USC News

Menu Search

Four Individuals to Get Honorary Degrees as Part of Celebration

A mayor, a health-care professional, a journalist and an academic will receive honorary degrees at commencement this year.

In addition to Los Angeles Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa, who is also this year’s commencement speaker, recipients include USC trustee Herbert G. Klein, Carnegie Corp. President Vartan Gregorian and Chief Dental Officer Dushanka V. Kleinman.

Mayor Antonio Villaraigosa
Doctor of Humane Letters

Antonio Villaraigosa was born in East Los Angeles in 1953 to a Mexican immigrant father and a California-born mother of Mexican descent. He earned a bachelor’s degree in history from UCLA and, in 1985, a law degree from People’s College of Law.

Villaraigosa worked his way up through Los Angeles labor circles to become a prominent organizer for United Teachers of Los Angeles. In 1990, Villaraigosa was appointed to the Los Angeles Metropolitan Transportation Board and served there until 1994 when he was elected to the California State Assembly and, within his first term, was selected to serve as Democratic Assembly Whip and Assembly Majority Leader. He was chosen to be the first Speaker of the Assembly from Los Angeles in 25 years. Villaraigosa again was elected to public office to represent the 14th District seat on the Los Angeles City Council.

He also served as national co-chairman of Democrat John Kerry’s 2004 presidential campaign. In 2005, Villaraigosa defeated incumbent mayor James Hahn and became the 41st mayor of Los Angeles and the city’s first Latino mayor since 1872.

Vartan Gregorian
Doctor of Humane Letters


Vartan Gregorian is president of Carnegie Corp. of New York. Prior to his current position, which he assumed in 1997, Gregorian served for nine years as the 16th president of Brown University. He earned a Ph.D. in history and humanities from Stanford in 1964.

Gregorian has taught European and Middle Eastern history at San Francisco State College, UCLA and the University of Texas at Austin. In 1972, he joined the University of Pennsylvania faculty and was appointed Tarzian Professor of History and professor of South Asian history. He was founding dean of the Faculty of Arts and Sciences at the University of Pennsylvania in 1974 and four years later became its 23rd provost until 1981.

Gregorian is the author of “The Road to Home: My Life and Times, Islam: A Mosaic,
Not a Monolith,” and “The Emergence of Modern Afghanistan, 1880-1946.”

Herbert G. Klein
Doctor of Humane Letters


Herbert G. Klein is a retired vice president and editor in chief of Copley Newspapers and a former White House communications director during the Nixon Administration. A devoted Trojan and graduate of 1940, he does his alma mater proud through both his professional accomplishments and his direct contributions to the university.

Klein’s distinguished record as both a media professional and a Trojan was honored in 2004, when the Half-Century Trojans bestowed on him their inaugural Hall of Fame award, recognizing “degreed alumni of the University of Southern California who have utilized their educations at USC to become outstanding leaders.”

A journalism major, Klein was sports editor of the Daily Trojan, writing a column his senior year called “Sports Scribbles.” He is a life member of the USC Board of Trustees.

Dushanka V. Kleinman
Doctor of Science


Dushanka V. Kleinman is the deputy director of the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research at the National Institutes of Health and chief dental officer of the United States Public Health Service.

For the past two years, she also has served as the assistant director for roadmap coordination for the NIH. Before being commissioned by the Public Health Service in 1978, Kleinman was an assistant professor for two years at the University of Maryland at the Baltimore School of Dentistry.

Her first Public Health Service assignment was with the division of dentistry, participating in preventive dentistry and dental auxiliary activities. In 1980, she joined the National Institute of Dental and Craniofacial Research as an evaluation officer. In 1990, Kleinman was assigned to the Office of the Surgeon General, returning to her current position in 1991.

More stories about:

Four Individuals to Get Honorary Degrees as Part of Celebration

Top stories on USC News