San Bernardino

One of California’s most impactful philanthropists and foundation leaders, Julia I. Lopez has made a profound difference in the lives of countless students via her work with College Access Fund and, ultimately, the College Futures Foundation. Under her leadership, the foundation awarded nearly $20 million in grants annually and had an endowment of approximately $500 million. A widely respected leader with broad and deep experience in philanthropy and government, Ms. Lopez began serving as the president and CEO of College Futures Foundation (then known as College Access Foundation of California) in 2008. She led the organization through sweeping changes that shifted its strategy from a grantor of student scholarships to an organization focused on addressing the systemic challenges facing the college-going and degree attainment rates in California, especially among historically underrepresented communities. Through this process, she helped change policies, practices, systems and institutions to better support student success throughout the state. College Futures has also convened educators from K-12 schools, community colleges and public four-year institutions in California for regular conversations about how best to address issues like college remediation.

Before joining College Futures, Ms. Lopez served as senior vice president of the Rockefeller Foundation. In that leadership role, she provided oversight, management and evaluation of the foundation’s strategic program grantmaking, which awarded an average of $150 million per year. In her earlier work for Rockefeller, she served as director of the foundation’s Working Communities program, addressing urban poverty and education in the United States.

Ms. Lopez has lent her talents to the California State Legislature, the New Mexico Department of Criminal Justice and the Department of Social Services for the City and County of San Francisco where, as general manager, she oversaw programs serving the city’s most disadvantaged residents. She has also served on the board of directors of REDF (formerly the Roberts Enterprise Development Fund). Ms. Lopez currently serves as a member of the Statewide Leadership Council of the Public Policy Institute of California and as a commissioner for the Western Association of Schools and Colleges Accrediting Commission for Senior Colleges and Universities. She is a graduate of Newton College of the Sacred Heart (now Boston College) and holds a master’s degree in public policy from the Goldman School of Public Policy at the University of California, Berkeley.

In recognition of her many accomplishments and extensive contributions to the university and community, the Board of Trustees of the California State University and California State University, San Bernardino and its Palm Desert Campus are proud to confer upon Julia I. Lopez the honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters.