Dale Carlsen Receives Honorary Doctorate

Recognized for his success in business and philanthropy, Carlsen presented with honorary doctorate in humanities from his alma mater

May 20, 2013 – Sleep Train is proud to announce its CEO and founder Dale Carlsen will receive an honorary doctorate in humanities from Sacramento State on May 24, 2013 at the university’s commencement ceremony at Sleep Train Arena.

“Our honorary doctorate degree recognizes significant achievements and meritorious and outstanding service to humanity. Dale’s amazing story of success reflects the highest ideals of a Sacramento State education. His entrepreneurial spirit and commitment to helping others, including his support of foster youth, are inspiring future students and making lives better in our communities,” said Alexander Gonzalez, Sacramento Sate President.

Carlsen, a Sacramento native and graduate of Sacramento State, founded Sleep Train in 1985, just one year after graduation. He has since grown the employee-owned mattress retailer from one store and a few employees to a multi-branded company with more than 280 stores and nearly 1,500 employees. Today, Sleep Train is the West Coast’s number one mattress retailer and number four nationwide. Sleep Train is also the only employee-owned mattress retailer in the country.

Since the company was founded, Carlsen has dedicated his philanthropic efforts to providing support for children and youth in his community. The award-winning Sleep Train Foster Kids program has collected thousands of essential items for local foster children, including shoes, clothes, and school supplies, and has raised more than $2 million.

“Dale Carlsen and Sleep Train have had a tremendous impact on raising awareness, funds and supplies for the thousands of foster youth in California,” said Jennifer Harper, Director of Development and Marketing at Alternative Family Services (AFS), one of Sleep Train’s partner foster organizations. “Dale’s passion and commitment to genuinely improve the lives of foster youth can be seen at every level throughout the company. This dedication has provided significant support to our organization, which all of the staff, foster parents and foster youth at AFS are truly thankful for. ”

Carlsen was nominated by a campus committee of students, faculty, administration and alumni and chosen as a final nominee by the university president. His nomination was then vetted by the Chancellor’s Office, and the California State University Board of Trustees chose him as the final award winner.