CSU, Chico News

Honorary Doctorates To Be Awarded to Ken Grossman and Marilyn Warrens at CSU, Chico Commencement

Date: 05-18-2008

Joe Wills
Public Affairs

Ken Grossman and Marilyn Warrens, two of Chico’s best known and most respected citizens, will be awarded honorary doctorates at California State University, Chico’s 118th commencement later this month.

Warrens will receive the Honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts, and Grossman will receive the Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters, conferred by the California State University Board of Trustees and CSU, Chico. The ceremony will be Sunday, May 25, as part of the University’s commencement exercises.

Grossman is the founder, owner and president of Sierra Nevada Brewing Co. The company has grown from essentially a home brewing operation in 1980 to the second largest craft brewery and seventh largest brewing company in the United States. Sierra Nevada is one of the largest locally owned employers in Butte County and has won more than 150 awards in regional, national and international competitions.

In addition to his commercial success, Grossman is a significant contributor to the community. He devotes a good deal of his time and resources supporting local organizations, public television and radio, music and the arts, and many civic and community-enhancement organizations. His support of higher education is demonstrated by guest-teaching and speaking several times a year to student groups and business fraternities on entrepreneurship and the value of good corporate citizenship at CSU, Chico, UC Davis and Butte Community College. In 2004, Grossman received the Outstanding Entrepreneur award from CSU, Chico’s College of Business.

Agricultural sustainability and environmental stewardship are extremely important to Grossman, and are mainstays of his business. He also serves on several river conservation boards and is involved in local environmental organizations. Grossman was honored last year at the CSU, Chico Sustainability Conference for his sustainable practices, and he and his wife, Katie Gonser, sponsor the SAGE Award for Environmental Stewardship. He is also a member of the University’s Jack Rawlins Advisory Committee, to advance sustainability in the community. The company has won numerous environmental and sustainability awards as well, including the prestigious Governor’s Environmental and Economic Leadership Award for Sustainable Practices in 2005.

Warrens has been one of the most active members of the Chico community for many years. She has been president of the California Medical Association Auxiliary, president of the Butte-Glenn Medical Society Alliance, founder of the Chico Area Pan-Hellenic, founder of Fiesta /Rancho Chico, founder of Las Senoras of Chico and Los Caballeros, founder and chair of Operation Poppy on Oroville Dam, chair of the Chico Area Bicentennial Commission and a board member of the Chico City Light Opera.

Warrens has also been a major contributor at CSU, Chico, where she received a fine arts, diversified bachelor’s degree in 1975. She has served as chair and board member for the University Foundation, chair and member of the University Advisory Board, chair of the Laxson Auditorium Refurbishing Project, founding board member of the Chico Museum Association, and a member of the Friends of Court Theatre. She has established a scholarship in the Department of Theatre and annually supports the University’s Bach Festival and the North State Symphony. The Albert E. Warrens Reception Center, formerly the President’s Mansion, was refurbished with the generous assistance of Warrens, and is named for her late husband, Albert E. Warrens, a long-time Chico physician and supporter of CSU, Chico.

A recipient of numerous awards, Warrens has been honored with the Excellence in Community Service Award by the Chico Economic Planning Corporation, in 2007; the Chico State Distinguished Alumna Award for the College of Humanities and Fine Arts, in 1999; the Pat Lappin Award for Community Service by the Chico Chamber of Commerce, in 1981; and the Community Service Award by the Rotary Club of Chico, in 1978.

The May 25 commencement will include bachelor’s degrees awarded to undergraduates from the colleges of Communication and Education (including Liberal Studies), Humanities and Fine Arts, International and Interdisciplinary Studies and Natural Sciences. During Commencement exercises Saturday, May 24, undergraduates from the colleges of Agriculture, Behavioral and Social Sciences, Business, and Engineering, Computer Science and Construction Management will receive degrees. On Friday, May 23, CSU, Chico will host commencement for master’s graduates.