As a young boy, George Deukmejian was considered polite, good natured and studious. He worked through high school wrapping meat and making coat hangers. He attended Siena College where he majored in sociology, managed the college’s baseball team, and picked up the nickname “Duke.” He went on to earn his law degree at St. John's University. Soon after completing law school, he was drafted to serve in the US Army, where he was assigned legal duty in Paris.
At the end of his tour of duty, Deukmejian returned to the US and established a law practice in Southern California. He was also very active in a number of community organizations including the Red Cross, Boy Scouts, and Lion’s Club. In 1962, Deukmejian was elected to the Assembly in which he served until 1967. He served as the State Senator for Los Angeles from 1967 to 1979 and as State Attorney General from 1979 to 1983. Deukmejian was elected Governor in 1983 and served two terms. His accomplishments included promoting sound economic policies that led to the creation of more than 2.8 million new jobs; making education a priority for the state; and creating a workfare program.
After serving as Governor, Deukmejian remained active in the community by serving on special commissions. In May 2008, he received an honorary degree of Doctor of Laws from California State University, Long Beach for his political and civic endeavors.