photos provided by CSUSM

California State University San Marcos (CSUSM) granted three honorary degrees during last month’s commencement ceremonies. Esther and Jan Stearns received a Doctor of Humane Letters for their support of ACE Scholars Services. The program provides personalized service for former foster youth attending CSUSM, resulting in an 86% persistence rate – the number of students returning to college for a second year – compared to the national average of 50%.

cm_csusmhonorary2Molecular biologist Lydia Villa-Komaroff received a Doctor of Science for her contributions to medical science. In addition to her milestone research in inducing insulin production in bacteria, she was a founding member of the Society for Advancement of Chicanos and Native Americans in Science and serves as a role model for STEM students of all backgrounds.

Country artist Jimmy Wayne uses his music and platform to highlight his own experience as a foster youth. His activism has influenced bills in California, North Carolina, and Tennessee to extend foster services to age 21. He was awarded a Doctor of Fine Arts.