Honorary Degrees

Sylvia M. Panetta

For over four decades, Mrs. Panetta has been an influential and passionate leader in public policy whose contributions have positively affected the nation, the state, the region, the California State University system and CSU Monterey Bay. 

Mrs. Panetta graduated from St. Joseph’s College of Nursing and studied humanities at Monterey Peninsula College and Sonoma State University. She has an exemplary record of serving the people of California in a variety of roles. She is currently the Co-Chair and Chief Executive Officer of the Panetta Institute for Public Policy, a position she has held since the Institute opened in 1998, with the mission to encourage young people to pursue lives of public service.

Mrs. Panetta oversees two of the Institute’s programs that are designed to provide leadership training to CSU students from all 23 campuses: the Congressional Internship Program and the Education for Leadership in Public Service Seminar. She also directs the Monterey County Reads Program, which is in its nineteenth year of recruiting and training volunteers to read with students in local elementary schools across Monterey County.

Other programs that Mrs. Panetta is involved with that have brought national recognition are the Leon Panetta Lecturer Series and the Jefferson-Lincoln Awards for Public Service, both of which honor nationally recognized public servants, journalists, and scholars and bring them to Monterey County where they meet and connect with local community leaders.

Over the years, many organizations have recognized Mrs. Panetta for her work, including Woman of the Year award for the California Fifteenth Senate District and Public Official of the Year award from the Monterey Peninsula Chamber of Commerce. She was also inducted into the Monterey Business Hall of Fame by the Monterey County Business Council.

In recognition of her many accomplishments and work to forward democracy at both the local and national levels, the Board of Trustees of the California State University and California State University, Monterey Bay, are proud to confer upon Sylvia M. Panetta the honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters.