By Heather Lyn Wood
Alameda entrepreneur, civic leader and education advocate Richard Sherratt will receive an honorary doctorate Saturday from California State University East Bay.
Sherratt, a third-generation Alameda resident, graduated from the university (then Cal State Hayward) in 1970 with a bachelor's degree in recreation. The president and CEO of Alameda-based Ballena Technologies Inc., he has founded more than 15 companies over his career.
Sherratt is proud of his business accomplishments but has always made time for public service as well. He served on the Alameda City Council from 1975 to 1983, including a term as vice mayor from 1981 to 1983.
Sherratt has always been passionate about education and sees athletics as a potential gateway to personal and academic success for young people.
"Athletics, with its opportunities for youngsters to compete, has great educational value," Sherratt said in an interview. "It teaches sportsmanship, teamwork and skills for relating to others that are not always supported enough in our society. And for some young people, athletics is their opportunity for higher education."
Sherratt puts these values into practice by serving on the board of directors of the Alameda Boys and Girls Club and volunteering as a baseball coach for Alameda High School. Coaching in particular allows him to combine his desire to help kids with his personal love of baseball (he played for the Alameda High Hornets and the Cal State Pioneers and in 2002 was inducted into the Cal State East Bay Athletic Hall of Fame).
Sherratt has maintained a lifelong connection to his alma mater and the California State University system, which he holds in high regard. He serves as chair of the Cal State East Bay Educational Foundation and has been instrumental in facilitating a successful educational exchange between Cal State East Bay and the Fukuoka Institute of Technology in Japan. In 2009, he and his wife established the Richard and Susan Sherratt Athletic Scholarship Endowment to provide financial support to Cal State East Bay student athletes.
Sherratt views higher education as key to individual empowerment and the improvement of modern society. "People need to realize that the future of our country lies in education, K-12 and higher," he said. "It is so important that we as a society value education, not only for its impact on students but also on the economy. Education helps us make decisions. It opens our eyes."
Sherratt will receive his honorary doctorate during ceremonies for the College of Business and Economics at 4 p.m. Saturday. The event will take place at Cal State East Bay's Hayward campus, located at 25800 Carlos Bee Blvd. in Hayward.