Mary Elizabeth "Tipper" Gore

Honorary Degrees

California State University Channel Islands​

Ms. Mary Elizabeth "Tipper" Gore is most widely known for her role as second lady of the United States, in which she served from 1993 to 2001. Much of her life has been dedicated to championing human rights and serving as an advocate for mental health, the homeless, LGBTQ rights, physical fitness and more.

As second lady, Ms. Gore served as mental health policy advisor to President Clinton, special advisor to the Interagency Council on the Homeless and the national spokesperson for the Back to Sleep SIDS Awareness campaign. She was also instrumental in launching the National Mental Health Awareness campaign, a nationwide nonpartisan public education effort that encouraged people to recognize, discuss and seek help for mental health problems, and created a more accepting environment for mental health.

A long-time advocate for the LGBT community, she represented the Clinton administration in the Washington, DC AIDS Walk in 1993, making history as one of the highest ranking public officials ever to participate in the event. She has also been actively engaged with the LGBT communities in Nashville, Tennesee and Santa Barbara, California. Ms. Gore earned her bachelor's of arts degree in psychology from Boston University and her master's of arts degree in the same field from Vanderbilt’s Peabody College. She is an accomplished author, having published and contributed to several books on homelessness, family values and awareness of explicit material in music and film.

A former newspaper photographer, she remains an active professional photographer and has been an avid drummer since childhood, recently playing alongside music legends Willie Nelson and Herbie Hancock.

In recognition of the extraordinary impact of her achievements as a public servant, activist and advocate, which have created lasting change in the lives of millions across the country, the Board of Trustees of the California State University and California State University Channel Islands are proud to confer upon Ms. Mary Elizabeth "Tipper" Gore the honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters.