Campus: CSU Sacramento -- August 30, 2002
CSUS President Gerth to Retire
Donald R. Gerth, the longest serving president at California State University,
Sacramento, today announced his retirement as president. He will leave
the presidency in the summer of 2003.
Gerth said most of all it has been the people he has worked with who
have made the job enjoyable. Gerth said, "It is the people who
give us our strength and make us what we are. There are more opportunities
for all people, for all backgrounds, to absorb new knowledge and to
grow strong together from their experiences at CSUS. We have taken significant
steps to reflect - in our students, faculty and staff - the diversity
that is California. That diversity makes all our lives richer and brings
Gerth was appointed as CSUS president in November 1983 and took office
on July 1, 1984. He has spent 44 years in higher education within the
California State University system where he began in 1958 as a member
of the department of government and associate dean at San Francisco
State. Since then he has served the system in numerous capacities and
is now its senior administrator, having served in presidencies at CSU
Sacramento and Dominguez Hills for a total of 27 years.
Gerth began working at 13 and has been employed since. He left high
school at age 16 and entered the University of Chicago under an early
entrance program and graduated at 18. He went on to earn two additional
degrees there in political science with an emphasis in Asian politics.
He took his first teaching job as a substitute high school math instructor
in 1947 in order to earn money for graduate study.
Prior to joining the CSU system he had been on the admissions staff
at the University of Chicago and served with World University Services
in Southeast Asia. He served in the U.S. Air Force as an officer in
intelligence and finance during and after the Korean War.
Prior to taking the two presidencies, Gerth served as a faculty member,
in student services, as a dean, and as an academic vice president.
Gerth's 18 years on the Sacramento campus have resulted in a number
of accomplishments including:
- The campus has experienced significant structural growth. In his
tenure buildings, laboratories and related facilities have been built
and modernized through nearly $100 million in public and private funding.
Newly constructed buildings provide more than 1.2 million square feet
of space. Placer Hall, for example, is a unique partnership between
the campus and the U.S. Geological Survey.
- Gerth oversaw the growth and development of seven Colleges and
the addition of a School of the Arts.
- He created programs such as the Center for California Studies,
designed to serve the entire state as a resource for history, culture
and public policy in California and the Center for Public Policy Dispute
Resolution to assist government agencies in mediated, less costly,
settlements of issues.
- He led efforts to improve global education through work with UNESCO,
the United Nations University, and as president of the International
Association of University Presidents.
- Working with the Sacramento Area Trade and Commerce Organizations,
Gerth developed programs to study and stimulate the economy of the
- Gerth has served as chair of United Way and on the boards of SACTO
and the Chamber of Commerce and initiated the University's participation
as a founding member of the Northern California World Trade Center,
where he is the chair of the board.
- He led new academic initiatives including a joint doctoral program
with UC Santa Barbara in public history, a master's degree program
in public policy and administration, and the first master's degree
in software engineering in a public California university. Additional
doctoral programs are under development.
- Fundraising began at the University began in earnest under Gerth,
who oversaw the successful $54 million 50th anniversary campaign.
Contributions and non-state funds have continued to grow. In 1999-2000
the University acquired approximately $11 million in voluntary support
from private sources and $58 million in grants and contracts.
Gerth has served on numerous boards both international and local. He
is a past president of the International Association of University Presidents,
and currently serves on the board and as vice chair of the United Nations
University. He also holds honorary doctorates from two Russian universities.
Post retirement he will continue at the University in an emeritus role.
He said he plans to teach, write about public policy and higher education
in California, as well as internationally, and to remain active in higher
The process of finding his replacement will begin when the chair and
the CSU Board of Trustees appoint a trustee committee for the selection
of the president. The committee will be composed of the board chair,
three trustees designated by the committee chair and the chancellor.
There is also an advisory group of representatives from the campus.
Media: Assistance is available by contacting the CSUS
public affairs office at (916) 278-6156.