Saturday, July 21 , 2018, 4:22 pm | A Few Clouds 72º


CSU Channel Islands Awards Honorary Doctorate to Journalist Lou Cannon

CSU Channel Islands awarded an honorary doctorate degree to noted presidential biographer and White House correspondent Lou Cannon during the university’s 2013 morning commencement ceremony on Saturday at the South Quad.

The honorary degree, conferred jointly by the California State University Board of Trustees and CI, is the highest honor the university can bestow.

Cannon, considered the foremost biographer of President Ronald Reagan, is also widely known for his political reporting on California and the nation. He has written five books about Reagan, including the acclaimed President Reagan: The Role of a Lifetime and Governor Reagan: His Rise to Power, and authored four other books, including Official Negligence: How Rodney King and the Riots Changed Los Angeles and the LAPD. His most recent book, Reagan’s Disciple: George W. Bush’s Troubled Quest for a Presidential Legacy, is co-authored with his eldest son, Carl Cannon, also a prize-winning White House correspondent.

Cannon spent 26 years at The Washington Post as a political reporter, White House correspondent, columnist and Los Angeles bureau chief, garnering numerous awards for his coverage. During his early career, he was Sacramento reporter for the San Jose Mercury News.

He has written for Smithsonian magazine, National Review, The New York Times and the Los Angeles Times, among other publications. He currently serves as a columnist and editor-at-large for State Net Capitol Journal, a weekly publication of Lexis-Nexis focused on state legislation and politics, and writes a column for the websites Noozhawk and RealClearPolitics.

A former Raznick Distinguished Lecturer in the history department of UCSB, Cannon is a popular speaker on the national circuit. In the fall, he served as moderator for CI’s “Politics to the Extreme,” a free public conference that brought nationally noted authors, politicians and pundits to the campus for two days of presentations, discussion and debate about polarization in American politics.

“Mr. Cannon continues to serve the state of California and the country as a lecturer and an unblinking writer on the presidency, the media, California politics and police issues,” CI President Richard Rush said. “In recognition of his commitment and service to our democracy, his support of the education of college students, and as a tribute to this man’s remarkable life, it is my great honor to award Lou Cannon an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters.” 

“This honorary doctorate is important to me because it’s my first higher-education degree of any kind,” Cannon said. “I was drafted into the Army during the Korean War while attending what was then San Francisco State College and is now CSU San Francisco. A doctorate of humane letters is especially meaningful since I’ve spent my life as a journalist, biographer and historian.”

More than 1,440 CI students received degrees in separate morning and afternoon commencement ceremonies on Saturday. The morning ceremony included the following academic programs: Anthropology, Art, Chicana/o Studies, Credentials (teaching), Early Childhood Studies, Education, English, History, Liberal Studies, Performing Arts, Political Science, Psychology and Sociology.

The afternoon ceremony included the following academic programs: Applied Physics, Biology, Business, Biotechnology & Bioinformatics, Biotechnology/MBA (dual degree), Chemistry, Communication, Computer Science, Economics, Environmental Science & Resource Management, Information Technology, Mathematics, Nursing and Spanish.

— Nancy Gill is the director of communications and marketing for CSU Channel Islands.


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