Campus: CSU Fullerton -- April 21, 2004

Ruby Gerontology Center, Water Hazard Research At Cal State Fullerton Earmarked for Federal Funds

Congress included Cal State Fullerton in its most recent omnibus appropriations bill, earmarking about $600,000 for efforts expected to benefit both the campus and the community at large.

Close to $500,000 have been set aside for the university’s Ruby Gerontology Center, where various equipment upgrades are planned. Another $100,000 will support research in the College of Engineering and Computer Science to develop water hazard mitigation systems as part of the nation’s efforts to curb terrorism.

The university’s inclusion in the omnibus bill, approved by Congress and signed by President George Bush earlier this year, represents the university’s first such appropriation since the early 1990s, when the campus received a peace dividend to help retrain engineers. The new federal funding is expected to arrive this spring.

Congressman Edward Royce, a Cal State Fullerton graduate (B.A. business administration ’77), requested the earmark on behalf of his alma mater.

“We are appreciative of the efforts of Congressman Royce and many others who have supported our efforts over the years,” said President Milton A. Gordon. “This funding will enable the Ruby Gerontology Center to continue to provide broad-based education and training that directly affects older adults. The water hazard mitigation research is expected to serve as a model for the nation in protecting our water sources.”

The university’s Ruby Gerontology Center, which opened in 1989, is popular with both campus and community members.

“On any given day, we have 500 to 600 older adults taking advantage of the services and programs we offer,” said Pauline Abbott, director of the Institute of Gerontology at the Ruby Gerontology Center. “The $500,000 we receive from this appropriation will allow us to upgrade Mackey Auditorium and other areas of the center so we can better meet the needs of our senior population.”

An upgrade of the audiovisual system is planned to make it possible for the center to send recorded programs to older adults who may not be able to attend in person. It also will enable workplace conferencing for special educational programming. In addition, a state-of-the-art survey response system will be installed, replacing the original system, in order to allow those attending programs to comment on topics being presented or respond to survey questions.

The water hazard research mitigation funding earmarked for Cal State Fullerton addresses an area of national importance, noted Raman Unnikrishnan, dean of the university’s College of Engineering and Computer Science.

“The water infrastructure system in the United States consists of more than 76,000 dams and reservoirs, thousands of miles of pipes and aqueducts, 168,000 drinking water facilities and about 16,000 publicly owned wastewater treatment facilities,” he said.

The $100,000 appropriation will further the research of Mallela S. Prasada Rao, assistant professor of civil and environmental engineering, who is developing sensors to identify substances placed in the water supply that could harm drinking water.

“Designing sensors that can identify a wide array of chemicals in water and installing them at key points in the distribution network will be a necessary first step in enhancing the safety of our water supply,” said Prasada Rao.

Media Contacts: Pauline Abbott, Institute of Gerontology, at (714) 278-4886 or

Valerie Orleans, Public Affairs, at (714) 278-3614 or

Mallela S. Prasada Rao, Civil and Environmental Engineering, at (714) 278-3525 or

Dave Reid, Public Affairs, at (714) 278-4855 or

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