California State University, Chico

Rafael Sanchez has been of outstanding service to the Latino community, advancing its economic development in both the United States and Mexico. An alumnus of California State University, Chico, he has brought his expertise in financial matters not only to his banking career and business ventures but also to his extensive engagement in community service. All his work has been marked by a commitment to financial accountability, organizational and personal integrity and ethical behavior.

For more than 20 years, Mr. Sanchez has served in leadership positions in Chambers of Commerce at the local, state, national, and international levels. He has created programs at the local and state levels to assist in leadership development, training, and growth. On the national level, as Finance Chair and member of the Board of Directors of the United States Hispanic Chamber of Commerce, he has led the organization's financial restructuring, managed successfully its $8 million budget and eliminated a significant deficit.  He voluntarily manages its various assets, to the benefit of members of the 250 local and statewide chambers that the national organization represents. He is a founding board member of the National Association of Hispanic Real Estate Professionals and served ably as the founding chair of the editorial board of Latino Journal, the nation’s only Latino public policy magazine.

Highly regarded as a “work-out” specialist, Rafael Sanchez has accumulated more than three decades of experience in the financial industry, working particularly with small and medium-sized businesses. He is widely respected for promoting trade between the United States and Mexico. Creator of the Mexico-USA Business Conference and Expo, he has successfully led many trade meetings between American and Mexican businesses and chaired the California-Mexico Trade Summit for three years.

In addition to his active professional career, Mr. Sanchez has served on numerous civic boards and received many awards for his civic and community involvement.  His commitment to education and community well-being are reflected in his appointment to Sacramento’s Education Commission and his 10 years’ of service as a member of the Sacramento Police Advisory Council. The son of immigrants, he is a positive role model whose contributions illustrate the value of newcomers to the economic and civic life of the United States.

In recognition of his lifelong dedication to and leadership in economic development, within the Latino community and across borders, the Board of Trustees of the California State University is proud to confer upon Rafael Sanchez the honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters.