2015 Honorary Doctorate
Justice Marvin R. Baxter
Justice Marvin R. Baxter, a Fresno State alumnus and the only lifelong San Joaquin Valley resident to become an associate justice of the California Supreme Court, grew up on a family farm in Fowler. While earning a degree in economics at Fresno State, he was active in student government, served as Fresno State student body president and was presented an Outstanding Senior Award.
He graduated from Hastings College of the Law in 1966 and began his legal career as a Fresno County deputy district attorney in 1967, serving for two years before moving into private practice. He then became an associate and later a partner in the Fresno law firm of Andrews, Andrews, Thaxter, Jones and Baxter, where he practiced civil law for 13 years.
While practicing law in Fresno, Justice Baxter was active in bar association activities, served on the boards of directors of the Fresno County Bar Association, Fresno County Young Lawyers Association, Fresno County Legal Services Inc. (Legal Aid), and California Young Lawyers Association, and was president of the Fresno County Bar Association and Fresno County Young Lawyers.
He also devoted considerable service to his alma maters, Fresno State and Hastings College of the Law. He was a board member and president of the Fresno State Alumni Association and of its Trust Council. He is a Director Emeritus of Hastings College of the Law.
In January 1983, Justice Baxter became appointments secretary to Gov. George Deukmejian and was the governor’s principal adviser on all gubernatorial appointments made to the executive and judicial branches of government. He served in this capacity for six years and assisted in the appointment of more than 700 judges.
Justice Baxter was appointed and confirmed as an Associate Justice of the Court of Appeal, Fifth Appellate District, headquartered in Fresno, in December 1988. He was elevated to serve as an Associate Justice of the Supreme Court of California in January 1991 and re-elected in 2002. He retired in January 2015. In recognition of his achievements, his outstanding leadership, and enormous contributions locally, regionally and nationally, the Board of Trustees of the California State University and California State University, Fresno are proud to confer upon Marvin R. Baxter the honorary degree of Doctor of Laws.