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Higher Education

Milton A. Gordon dies at 81; former Cal State Fullerton president oversaw an era of increased diversity and growth

 (Karen Tapia / Cal State Fullerton)
(Karen Tapia / Cal State Fullerton)

Milton A. Gordon, the former Cal State Fullerton president who fought for equitable access to higher education and transformed the campus into one of the state’s most prominent and diverse, has died after a long illness at 81.

When Gordon took the helm in 1990, he was the fourth African American president in the nation’s largest public university system. At that time, about 60% of the student body was white. By the time he retired in 2012, the percentages had reversed, with students of color making up 57% of the enrollment. During his leadership, the school became first in the state and fifth in the nation in graduating Latinos.

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