Fresno State will award honorary doctorates to acclaimed artist Judy Chicago and longtime local educator Antonio “Tony” Petrosino as part of Fresno State’s 111th kickoff season.
Honorary doctorates are awarded on behalf of the California State University and Fresno State system in recognition of excellence and extraordinary achievement in significant fields of human endeavor that embody the goals and ideals of the CSU system.
Both will be recognized during the College of Arts and Humanities opening ceremony, scheduled for 12:30 p.m. on Friday, May 20, at the Save Mart Center.
Chicago will receive an honorary Doctorate of Fine Arts. Petrosino will receive an honorary doctorate in human letters.
Internationally acclaimed artist Judy Chicago founded the nation’s first feminist art program as a member of the art faculty at Fresno State College in 1970. The program brought together female art students to overcome prevailing views about the time that women couldn’t produce great art. The success of the program later prompted the California Institute of the Arts to invite Chicago to create a similar program for its university.
Chicago’s innovative works of art and large-scale collaborative projects include her best-known work titled “The Dinner Party,” a multimedia representation of women’s contributions to Western culture completed in 1979 (CBS Sunday Morning featured Chicago in a segment highlighting her as the “founding mother of feminist art” in January). Later works have addressed questions of birth and creation in the “birth project”; the construction of masculinity in “PowerPlay”; the horrors of genocide in the “Holocaust Project,” on which she collaborated with her husband, photographer Donald Woodman; and more recently, mortality and humanity’s relationship to the destruction of the Earth in “The End: A Meditation on Death and Extinction”.
Her work as an artist, mentor, teacher, writer and leader has changed the art world, the lives of her students, artistic collaborators, audiences and the communities where she has taught, worked, exhibited and lectured. Her creative spirit and dedication to social justice continue to motivate her to make art that speaks to a global audience.
Antonio “Tony” Petrosino
Antonio “Tony” Petrosino came to Clovis as a teenager in 1947 from Coperchia, Italy with his family. He graduated from Fresno State in 1953 with a Bachelor of Arts in Spanish and Education; he also received a teaching degree. He worked as an educator for the Fresno Unified School District for 40 years. He and his wife, Louise, are long-time supporters of Fresno State, Valley Children’s Healthcare and Clovis Unified School District, embodying the value of serving others.
Along with others, he helped establish the St. Paul Newman Center to serve the Catholic community in Fresno State.
In the mid-1960s, he started and taught Fresno State’s first Italian language classes and recently helped establish the Italian Studies curriculum.
After his wife passed away in 2004, Petrosino set out to honor her memory by continuing his legacy of service. He has dedicated more time to Fresno State by volunteering at the College of Arts and Humanities, the Kremen School of Education and Human Development, the Fresno State Alumni Association Board, and the Bulldog Foundation. He received the Arthur Safstrom Award for Services Rendered in 2019 for his outstanding record of service at Fresno State.
In 2021, Petrosino established the Antonio and Louise Petrosino Family Italian Studies Endowment and the Antonio and Louise Petrosino Family Italian Studies Scholarship.