California State University, Northridge will confer an honorary Doctor of Humane Letters on Bill Allen, president and chief executive officer of the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation, for his contributions to the financial health of the region, as well as his longtime support of the university.
Allen will receive his degree at 8 a.m. on Thursday, May 22, during the commencement ceremony for the David Nazarian College of Business and Economics on the Delmar T. Oviatt Library lawn.
“I am pleased we can honor Bill Allen for his achievements in the field of policy, economic development and regional leadership and advocacy,” said CSUN President Dianne F. Harrison. “Bill Allen is recognized as a civic, business and thought leader for our region and for California. He is well known and highly regarded nationally and internationally for his leadership and expertise in economic development. He has also been a long time supporter, ally, collaborator, champion and friend to CSUN. For that, we are grateful.”
In addition to his work with the development corporation, Allen is the 2012 board chair of Film L.A., vice chair of the Economic Alliance of the San Fernando Valley and board secretary for the Valley Presbyterian Hospital. He also is a member of the board of directors of the Weingart Foundation, International Economic Development Council, California Stewardship Network, Regional Economic Association Leaders of California Coalition, Los Angeles Area Chamber of Commerce, Los Angeles Coalition for the Economy and Jobs, Unite L.A. and the Rossier School of Education at the University of Southern California.
Active in regional economic development for more than a decade, Allen was the first CEO of the Economic Alliance of the San Fernando Valley, from 1996-2000, and, in 2000, was named California’s Civic Entrepreneur of the Year by the California Center for Regional Leadership. While at the Economic Alliance, Allen raised more than $5 million and assembled an unprecedented public-private partnership involving all of the leading cities, colleges and business organizations in the San Fernando Valley. Under his guidance, the alliance launched programs to expand international trade, improve local education and workforce development and developed viable solutions to regional transportation challenges.
In addition to his work with numerous civic boards and councils, Allen also has been active in the recruitment of new leaders for Los Angeles institutions. As a member of the Los Angeles Board of Police Commissioners’ Blue Ribbon Committee, he helped draft the criteria for the search that brought Chief William Bratton to the Los Angeles Police Department. He chaired the search committee that selected Mark Drummond as chancellor of the Los Angeles Community College District, served on the Los Angeles Unified School District’s Citizen Advisory Committee that drafted the criteria for the selection of former LAUSD Superintendent Roy Romer, and was a member of the California State University chancellor’s search committee that selected Jolene Koester as president of CSUN. Koester was CSUN’s fourth president serving from 2000 to 2011.