Campus: CSU Northridge -- March 26, 2004
$100,000 Scholarship Endowment Created in Honor
of Retired CSUN Professor
The family of retired Cal State Northridge engineering professor John
Guarrera has created a $100,000 scholarship endowment in his honor at
Guarrera, 82, who served as director of the Center for Research and
Services in the College of Engineering and Computer Science, retired
Family and friends created the endowment late last year as a tribute
to Guarrera and his wife Jo’s tireless efforts, during his nearly
30 years at the university, to ensure that students had every opportunity
to get first-hand experience with the latest in technology so that they
had the skills to succeed in engineering careers.
Guarrera noted that his nephew, Jon Ferrara, a CSUN alum, made a contribution
of $75,000 that started the endowment. Guarrera and his wife decided
to add an additional $25,000 to round out the endowment to $100,000.
“My nephew made the largest, initial contribution, I guess to
honor his old uncle,” Guarrera said. “I funded it further
because I feel that it is important to provide help to any student trying
to get a college education.”
S.T. Mau, dean of the College of Engineering and Computer Science, said
Guarrera’s impact at the college has yet to be fully realized.
“Even in his retirement, John serves as a volunteer advising me
on matters related to the Center for Research and Services, which he
headed for 30 years,” Mau said. “This endowed scholarship
represents the Guarrera family’s never-ending love for and dedication
University officials credit Guarrera with helping to save the College
of Engineering and Computer Science more than 30 years ago, when the
CSU Chancellor’s Office threatened to eliminate it in an effort
to streamline the campus.
Guarrera, then president of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic
Engineers, the largest professional society in the world, rallied professional
support for the college and was instrumental in convincing the CSU Board
of Trustees that Cal State Northridge needed a College of Engineering
and Computer Science, said dean emeritus Rick Ratcliffe, who headed
the college from 1981 to 1992.
Ratcliffe said the experience with the Chancellor’s Office convinced
former dean Charles Sanders that the college needed to strengthen its
ties with local industrial and professional communities, and in 1976
he created the Center for Research and Services. Guarrera was appointed
its first director.
“Through more than two decades serving in that capacity, John
was always ready to assist faculty throughout the campus in getting
grants and in finding ways to administer those grants to the advantage
of the faculty, college and university,” Ratcliffe said. “He
brought with him significant professional experience and thus contributed
to strengthening our academic program through his own participation.
In addition, through his efforts, many senior professionals in the surrounding
community have joined our program as guest lecturers and adjunct faculty.”
Guarrera played a key role in developing a design program in the college
that enables students to work with industry professionals, providing
hands-on experiences that make what they learn in the classroom relevant.
The first Guarrera scholarship is expected to be awarded next year to
a student in the College of Engineering and Computer Science.
Contact: Carmen Ramos Chandler, (818) 677-2130, firstname.lastname@example.org