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CSUF Executive Receives Civil Rights Award

January 9, 2006
by Mimi Ko Cruz

For his contributions to human rights, Donald S. Castro, special assistant to President Milton Gordon, was awarded a Civil Rights Award from the California Association of Human Relations Organization (CAHRO).

The award was presented Monday, Jan. 9, at the Embassy Suites Hotel in Sacramento during CAHRO's annual conference. CAHRO is a collection of county and city human relations commissions, nonprofit human rights groups, government and community organizations, anti-hate crime networks and social justice coalitions.

Castro "is so deserving of this award," said Silas H. Abrego, associate vice president for student affairs. "Throughout his professional life, he's always been involved in ensuring that every young person -- especially the low-income, minority student -- who wants a higher education, have that opportunity."

In his current position, Castro has won million-dollar grants that will fund programs he created to help such students learn about, prepare and finance a college education. One of his programs brings resources, such as tutoring, civics classes, leadership training and social and medical services, to a poor community of Fullerton.

"Don Castro is on the cutting edge of helping the university to better serve the low-income, ethnically diverse residents of Fullerton," said Rusty Kennedy, executive director of the Orange County Human Relations Commission. "His role as the volunteer leader of this Cal State Fullerton-community initiative will make a difference in the lives of many young people."

Castro "has been able to branch out into the community, starting at the grass roots level, and that is really important for an institution like ours," said Rosamaria Gomez-Amaro, director of diversity and equity programs. "He is helping kids be ready for school, empowering the community to move in the direction of higher learning. His level of dedication to service and work for equitable access in postsecondary education go over and beyond his paid responsibilities."

A Fulbright scholar and holder of a doctorate in history from UCLA, Castro first joined Cal State Fullerton in 1993 as dean of the School of Humanities and Social Sciences. Castro has held a variety of administrative and academic positions within the California State University, including vice president for academic affairs at Cal State Dominguez Hills; interim associate vice president for graduate studies, research and international programs at Cal State Northridge; university dean of instruction, dean of undergraduate studies, chair and professor of history at Cal Poly Pomona; and associate director of the Office of International Programs for the CSU.


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