Robert N. KleinRobert N. Klein
Scientific Entrepreneur/Humanitarian

Humboldt State University

Robert N. Klein, JD, has made distinguished contributions to science, medicine, civic affairs and higher education. He is an outstanding role model for all Californians.

With noteworthy farsightedness, Mr. Klein, a Stanford Law School graduate, realized the potential of stem cell biology and the need for public funding. As chief author of Proposition 71, the Stem Cell Research and Cures Initiative, and chair of the "Vote Yes on 71" campaign, he generated a mandate from California voters to provide $3 billion for regenerative cures. The California Institute of Regenerative Medicine (CIRM) was created in 2004 and Mr. Klein currently serves as Chairman Emeritus of its governing board.

CIRM's impact goes beyond basic research. The institute is one of the largest funders of embryonic stem cell research in the world, and is the source of major breakthroughs in diseases ranging from leukemia to macular degeneration, from HIV to infertility. CIRM has directly supported more than a dozen studies currently in the FDA clinical trial process, with more to come. Major research centers have been built, leading scientists recruited and collaborations established. CIRM has been a catalyst for the regenerative medicine industry, with California as its epicenter.

In 2009, CIRM announced its Bridges Program to educate undergraduates in stem cell sciences, with the intent of creating a workforce for California's growing stem cell industry. More than $17 million was awarded in the first funding round, with 10 California State University campuses selected from 11 initial recipients. The Humboldt State University CIRM Bridges program provides students the tools, training and confidence to succeed in careers in regenerative medicine. It also funds research seminars, general education coursework and community outreach activities.

None of this would have been possible without Mr. Klein. He has shared his dream of improving the human condition through regenerative cures with CSU students throughout the state, and has inspired hundreds to pursue careers in the field. He serves on the Board of Chancellors of the International Juvenile Diabetes Research Foundation. A retired U.S. Air Force captain, he is president of Klein Financial Corporation. He has received many awards including TIME's "100 Most Influential People in the World," Scientific American's "The Scientific American 50" and Biotechnology Industry Organization's "2010 Biotech Humanitarian Award."

In recognition of his many achievements and his profound impact on today's science students, the Board of Trustees of the California State University and Humboldt State University are proud to confer upon Robert N. Klein the honorary degree of Doctor of Laws.