Photo by Dave Woody
Dr. Betty Kwan Chinn after receiving an honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Cal Poly Humboldt.
Betty Kwan Chinn became the first person in Cal Poly Humboldt's fresh history — and just the 13th in the campus' 109-year history — to receive an honorary doctorate degree Saturday.
During the ceremony, Cal Poly Humboldt President Tom Jackson Jr. and Provost Jenn Capps spoke of Chinn's decades of services in Humboldt County working to lift up those in need, detailing how a simple mission to feed homeless residents has blossomed into an organization that runs a day center, a shelter and a transitional housing project. Chinn, who was forced out of her home as a child during China's Cultural Revolution, left homeless and ostracized and never attended school, recalled at the ceremony how she used to bring homeless children to attend then Humboldt State University commencement ceremonies in an effort to show them what was possible and the value of education.
"Ms. Chinn is exemplary of service before self and upholds the university's vision of a more just and equitable society," Jackson said in an announcement of Chinn's honor. "Turning her personal hardships into a passion, she has spent the past four decades working to restore hope and dignity to those experiencing homelessness."
Chinn received the degree during the ceremony for the 2022 College of Professional Studies graduates. Local photographer — and Cal Poly Humboldt lecturer — Dave Woody was at the ceremony for the Journal
and shares the below slideshow.