Ronald W. GregoireRonald W. Gregoire


California State Polytechnic University, Pomona

Ronald W. Gregoire is the embodiment of the American Dream: He grew up in a solidly blue-collar family, enrolled at Cal Poly Pomona, put himself through college, parlayed an internship into a full-time job, developed formidable skills as a certified public accountant, and then seized the opportunity to become an entrepreneur in the automotive world. He teetered between success and failure at his first dealership before distinguishing himself among his peers through hard work and ingenuity.

Mr. Gregoire is a role model not only for new college graduates and aspiring entrepreneurs, but for anyone who seeks to blend career fulfillment and community involvement. He cultivated a lifestyle of helping others, adhering to a belief that doing well also means doing good: "I'm a believer that if life has been good to you, you have an obligation to give back," he says simply.

For years, his auto dealerships provided vans to the Los Angeles Police Department for its community youth services program, and he steadfastly assisted cancer support organizations and youth athletic leagues. At the pinnacle of his professional success, Mr. Gregoire decided to change careers, trading in his car dealerships for a job that required significant responsibility but not one penny of income. His new title: Philanthropist.

In retirement, Mr. Gregoire became a major supporter of the arts, lending his time, treasure and talent to the McCallum Theatre in Palm Desert. His commitment to helping others is also manifested in his support for his alma mater, where he has served on numerous advisory councils, helped lead the university's major fundraising initiative, and stepped up as the lead donor for a new three-building complex in the College of Business Administration.

"Ron is one of those individuals who quietly makes a huge difference," Cal Poly Pomona President J. Michael Ortiz says. "He leads by example and gets things done." In recognition of his accomplishments as a businessman and philanthropist, the Board of Trustees of the California State University and California State Polytechnic University, Pomona are proud to confer upon Ronald W. Gregoire the honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters.