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Two honorary degrees awarded at Commencement

Greg Sarris and Larry Brackett 2024 recipients

Greg Sarris

Dr. Greg Sarris, chairman of The Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria, and Larry Brackett, who owned and operated one of the largest real estate firms in the region, both will receive Doctor of Humane Letters degrees at the 2024 Commencement. 

Sarris was the Endowed Chair in Native American Studies at Sonoma State for 18 years, until 2022, and in 2023 was named Distinguished Chair Emeritus. Under his leadership, the Federated Indians of Graton Rancheria has provided Sonoma State University nearly $8 million. This significant support has renovated the learning center at SSU’s Fairfield Osborn Preserve, located on the tribe’s native homeland; funded the annual Summer Bridge program; endowed a professorship in Native American Studies; and brought an important collection of art by Joan Baez to the university. Sarris also served as a board member for the Green Music Center.

Sarris was born and raised in Santa Rosa, graduating from Santa Rosa High School. He attended Santa Rosa Junior College, then transferred to UCLA, where he graduated with his bachelor’s degree in English. He went on to receive his master’s and Ph.D. degrees from Stanford University. He was a full professor of English at UCLA from 1989 to 2001, then became the Fletcher Jones Professor of Creative Writing and Literature at Loyola Marymount University from 2001 to 2005.


Larry Brackett

Larry Brackett is well-known throughout the North Bay as the owner of Frank Howard Allen Realtors, one of the largest real estate firms in the region, which he and his wife, Brennie, purchased in 1989 and sold in 2013.

A fourth-generation San Franciscan and a 1958 graduate of UC Berkeley, Brackett was an investment counselor for more than a decade before returning to school to get his teaching credential, which he received at Sonoma State University in 1972. After a decade of teaching, he and his wife tried their hands at real estate.

He has been a visionary through his support of the Santa Rosa Symphony, the Green Music Center, 10,000 Degrees, local health clinics, and many other organizations.

Read more from Insights / Spring 2024