President Milton A. Gordon at the podium during the Tribute Gala celebrating his legacy. Photo by Karen Tapia
President Gordon’s Lifelong Legacy
Video Tribute Honors a Life’s Work in Higher Education
Editor's Note: The 329 guests and CSUF luminaries who attended "A Tribute to President Milton A. Gordon" at the Bowers Museum on Saturday
Dec. 10, were welcomed with a video tribute summing up the rich legacy of the university's fourth president. The narration for the video follows below, along with a link to the video itself.
A Life Well Lived
Milton A. Gordon's crowning achievement of his life's work — 21 years as president of Cal State Fullerton — will live on forever: in the lives of the students whose minds he's opened, in the facilities he's imagined and built, and in the relationships he's developed and nurtured with so many people they cannot be counted or quantified.
A Man of Vision
Inaugurated in 1992, President Gordon began his tenure at Cal State Fullerton in 1990. Since then, the university has grown from more than 25,000 students on a single campus to more than 36,000 on the main campus and branch campuses.
A video, My Life's Work, framed the legacy of President Milton A. Gordon as part of the December 10th tribute at the Bowers Museum.
As the student population increased, the need for more and better facilities also grew. President Gordon met the challenge head on, presiding over more than $600 million in new and revitalized facilities, including the visually arresting Gastronome dining facility for student residents. A true student advocate, he also created more academic opportunities, upping the number of degrees available to students to pursue their life's work.
President Gordon's efforts have paid off, culminating in the recent U.S. News & World Report ranking placing Cal State Fullerton No. 6 among its peers, its highest ranking ever.
An Advocate for Diversity
While these achievements are impressive, Gordon's greatest success — and the cornerstone of his life's work — is what he sees every day on campus: students of many ethic and cultural backgrounds working, studying and socializing together.
With his commitment to cultural diversity, President Gordon has much to be proud of.
Cal State Fullerton has repeatedly made the lists of institutions that award the most baccalaureate degrees to minority students.
A Partner in Raising Funds . . . and Awareness
As state funding declined over the years, President Gordon took action to increase private support and public support, overseeing the most successful fundraising era in the university's history, including alumnus Steven G. Mihaylo's $30 million gift, the largest ever to Cal State Fullerton.
Under his watch, a landmark $6 million grant from the National Science Foundation was awarded to mathematics professor David Pagni to change the way math is taught in local schools.
President Gordon also launched Front & Center, the university's signature community outreach and donor recognition event, and he's presided over the creation of numerous fundraising partnerships and programs, including the Guardian Scholars and expanded existing programs, such as the President's Scholars.
An Ambassador for Cal State Fullerton
An enthusiastic fan of Titan Athletics, President Gordon has cheered on the Titan baseball team to two national championships and has twice accompanied the team to the White House for ceremonies following their College World Series wins.
President Gordon has also carried Cal State Fullerton's message beyond the campus borders, reaching out to the community, and serving as a global ambassador for Cal State Fullerton, attracting both international educators and students who enrich the Fullerton experience.
A Man Honored and Honorable
During his tenure, President Gordon received innumerable awards for his life of service, the most recent from his alma mater, the Illinois Institute of Technology, who honored him with their Professional Achievement Award.
A man of great integrity, President Gordon has also been honored by organizations such as the American Association of Hispanics in Higher Education and San Francisco Court Appointed Special Advocates.
But perhaps his greatest honor has been presiding over 21 commencement ceremonies and the graduation of more than half of all Cal State Fullerton degree-earners. In his own words:
"Being president of this great university has been one of the most exciting and professionally satisfying experiences in my professional career. I love this university, take great pride in what we have accomplished together and know a bright future lies ahead for Cal State Fullerton."