Honorary Degrees
1918 - Present

Ernesto  Cortes , Jr.
Doctor of Laws  2000
Status: conferred

Ernesto Cortés, Jr. has dedicated his life to public service and the common good by working to make government more responsive to the poor and politically disenfranchised. He has contributed to the political empowerment of low-income and disadvantaged people as a grassroots community activist and labor organizer. He founded Communities Organized for Public Service and serves as regional director of the Industrial Areas Foundation, a nonprofit organization that networks community-based organizations committed to revitalizing local democracies. His credo, "Never, ever, do for people what they can do for themselves," guides his efforts to help citizens improve services ranging from schools to sanitation. Because of his success at the local level, Mr. Cortés has become a widely emulated international leader in the growing movement to solve social problems through individual action and local self-help. For his dedication to the public good by making political institutions more responsive and inclusive, and for his achievements giving hope and power to those on the margins of society, Southern Methodist University is honored to confer upon Ernesto Cortés, Jr. the degree of Doctor of Laws, honoris causa.