Al Camarillo was born and raised in the South Central Los Angeles community of Compton. He entered the University of California at Los Angeles as a freshman in 1966, and continued his education at UCLA in the Ph.D. program in U.S. History, where he received his doctorate in 1975, and where his dissertation was nominated that year as one of the best Ph.D. theses in the nation in American history.
Camarillo was appointed to the Faculty in the Department of History at Stanford University in 1975, a position he still holds. He is widely regarded as one of the founding scholars of the field of Mexican American history and Chicano Studies, and has recieved numerous awards, the most recent being the Miriam Roland Prize for Volunteer Service for 2005.
Further information about Al Camarillo is available from his website.