A Message from Our Honorary Degree Recipient

Sandy Gooch

On December 18, 2023, Sonoran University of Health Sciences recognized a pioneer in the nutrition-centered natural foods industry and a champion for the cause of the healing power of nature. Before the commencement ceremony where she received the degree, Doctor of Humane Letters (Honoris Causa), Sandy Gooch sat down and shared a message of reflection on her career, the industry she changed, and her passion and love for naturopathic medicine and Sonoran University.

In 1977, Sandy Gooch opened Mrs. Gooch’s Natural Food Store, the largest market of its kind in the country specializing in natural food and health-related items. She was also the first woman to develop a chain of supermarkets in America, with seven markets in the greater Los Angeles area. Gooch’s stores were among the first to carry products without harmful chemical additives,  preservative agents, artificial flavorings, artificial colorings, artificial sweeteners, refined white sugar, refined white flour, caffeine, chocolate, hydrogenated oil, isolated synthetic MSG, irradiation, bovine growth hormones, or GMOs using recombinant DNA technology.

Mrs. Gooch has served on the Women’s Leadership Board at Harvard University’s John F. Kennedy School of Government since 2000, Gooch was appointed as the first secretary to its executive committee. The board is an international group of more than 100 women using their influence and resources to develop and empower women worldwide, support and recognize women as leaders, and encourage and support public policy positions that have a critical impact on women worldwide.