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June 16, 2004 :: No. 283

Management Professor Gustavo Vargas Dead at 61

Gustavo A. Vargas, 61, professor of management and associate director of the Center for International Business at Cal State Fullerton, died Sunday, June 13, after suffering a massive stroke.

Funeral services for the Irvine resident are scheduled for 10 a.m. June 19 at St. Angela Merici Catholic Church in Brea, with burial to follow at Memory Garden Memorial Park, also in Brea.

An expert on international business operations, logistics and operations management, Vargas also directed INTERTECH, the university’s International High Technology Business Partnership Project.

Previously, he coordinated the Inter-Americas High Technology Business Partnership Project, a joint effort with the World Trade Center of Orange County and funded by the U.S. Department of Education. He also conducted studies into the status of quality management practices in Spain and the applicability of quality management practices in Iberian-American environments.

From 1997-2000, Vargas was director and Iberia chair of major service corporations at the Instituto de Empresa in Madrid, Spain. He also was a visiting professor at universities throughout South America.

In addition to teaching, the professor authored several monographs, book chapters and articles that were published in such periodicals as the International Journal of Operations and Production Management, International Journal of Production Research, Journal of Operations Management and Integrated Manufacturing Systems Journal.

His involvement on campus included serving on the Academic Senate, Graduate Education Committee, and College of Business and Economics International Business Program Committee.

Before joining the university faculty in 1986, Vargas was project manager of automation/materials handling systems for Sietam-North America, industrial engineering manager of Uniroyal-Tires Worldwide Inc., manager of industrial engineering and manufacturing systems of B.F. Goodrich-Mexico, and professor of management at the University of Arizona.

From 1972-73, he was an economic and engineering consultant with the U.S. Agency for International Development/Center for Productivity and Development of Paraguay.

In the late 1960s, Vargas served as president of the University Federation of Paraguay, a national student leadership organization. He advocated on behalf of democracy and led a student protest movement against that country’s dictatorship. He fled the country in 1971.

“He was respected and admired by many in Paraguay, and continues to be, because of the strong stand that he took,” said Vargas’ daughter, Carla L. Vargas Rivas. “He was very proud of this part of his past and it shaped a huge part of who he was.”

Vargas received his doctorate from Pennsylvania State University, and was a graduate of Paraguay’s National University College of Engineering and Peru’s Graduate School of Management.

In addition to his daughter, he is survived by his former wife of 27 years, Olga Vargas of Placentia, and his son-in-law, Robert A. Rivas of Fullerton.

Donations may be made to the Gustavo A. Vargas Memorial Award to fund scholarships for international graduate students studying management at Cal State Fullerton. Checks made out to the University Advancement Foundation Account #10140, may be mailed to:
University Advancement Foundation
Attn: Julie Chung
2600 E. Nutwood Ave., Ste. 850
Fullerton, CA 92831-3112

Media Contacts: Pamela McLaren of Public Affairs at 657-278-4852