Joan Robinson-Berry

Honorary Degrees


California State Polytechnic University, Pomona​

Joan Robinson-Berry is a 1982 graduate from the California State Polytechnic University, Pomona College of Engineering and a deeply engaged alumna. She is a distinguished leader in the fields of engineering and aerospace, a passionate advocate for diversity in her profession and a tireless supporter of causes that improve lives and communities. She has been lauded for her accomplishments in science, technology and mathematics; her honors range from induction into Cal Poly Pomona’s Engineering Hall of Fame to inclusion in Black Enterprise magazine’s "Most Powerful Women in Corporate America" to recognition from members of Congress.

As vice president of engineering, modifications and maintenance for Boeing Global Services, Ms. Robinson-Berry is responsible for fleet engineering services; modifications to aircraft; logistics products and support; aircraft on ground services; forward base deployment with operators around the world; and maintenance, repair and overhaul facilities in San Antonio, Jacksonville and Shanghai. She also serves on the Enterprise Engineering Functional Leadership Team.

Throughout her long career with Boeing, during which she became the first African American woman to become program manager of a multibillion-dollar commercial airplane program, Ms. Robinson-Berry has displayed exceptional technical and personal skills, navigating a male-dominated profession with fortitude, focus and grace — attributes that were forged in the most difficult of circumstances.

The third of nine children, she helped raise her younger siblings after her father, a police officer, was shot in the line of duty. She lost a brother to violence and a sister to lupus. She and her husband then raised her sister’s three children and three of their own. These experiences, and others, infused in her the perseverance, faith and confidence that nurtured her remarkable career trajectory. Yet, Ms. Robinson-Berry does not define her achievements by title or honors.

"Success, for me," she says, "is not driven by your personal accomplishments, but what you have left on this planet to make life for all human beings better and how you’ve been able to influence and shape the well-being of others."

In recognition of all she has done in her profession, in her community, in her philanthropy and in her advocacy to prepare the next, diverse field of engineering professionals, the Board of Trustees of the California State University and California State Polytechnic University, Pomona are proud to confer upon Ms. Joan Robinson-Berry the honorary degree of Doctor of Science.