University Advancement
News Release

Contact: Carmen Ramos Chandler
(818) 677-2130

CSUN to Bestow Honorary Degrees Upon Philanthropist
Philip Magaram, Conductor Albert McNeil

(NORTHRIDGE, Calif., April 17, 2003) - Tax attorney and philanthropist Philip S. Magaram and acclaimed choral conductor Albert McNeil will receive honorary degrees from Cal State Northridge during its commencement ceremonies next month.

Magaram, a founder of the university's Marilyn Magaram Center for Food Science, Nutrition and Dietetics, will receive an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters. McNeil, who founded the internationally celebrated Albert McNeil Jubilee Singers, will receive an honorary Doctor of Fine Arts.

"Philip Magaram is a noted philanthropist with a long record of leadership in the field of community service and he is a long-time friend of the university. Albert McNeil's life and achievements serve as a model of how diversity strengthens and enriches the community and its cultural life," said CSUN President Jolene Koester. "I am delighted that we are honoring two such extraordinary people who have touched our lives and made them better in very distinct ways.

Koester will confer the honorary degree on McNeil during the commencement ceremony for the College of Arts, Media, and Communication the morning of May 28.

Later that day, Magaram will receive his degree from Koester during the commencement ceremony for the College of Health and Human Development.

Magaram is a widely respected attorney in the field of tax, estate planning, probate and trust law.

He is also heralded for his community service, including his work with the National Arthritis Foundation, the Joseph Drown Foundation and the Leukemia Society of America. He serves as a member of the board of trustees for UCLA's Foundation as well as for the California State University, Northridge Foundation.

When his wife, Marilyn, died in a whitewater rafting accident in 1989 while on vacation with her family in Australia, Magaram helped establish a center for nutrition studies at Cal State Northridge in her honor. Marilyn Magaram was a CSUN graduate and instructor who studied food and nutrition.

The only one of its kind at a California university, the Marilyn Magaram Center for Food Science, Nutrition and Dietetics conducts research and community outreach programs out of its state-of-the-art facilities in the College of Health and Human Development.

McNeil, professor emeritus at the University of California at Davis, is hailed as one of America's most gifted choral directors.

He founded the McNeil Jubilee Singers more than 35 years ago while teaching music in Los Angeles. The ensemble is dedicated to upholding a choral tradition of excellence with the presentation of the concert spiritual and the ever-increasing contributions of African American composers of concert music, opera and theatre music.

Under his direction, the group has performed in 70 countries, including Eastern and Western Europe, the Middle East, and North and West African countries.

McNeil has been invited to serve as guest conductor for several choral groups and festivals, including the DeKalb International Choral Festival held at Stone Mountain, Ga., in 1994. He led the Mormon Tabernacle Choir in its "Anthology of Negro Spirituals" CD.

McNeil served as director of choral activities at Davis for 21 years and headed the university's music education program. He also taught courses in ethnomusicology at the University of Southern California for 12 years.

In addition, McNeil has authored and edited a series of music education textbooks for Silver-Burdett-Ginn Publishing Company. He also co-authored an educational packet for Bowman Publishing Company.

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