EastBay Today

Posted May 5, 2017

Doctoral Honors

43rd treasurer of the United States Rosie Rios will accept an honorary Doctor of Laws degree at Cal State East Bay’s commencement ceremony June 11

Rosie Rios, 43rd treasurer of the United States, will receive an honorary doctoral degree at Cal State East Bay's June 11 commencement ceremony, where she will also address the Class of 2017.
courtesy of rosie rios

Cal State East Bay will confer an honorary Doctor of Laws degree to Rosie Rios, an influential civic, business and government leader whose contributions to numerous communities have had a transformative impact on the East Bay region, university, State of California and country at large. Rios will receive the honorary doctoral degree during Cal State East Bay’s commencement ceremony June 11 at 10 a.m. on the university’s Hayward campus. 

“Rosie Rios’ extraordinary and ongoing career in the private and public sector has already established a legacy of significant achievement to public service,” President Leroy M. Morishita said. “Ms. Rios exemplifies the values of commitment to service and meaningful lifework Cal State East Bay inspires in each of our students.” 

Among her many achievements, Rios leaves behind an enduring legacy from her time as a public servant and 43rd treasurer of the United States. Due to her initiative and continued efforts, a woman will appear on U.S. currency for the first time in more than 100 years, when abolitionist Harriet Tubman is unveiled on the $20 bill in 2020. Rios was also unanimously confirmed into the position of treasurer by the U.S. Senate following her contributions to the Treasury/Federal Reserve transition team at the height of the country’s 2008 financial crisis. Upon her departure last year, she received the Hamilton Award, the highest honor bestowed by the U.S. Department of the Treasury for exceptional leadership.

A first-generation Mexican-American, Rios is one of nine children raised by a single mother in Hayward, California. After attending Moreau Catholic High School, she went on to graduate with honors from Harvard University. She began her career in real estate finance before turning to the public sector, where she spent more than a decade overseeing economic development projects throughout the East Bay in communities such as Oakland, Fremont, San Leandro and Union City. Rios has also served the public as a trustee of the Alameda County Employee Retirement Association, and as a board member of the California Association of Local Economic Development and the Spanish-Speaking Unity Council in Oakland. Before her government appointment, Rios was managing director of investments at MacFarlane Partners, an investment firm focused on urban property markets.

In July 2009, Rios was appointed 43rd treasurer of the United States, a role that entailed overseeing the Bureau of Engraving and Printing, the United States Mint and Fort Knox. She was also a key liaison to the Federal Reserve. Rios’ responsibilities as treasurer included leading 4,000 employees and eight facilities, and maintaining responsibility for the entirety of U.S. currency and coin production, saving more than $1 billion in taxpayer dollars in her first five years.

Since resigning in 2016, Rios has accepted a position as a visiting scholar at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University. She also recently launched Empowerment 2020, which advocates for women and girls. Its first initiative, Teachers Righting History, helps teachers raise awareness of important female figures in American history. 

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