorary doctorate

Obama administration official Cecilia Muñoz will be the keynote speaker at CSU Monterey Bay’s commencement ceremony on May 17.

Cecilia MunozMs. Muñoz is an adviser to the President and director of the Domestic Policy Council, which coordinates the domestic policy-making process in the White House. Previously, she served as deputy assistant to the President and director of intergovernmental affairs.

Prior to joining the Obama Administration, she served as senior vice president for the Office of Research, Advocacy, and Legislation at the National Council of La Raza (NCLR), the nation’s largest Latino civil rights organization.

She supervised NCLR’s policy staff, covering a variety of issues of importance to Latinos, including civil rights, employment, poverty, farmworker issues, education, health, housing and immigration. Her particular area of expertise is immigration policy, which she covered at NCLR for 20 years.

Ms. Muñoz was born in Detroit, and is the daughter of immigrants from Bolivia. She received her undergraduate degree from the University of Michigan and her master’s degree from the University of California at Berkeley. In 2000, she was awarded a MacArthur Foundation fellowship in recognition of her work on immigration and civil rights.


Julie Packard, founding director of the non-profit Monterey Bay Aquarium, will be awarded an honorary doctoral degree at the ceremony.

Julie PackardThe first person to receive an honorary doctor of science degree from CSUMB, Ms. Packard and the aquarium have become a force for advancing ocean conservation worldwide through the aquarium’s exhibits and programs, and its work in scientific research, education and public policy.

Ms. Packard chairs the board of the independent Monterey Bay Aquarium Research Institute and serves on the boards of the David and Lucile Packard Foundation and The California Nature Conservancy.

She is a Fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, was named a California Coastal Hero by the California Coastal Commission and has received the Audubon Medal for Conservation.

Ms. Packard also served as a member of the Pew Oceans Commission, which published a blueprint for improving governance of America’s ocean waters, and in 2013 was appointed to California’s Parks Forward Commission to help develop a sustainable path for California’s state parks.

“Each of these leaders impacts the world in meaningful ways," said President Eduardo Ochoa. "Cecilia Munoz continues to show that committed leaders can make a real difference for our nation. Julie Packard’s work has been instrumental in raising awareness of how dependent we all are on the health of our marine environments.

“They represent the values that CSU Monterey Bay works to impart to its students: to find opportunities to be of service to the local, national and global communities.”

CSUMB’s 18th commencement will take place at 10 a.m. in Freeman Stadium on the CSUMB campus with President Eduardo Ochoa presiding. Approximately 1,450 students will receive bachelor’s and master’s degrees; about 8,000 familty members and friends are expected to attend.

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