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Bioscience industry leader Guillermo Zuñiga receives honorary doctorate at Cal State LA Commencement

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LOS ANGELES, May 26, 2023 ~ On May 26, 2023, Guillermo "Willie" Zuñiga, an alumnus of Cal State LA and a leader in the bioscience industry, was honored with an honorary Doctor of Letters during the university's 75th anniversary Commencement ceremony.

Zuñiga, a Glendora resident and emeritus president of Grifols Biologicals LLC, has dedicated his career to supporting education and workforce development at Cal State LA and in the communities it serves. During the ceremony, CSU Board of Trustees Vice Chair Jack B. Clarke Jr. praised Zuñiga for his dedication to the health and professional development of his community and for his collaborative efforts for the betterment of students in the Los Angeles area.

Zuñiga grew up nearby Cal State LA in El Sereno and lived with his family in a one-bedroom house. He attended Wilson High School before starting his career in 1979 as an entry-level manufacturing technician at Alpha Therapeutic Corporation across from the university. He attended night classes at Cal State LA and received a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration from the College of Business and Economics in 1986.

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Throughout his more than four-decade career, Zuñiga has worked with Los Angeles Trade Technical College, Los Angeles Valley College, Los Angeles Mission College, and Citrus College to support their chemical technology, process technology, and biotechnology programs to recruit manufacturing technician candidates and to keep top talent in the region. He has also served on the executive board of the Los Angeles County Economic Development Corporation and the city of Los Angeles' Workforce Investment Board. In 2018 he received the LA BioStar Award from Cal State LA BioSpace for his contributions to the regional bioscience industry; he was named Cal State LA's Alumnus of the Year in 2022.

Under Zuñiga's leadership Grifols collaborated with Cal State LA to offer its Summer Science Academy at Cal State LA which has trained more than 80 high school students in microbiology, chemistry, and molecular work since 2015.

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After accepting his honorary doctorate during Commencement 2023 Zuñiga delivered an uplifting address to graduates of the College of Business and Economics recounting memories growing up nearby Cal State LA as well as advice for them going forward: "I want to thank this university," he said. "It provided me a means to finish my education... Us Golden Eagles are pretty good at this you know." He encouraged them to present their best selves each day; always have backup plans; find ways to pay it forward; help others; enjoy going to work every day; take care of their families; provide others with a better quality of life; be fortunate individuals; have privilege working in amazing industries; make good livings that allow them take care of their families; become first-generation college graduates; become successful examples of upward mobility - all things he had achieved himself throughout his career.

"Congratulations," he said as he concluded his remarks "and thank you for listening."
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