A Fresno physician, pioneer and activist received Fresno Pacific University’s first honorary doctorate during the university’s Spring 2019 Commencement Saturday, May 4. Fitzalbert “Bert” Marius, M.D., was the first African American to perform open heart surgery in Fresno, and was involved in over 11,000 such surgeries during a 50-year practice before retiring at 91 years old. He and his team also became the first African American interns at Fresno County General Hospital (now Community Medical Center). Born in Panama and raised in Harlem, Dr. Marius first trained as a tailor before served with the 725th Medical Sanitary Company in the Pacific Theater during World War II. He graduated from Howard University College of Medicine in 1954. Dr. Marius is also an accomplished musician, poet, author, painter, golfer and teacher who remains active in the community through speaking, writing and working with young people and is part of Hometown Heroes and Central Valley Honor Flight. Pictured, from left, are FPU President Joseph Jones, Ph.D., Board of Trustees Chair Joshua Wilson and Marius as Marius is presented with his doctoral sash.