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Channel Islands

​​Dr. Joe I. Mendoza has dedicated his life to advocating for the education of low-income children, and the underserved, often invisible, migrant population.

Since 1970, Dr. Mendoza’s efforts have focused on foster youth, children of migrant and farmworkers, low-income and homeless children, and teen parents. His work has touched local, regional, state and national levels and included legislation, workshops and the implementation of programs that promote higher education among the migrant population. He has worked directly with students and their families, encouraging them to embrace their history and culture, and envision themselves within the educational pipeline. Dr. Mendoza has worked collaboratively with parents, teachers, bus drivers, administrators and legislators to remove barriers that inhibit educational progression and enact initiatives that increase retention and graduation.

Dr. Mendoza is a tremendous supporter of California State University Channel Islands and was instrumental in developing two CSUCI programs aimed at assisting migrant students. The first program is the Migrant Student Leadership Institute, which focuses on building leadership, STEM and writing skills in high school sophomores and juniors from across the state, and developing a university-going culture that addresses barriers to higher education specific to this population. In partnership with Oxnard Union High School District, the second program is CSUCI’s Migrant Summer College Program, which allows migrant students to spend a summer school session with CSUCI students, and includes workshops on financial literacy, financial aid, developing writing, reading, math, analytical and study skills and helps students gain an understanding of how to get into, and succeed, in college.

Dr. Mendoza is an active partner with CSUCI’s Conference for Social Justice in Education and regularly partners with university faculty, staff and administrators in connecting with the migrant student population. Dr. Mendoza has served in a number of roles from teacher to superintendent both in the United States and abroad. Currently he is the director of the Special Populations Educational Support Department for the Ventura County Office of Education. During his almost six decades in education, Dr. Mendoza has inspired and motivated thousands to become educators, or to invest their time and efforts in education.

In recognition of Dr. Mendoza’s extraordinary efforts that have had a profound impact on children, his fierce advocacy for the education of the poor and underserved, and in tribute to his remarkable life, the Board of Trustees of the California State University and California State University Channel Islands are proud to confer upon Dr. Joe I. Mendoza the honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters.​