Donald S. Castro, left, and Victor Rojas, right congratulates retired CSUF staffer Judy Byrnes last year at her retirement reception.

Honoring His Mentor

Victor Rojas pays tribute to Donald S. Castro by participating in fundraising walk

September 4, 2007

By Mimi Ko Cruz

The late Donald S. Castro, special assistant to Cal State Fullerton President Milton A. Gordon, was more than a supervisor to Victor Rojas.

“He was my beloved boss, friend and mentor,” said Rojas, who served as Castro’s assistant and project coordinator. “He believed in my abilities and gave me an opportunity to learn how to be an administrator.”

In honor of Castro’s memory, Rojas will participate Sept. 16 in the American Heart Association’s 27th Annual Orange County Heart Walk in Irvine.

Castro died of a massive heart attack June 11 while in Mexico. The 66-year-old administrator, described by many as a passionate and compassionate man who championed human rights and equal opportunities for the disadvantaged, garnered million-dollar grants that are funding programs he created to help underserved students learn about, prepare for 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 central Fullerton.

Rojas said participating in the Heart Walk is one way of honoring Castro’s “great legacy and helping others afflicted with heart-related conditions.”

“Don was the most selfless man I have ever known,” Rojas said. “He was the type of person who would give you the shirt off his back. He was the greatest boss but, most importantly, a best friend and mentor. I miss him terribly. In three short years, Don taught me the importance of being a man for others. He instilled in me the passion to help underrepresented students achieve their dreams.”

Rojas has raised $705 for his $1,000 goal so far. He is part of a team that includes Castro’s daughters, Daniela and Antonia Castro. The team has raised $2,165 so far. Click here to donate to Rojas or his team.

In addition to Rojas’ tribute, Cal State Fullerton has established an endowment fund in Castro’s name to award scholarships to disadvantaged students who wish to study abroad. Donations may be sent to the Don Castro Scholarship Fund, Cal State Fullerton Philanthropic Foundation, 2600 E. Nutwood Ave., Suite 850, Fullerton, CA 92831.

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