Younes Nazarian

Honorary Degrees

California State University, Northridge​

Younes Nazarian moved to the United States with his wife, Soraya, and their family in 1979, fleeing religious persecution and the Iranian Revolution. A successful entrepreneur in Iran, Mr. Nazarian became co-owner of U.S.-based Stadco, a precision components manufacturer for the aerospace industry. He also was an early investor and board member of Qualcomm, a leader in wireless telecommunications research and development.

Motivated to give back to the community and country where they were welcomed, the Nazarians founded the Y&S Nazarian Family Foundation, with a focus on supporting education through a multi-pronged approach in academia, public policy and the arts. Mr. Nazarian’s connection to California State University, Northridge began when his son, David Nazarian, attended the College of Business and Economics, graduating in 1982. Following years of loyal support, Younes and Soraya Nazarian made a transformative gift through their foundation to CSUN in 2017, toward what is now named in their honor, The Younes and Soraya Center for the Performing Arts. The gift was one of the largest in California State University history and remains the system’s largest single gift in support of the arts.

Mr. Nazarian’s passionate support of education and the arts is evidenced through many initiatives in the United States and Israel. In particular, the foundation helped establish University of California, Los Angeles’ Israel Studies Program, creating an endowment that led to the Younes and Soraya Nazarian Center for Israel Studies. The foundation also founded the Nazarian Pavilion in the Doheny Library at the University of Southern California and helped build the Beit Midrash at the Milken Community High School. In Israel, the foundation has supported the Jerusalem Academy of Music & Dance and the revitalization of libraries at Hebrew University, Sapir Academic College and the University of Haifa. The Nazarians have also sponsored RAND Corporation’s public policy research on energy alternatives. The foundation has partnered with the Mayo Clinic and the MSR/Sheba Medical Center in Israel to advance medical education. Mr. Nazarian contributes his expertise on numerous boards, including the Jerusalem Academy of Music and Dance, the University of Haifa, the RAND Center for Middle East Public Policy and the Los Angeles Philharmonic Association. In 2011, Mr. Nazarian received the Ellis Island Medal of Honor, celebrating individuals who “have made it their mission to share their wealth of knowledge, indomitable courage, boundless compassion, unique talents and selfless generosity with those less fortunate.”

In recognition of his many accomplishments and contributions to the university and the community, the Board of Trustees of the California State University and California State University, Northridge are proud to confer upon Younes Nazarian the honorary degree of Doctor of Humane Letters.