|Cal State Fullerton Sociology Professor Dies at 67
Nanjundappa Was President of California Faculty Association's CSUF Chapter
Sept. 5, 2007 :: No. 27
Sociology professor Gangadharappa Nanjundappa, a 35-year faculty member at Cal State Fullerton, died Monday at Scripps Memorial Hospital in La Jolla, where he was being treated for a heart condition. He was 67.
Known throughout the Cal State Fullerton campus as Nanjun, the professor had served the past 12 years as president of the CSUF chapter of the California Faculty Association and member of the CFA Chapter President’s Council.
“Cal State Fullerton has experienced a tremendous loss,” said CSUF President Milton A. Gordon. “In all of his activities, working in CFA and on faculty issues, Dr. Nanjundappa always exhibited an all-encompassing vision and always had the university at heart. He was a wonderful colleague, and I will really miss him.”
While serving as CFA chapter president, Nanjundappa frequently traveled to Sacramento to meet with legislators, governors and other political leaders to advocate on a number of issues related to education and to ensure funding when state budgets were being developed. He was a statewide CFA board member from 1991 to 2001 and served for five years as CFA statewide associate vice president, south.
“Nanjundappa worked tirelessly to support high-quality educational opportunities for students and working conditions for faculty,” said Diana Guerin, chair of the CSUF Academic Senate and professor of child and adolescent studies. A member of the Academic Senate since 1994, he served on numerous committees and was the faculty’s representative to the Associated Students Board of Directors from 1995-1999.
“He was not afraid to ask the hard questions, but he always did so in a civil and collegial manner. His role models were Martin Luther King and Mahatma Gandhi, and he kept their pictures above his desk in the CFA Office,” said Guerin. “Throughout the years, we worked together on a number of senate resolutions and issues. Nanjun was a model member of the Academic Senate; he prepared well in advance of meetings, consulted with other senators and administrators and was ready to debate the tough issues. He may also have the record for the greatest number of announcements made at our Academic Senate meetings. We have lost a truly dedicated member of our Titan family.”
Professional organizations that Nanjun also was affiliated with include the International Union for Health Promotion and Education, American Sociological Association and Population Association of America.
Colleagues talk about his untiring and unceasing efforts on behalf of faculty and his willingness to be available to them, day or night, to provide encouragement, counsel and assistance.
“Although most members of the faculty equate Nanjun with CFA, which seemingly became his enduring legacy, those of us in the Sociology Department continued to look on him as a colleague and a friend,” said Dennis Berg, professor and chair of sociology. “While we know he had friends, acquaintances and colleagues throughout the university, we in Sociology like to think that we were his true home. It was in this department that he was hired, where he taught and was tenured, and where he participated with our faculty on a regular basis. He was a valued friend and professor, and we will miss him dearly.”
Nanjundappa taught courses on human ecology, the sociology of occupations, social and population problems, social science research methods and techniques of population analysis.
His numerous campus honors included awards for contributions to student leadership, to establishment of the Women’s Studies Minor Program and for outstanding service to the Associated Students Board of Directors.
Born in India, Nanjundappa immigrated to the United States in 1968 to further his university education and received his Ph.D. in sociology from the University of Georgia.
He liked to joke that during those years, he would always carry a bottle of hot sauce with him because he found American food too bland after growing up eating spicy Indian dishes.
While his political activities often bought more attention than his research efforts, Nanjundappa was a dedicated scholar, publishing papers and participating in research projects ranging from studies of diabetics, social network ties, acculturation and health beliefs among Mexican American clinic patients, to demographics and socio-psychological factors associated with health issues and domestic violence.
His scholarly articles were published in Social Science and Medicine: An International Journal, International Migration Review and Sociological Spectrum, among others. In addition, he participated in professional meetings, traveling to France, Hungary, Italy, Japan, Norway and throughout the United States during his academic career to chair conferences and present research findings.
Nanjundappa also was active in local Democratic politics, where he served as a member of the Orange County Democratic Central Committee. He ran for the state Assembly in 2000 and 2002 as the Democratic candidate for the 72nd District.
He lived in Placentia and is survived by his daughter, Gita.
A campus memorial service for Nanjundappa is scheduled from 3 to 5 p.m. Friday, Oct. 5, at the Golleher Alumni House at Cal State Fullerton, 800 N. State College Blvd., Fullerton.
||Valerie Orleans, Public Affairs, 657-278-4540 or firstname.lastname@example.org
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