Jose Bernardo

Central Valley Community Leader

California State University, Stanislaus

Jose Bernardo has distinguished himself throughout his life as a highly respected community leader in Stockton and California's Central Valley. As a life's servant to the spirit of the civil rights movement, Mr. Bernardo worked tirelessly and played a major role in an unprecedented community effort to organize and build the Filipino Center Plaza.

In the late 1960s, the Associated Filipino Organizations (AFO) rallied the community behind a low-income housing and retail complex to house displaced seniors and businesses. Mr. Bernardo had been given a month to come up with $10,000 from the community to secure a federal loan. By tapping into the spirit of civil rights and federal funding for affordable urban housing, the community group was successful. Established in 1972, the center promotes educational and cultural awareness and provides both life-saving and life-enhancing services and support for the underserved, disadvantaged, and senior citizens in the greater Stockton area. Mr. Bernardo is a silent hero who merits recognition for his life's work and devotion to the Filipino community.

A recognized leader, his talents, vision, and values are reflected in his dedicated service as a member of the Governing Board of the Stockton Unified School District, where he served admirably for 12 years and led the fight for all students to receive a quality education. He served on the Civil Service Commission and Equal Opportunity Commission of San Joaquin County.

Mr. Bernardo served in the U.S. Navy in China and during the Korean War. He received his Associate's Degree in engineering from Stockton College and attended the University of California, Berkeley, and the Industrial Training Institute. He is a small-business owner who has successfully operated JB Construction & Engineering for more than 30 years. Though nearly 82 years old, he is still active with his company, going into work daily and still pounding nails at various construction sites.

In recognition of his personal achievements and meritorious service, and as a tribute to his dedication to the objectives and ideals of the California State University, the Board of Trustees of the California State University and California State University, Stanislaus are proud to confer on Jose Bernardo the honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters.