J. Burton Vasche
Dr. J. Burton Vasche was named the Founding President of California State University, Stanislaus on May 13, 1960. A native of Oakdale and graduate of San Jose State University with a doctorate from Stanford University, he had previously served as Chief of the Division of State Colleges and Teacher Education and an Associate State Superintendent of Public Instruction.
Vasche spearheaded the opening of then Stanislaus State College at the Stanislaus County Fairgrounds while planning took place for construction of the new campus on Monte Vista Avenue. With the primary focus of the new college initially on training teachers, Vasche directed the hiring process for the first faculty members as well as key administrators and staff before the first day of classes for upper division students on September 19, 1960.
The college celebrated a number of firsts during Vasche's two years as President, establishing the faculty constitution and by-laws, holding its initial commencement in January 1961, selecting the Warriors as the school mascot, publishing the debut issue of the student newspaper The Signal, holding dances and concerts, starting up athletic teams, and celebrating the first Warrior Day.
After dedicating himself to the startup of the college, Vasche's term as President was cut short in 1962 when he was stricken with cancer. He resigned on May 12 and died May 27 at the age of 51, turning over the duties to Dean of Students Gerard Crowley who was named Acting President. In recognition of the first President, the University later honored him with the naming of the Vasche Library.
Gerard J. Crowley
Gerard Crowley stepped in as Acting President for a little more than a year after the death of Founding President J. Burton Vasche. He joined Stanislaus State College in 1960 as one of its charter administrative staff members, serving as Executive Dean until his retirement in 1983. He died on December 17, 2007.
Crowley guided the college through its temporary quarters phase at the Stanislaus County Fairgrounds while taking the lead for planning of the new Monte Vista Avenue campus which opened in 1965. During his time as President and then as Executive Dean, Crowley was involved in the planning of the new campus, coordinated construction of the first buildings, and oversaw development of additional facilities and buildings as enrollment grew. Other buildings constructed during his years at Stanislaus State included the Fine Arts Complex, Science Building, University Union, and Warrior Arena.
A native of Boston, Crowley previously served as a facility planner with the Department of Education and taught Naval Science at Stanford University where he did post-graduate work. He earned his Bachelor's Degree at Loyola University, Baltimore and Master's Degree in Education at Boston University.
Dr. Alexander Capurso, a research associate at the CSU Chancellor's Office and Professor of Creative Arts at San Francisco State University, was selected by CSU Trustees as President on March 11, 1963. He started as the new President on July 1 after Crowley had served for more than a year as Acting President.
Capurso had previously taught at Syracuse University where he was Director of the School of Music, University of Kentucky where he had earned his degrees in music, Ohio State University, University of Kansas, and University of Wisconsin. An accomplished violinist who played with the Philadelphia Symphony Orchestra, Capurso was instrumental in the development of the CSU Stanislaus Fine Arts Complex that houses the Departments of Theatre, Music, and Art. He had a vision for the campus as a center for the arts in the region.
Capurso guided the College through its move from the Stanislaus County Fairgrounds to the new Monte Vista Avenue campus where classes were first held in Fall 1965. The first freshmen and sophomore students were admitted at the new campus over the next two years, and the College began to develop more academic programs at its new home. Ground was broken during his term for the first student housing at Yosemite Hall on Geer Road. Capurso presided over the first Commencement ceremonies held on the new campus. He also instituted administrative changes and spearheaded expansion of Stanislaus State's academic programs and faculty.
After stepping down as President, Capurso conducted research and taught music at Cal Poly, San Luis Obispo where he served as Chair of the Music Department until retiring in 1977. He died at age 75 on August 6, 1985.
Dr. Carl Gatlin became President on September 1, 1969, playing a leadership role in expansion of the University's science programs. Gatlin came to CSU Stanislaus from Drexel University in Philadelphia where he served as an academic administrator after starting out as a civil engineering professor. He had previously taught petroleum and mechanical engineering at the University of Texas and worked in the Texas oil fields with his father.
A graduate of the University of Southern California, Gatlin received his Doctor of Philosophy Degree from Pennsylvania State University.
The University's new Science Building was completed in 1972 during his term and the Stockton Center was established in a downtown Stockton building in 1974. Plans for more campus growth progressed to include approval of the gymnasium, cafeteria, and health center. Gatlin was a strong proponent of building up the college's business program to include computer and data processing training as part of a balanced liberal arts academic curriculum. The college added the winter term to its academic calendar in 1972 at the urging of Gatlin. He sought to boost enrollment and budget numbers at the young college at a time when some state officials were talking about closing it down to save state funding. Gatlin battled with faculty union leaders who repeatedly called for his dismissal over personnel hiring and retention moves.
After leaving Stanislaus State, Gatlin taught at Stanford University. He died of a heart attack at age 52 on January 22, 1977.
A. Walter Olson
Dr. Walter Olson became the college's fifth President on June 15, 1975, serving for nine years until his retirement in June 1985. He cited his long service as President and health-related reasons for his decision to retire at the age of 61.
During Olson's tenure as President, academic programs at the Stockton Center on the San Joaquin Delta College campus were expanded, an inter-active television network for class offerings was added, partnership programs with area school districts and community colleges were formed, Warrior Arena and an adjoining pool along with a new track and field facility were completed, and the Amphitheatre was installed.
Olson previously served at Western Illinois University where he was Dean of the College of Arts and Sciences. He served as Chair of the Department of Geography at San Francisco State before that and earned his Ph.D. in Geography and Economics from Syracuse University's Maxwell Graduate School, Bachelor's Degree at the University of Washington, and Master's Degree at the University of Puget Sound.
John W. Moore
Dr. John W. Moore served as the sixth President, succeeding the retiring Walter Olson on August 1, 1985, and leading the campus to university status in 1986 when it became California State University, Stanislaus. He served until June 1992 when he resigned to become President of Indiana State University.
Moore, previously a Vice President at Virginia's Old Dominion University who earned his Doctorate from Pennsylvania State University, led CSU Stanislaus through a strong period of growth that was curtailed by state budget cutbacks in his final year. Enrollment moved past the 5,000 mark and facilities were improved and expanded. A number of improvements in campus facilities were achieved, including the start of an expansion of the University Union complex. The University focused on improving its relationship with the community, and the athletic program moved up from NCAA Division III to Division II as competition levels toughened. Moore's last year in office was marked by serious budget cutbacks during a state budget crisis that forced the University to make staffing and program cuts.
Moore stepped down as President of Indiana State in 1999 and continued to teach in the university's School of Education and School of Business. He resides in Terre Haute, Indiana.
Lee R. Kerschner
Dr. Lee Kerschner, previously a California State University Vice Chancellor, was appointed Interim President by then CSU Chancellor Barry Munitz in July 1992 after John Moore resigned to accept the Presidency at Indiana State University. He served for two years until Marvalene Hughes became President in August 1994.
Kerschner devoted much of his focus to leading the University through a healing period as it attempted to rebound from a series of earlier state budget cutbacks that forced staffing and program cutbacks. Ground was broken for the first on-campus student housing project, the Residential Life Village, during his tenure.
Since his service to CSU Stanislaus, Kerschner has continued to work as a Special Assistant to the President at the California Maritime Academy, as a consultant with the National Policy Center for Higher Education, and as Special Assistant to the CSU Chancellor. His previous administrative service included Executive Vice Chancellor of the Minnesota State Colleges and Universities, Executive Director of the California Commission for Review of the Master Plan for Higher Education, and Executive Director of the Colorado Commission of Higher Education. Kerschner holds a Ph.D. in Political Science from Georgetown University, a Master's Degree from The John Hopkins University, and a Bachelor's Degree from Rutgers University.
Kerschner, his wife, Helga, and family reside on a ranch in the California Sierra Nevada Mountain community of Weimar.
Dr. Marvalene Hughes became the eighth President of California State University, Stanislaus in August 1994 and served through June 2005. She has served as President of Dillard University in New Orleans since that time. Hughes previously served in a number of high-level administrative positions at major research universities, including the University of Minnesota, University of Toledo, Arizona State University, and San Diego State University.
As President, Hughes guided the University through a time of significant growth and campus development. Enrollment nearly doubled to more than 7,800 students, $135 million in new buildings and facilities were added, the first on-campus student housing was built, the University's Stockton Center moved to a permanent home now known as University Park, new academic programs were added in Agricultural Studies, Criminal Justice, Nursing, Social Work, and Fine & Performing Arts, national rankings were attained, the College of Business Administration achieved a long-sought accreditation, and more than $25 million in private funding was raised. She initiated international partnerships with universities in the Palestinian Territory, Ethiopia, South Korea, Portugal and the Azores, Taiwan, Thailand, and France.
Hughes served as a Commissioner on the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) Accrediting Commission, Chair of the Women Presidents of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities (AASCU) from 1999-2001, and Co-Chair of the African-American Presidents of AASCU since 2000. Hughes was selected by her colleagues to give the President-to-Presidents Lecture at the 1999 AASCU Annual Meeting in Puerto Rico.
Hughes earned her Ph.D. in Counseling and Administration from Florida State University, after studying at Tuskegee University, New York University and Columbia University. She has pursued post-doctoral study at three Harvard University Summer Institutes. Her career reveals a deep commitment to academic excellence, community service and partnerships with public/private sectors.
Dr. Hamid Shirvani became the ninth President of CSU Stanislaus in July 2005. Since his arrival, he has spearheaded a number of innovative changes and improvements, and enrollment has grown significantly to nearly 9,000 students. Under his leadership, CSU Stanislaus gained national recognition from the highly acclaimed Princeton Review as one of 165 "Best Value Colleges" and one of the "Best 366 Colleges" in the United States, a ranking shared by only 10 percent of colleges and universities nationwide.
One of Shirvani’s early actions was a reorganization of the CSU Stanislaus academic program from three to six colleges in order to provide for greater efficiency and accountability. Additionally, a number of new graduate level programs are being added during his presidency, including a Doctor of Educational Leadership degree that will give CSU Stanislaus its first doctorate program in 2008; an Executive Masters of Business Administration degree; and master's degree programs in Ecology and Sustainability, Nursing, and Genetic Counseling.
During his tenure, Shirvani has increased fund-raising at CSU Stanislaus by 75 percent while decreasing related expenses by 35 percent. This achievement led to a net revenue gain in fund-raising of 453 percent in just one year. As a result, the University has been able to provide additional scholarships to students, build state-of-the-art facilities, enrich academic programs, and improve student services.
An internationally known scholar of architecture and urban design and planning, with an extensive record of publications including three major books, Shirvani is also the recipient of many national and international awards and honors such as the Seikyo Culture Award of Japan in 1999 and the President of the Year award by the California State Student Association. He has been in higher education for more than 28 years, with 20 of those years in senior executive leadership and management posts across the United States. He has also served on the faculties of State University of New York at Syracuse and Pennsylvania State University. Shirvani holds a Ph.D. and M.A. from Princeton University, an M.L.A. from Harvard University, and a M.S. from Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute.