Contact: Carmen Ramos Chandler ,
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May 17, 1999

CSUN to Give Honorary Degrees to
J.D. Power III, August Wilson

(NORTHRIDGE, Calif.) - Cal State Northridge is conferring honorary degrees on innovative business leader J.D. Power III and Pulitzer Prize-winning playwright August Wilson at the university's commencement ceremonies next month.

The two will receive their degrees at ceremonies on June 2 and 3 on the Oviatt Lawn near the center of the campus at 18111 Nordhoff St., Northridge.

"The university is proud to bestow honorary degrees on two individuals as distinguished as August Wilson and J.D. Power III," said CSUN President Blenda J. Wilson. "Both exemplify the broad and diverse achievements that are possible in our society. Their accomplishments in their professional careers and in the community make them role models for all our graduating students."

Playwright August Wilson, who has been hailed as one of the most important talents in American theatre in this century, will receive an honorary doctorate in fine arts at 6:30 p.m. on Wednesday, June 2, during commencement ceremonies for the College of Arts, Media, and Communication.

"We are proud to be honoring August Wilson," said Philip Handler, dean of the College of Arts, Media, and Communication. "He is one of the finest playwrights working in this country at the present time. Building on the works of earlier African American playwrights, he has given voice to a large segment of the African American community and told the story of the African American experience to a broad audience."

Wilson has won nearly every award possible in theatre, including Pulitzer Prizes and Tony Awards for "Fences" and "The Piano Lesson." In addition to those plays, his work includes the acclaimed "Jitney," "Ma Rainey's Black Bottom," "Joe Turner's Come and Gone," "Two Trains Running" and "Seven Guitars." He also has been the recipient of Bush and Guggenheim Foundation fellowships.

J.D. Power III, chairman of J.D. Power and Associates, will receive an honorary doctorate in humane letters at the College of Business Administration and Economics' ceremony at 8 a.m. on Thursday, June 3.

"It's an honor to recognize Dave Power, not just for his contribution to academia, but to the country as a whole," said William R. Hosek, dean of the College of Business Administration and Economics. "Think about it, J.D. Power and Associates has set the standard for integrity and quality in customer satisfaction."

Power, who also is the ceremony's keynote speaker, has turned J.D. Power and Associates into one of the most prestigious marketing information firms in the world. It counts among its clients virtually every automobile manufacturer and importer serving the U.S. market. The firm's reputation as a premier resource for customer satisfaction data and consultancies has led to research and projects in a variety of industries, including airline, hotel, car rental, telecommunications (cable, cellular, local and long distance telephone), credit/card financial and health care.

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Carmen Ramos Chandler, Director of News and Information