Began in 1984
Retired in 2003
Bev and I came to California State University Sacramento in 1984. Probably the basic question for us is what brought us to San Francisco State in 1958. The answer is we came after a very long conversation with Glenn Dumke, then the new president of SF State. Dumke talked about the changes underway in the California State Colleges and particularly San Francisco State. It was an interesting conversation. Two weeks later I had a phone call from Dumke offering me a faculty position. Only well into the conversation did I realize that he was talking about a position as an associate dean and director of admissions as well as teaching government. I responded that I would need to talk with Bev and would call him either way.
At that time, January 1958, I had just finished the prelims for the Ph.D. in political science at Chicago, and I was exploring dissertation topics. I had recently read a book by Lyman Glenny, then a member of the Government Department at Sac State, about higher education politics and interface with state and national governments. I selected as a topic “The Government of Public Higher Education in California;” I knew that the material I would need, library resources, interviews, etc. would be available. And the years unfolded from that and culminated in our move to Sac State in 1984 after 26 years at the San Francisco, Chico, and Dominguez Hills campuses (with one brief year in the Chancellor’s Office to begin the implementation of the Master Plan admissions standards).
The primary position I held at Sac State was the role of president. I taught a section of Government 1 from time to time in my role as president, and I found teaching to be helpful in my administrative position and learning about the life of the University.
As a political scientist, I had long thought that the presence of the University in the state capitol offered an unusual opportunity to involve students and faculty in public policy and state government; what can be the role of the state university in the state capital? The passage of yet another successor to Proposition 13 in June 1984, reducing the budget of the legislature by 1/3rd, created an opportunity as the legislative leadership asked us to take responsibility for the legislative fellows programs. The Center for California Studies, created in 1982 – 83 by Betty Moulds and John Syer, provided a perfect vehicle and the two initial fellows programs (Senate and Assembly) provided the occasion to bring funding to the University and the Center. First a senator phoned to ask if the University could take over the Senate Fellows program – without funding. This was a real opportunity; I spoke with the Chair of the Government Department, then Betty Moulds, who was supportive. Next I called the Chancellor, then Ann Reynolds, told her we wanted to accept the Senate Fellows program and would not ask for additional funding – we would find the money; she said ok – go (I might add that there was subsequent substantial bureaucratic resistance lasting for some years). Sac State took the program, located it in the Center for California Studies, raised sufficient funds, and the Senate Fellows program became a part of the University. Six months later Willie Brown phoned; would the University do the Assembly Follows program - Brown had money to fund it. Then a few months later Governor Deukmejian, whom I had known for years, phoned and asked if the University could develop an Executive Fellows program, modeled on the White House Fellows; he proposed full funding, including planning money for a year to build the program and recruit the first group of fellows. These programs were successful and beneficial to the University, and have been winners for the CSU over the years.
I recite the story to suggest that full immersion into the life of the campus occurred quickly. Bev and I had 19 very full and really wonderful years at Sac State. The strength of the University, really any healthy university, is in its faculty and staff and in the quality and commitments of students. I am deeply indebted to the many individuals with whom I worked over our 19 years on the campus. There were days one could give back, but the overall experience was a wonderful one. I needed to listen. I needed to not only understand a campus culture, but also be a part of it – you are always with people, and that is one of the joys of the job. As I look back, I know that I needed to like my job, and I did – though there were days….
During the 19 years we – Bev and I – were “on campus,” we were involved in many activities and with many people. Everything was not always perfect, but that is the way of the real world. I did not begin life or my career to be a college president, and the majority of faculty would not choose to be a president. From the days finishing my degree at the University of Chicago my desire was to be a serious faculty member. The career simply just fell together.
In retirement the big project was “the book,” The Peoples’ University: A History of the California State University. Bev and I worked together many hours going through boxes of papers at the Bancroft Library and at the Archives of the California State University on the Dominguez Hills campus. I wrote the first version in longhand; Bev put it in the computer, and we went through always at least four versions before it went to the publisher. The book was published in January 2010 by the Institute of Governmental Studies at UC Berkeley.We have our family in California. Our youngest daughter and her husband (both SLO graduates) are in Sacramento, along with their four grown children and three young grandchildren (our three great-grandchildren). Our oldest daughter is a high school mathematics teacher and she and her son, a college student, live in Salinas. Our “retirement” has been busy – sometimes we think too busy – but we find time for trips and activities we enjoy and find interesting. This September we will be on a cruise to the Black Sea beginning in Athens and ending in Venice and we will visit in particular Istanbul and Yalta. Most important of all, Bev and I will celebrate our 56th wedding anniversary in October. We especially enjoy our many continuing friendships at Sac State.