William Hauck, a prominent business and political figure who served longer than any other member of the California State University Board of Trustees, has died after a long battle with brain cancer, officials said Tuesday.
Hauck, a resident of St. Helena in Napa Valley, died Friday at Sutter Roseville Medical Center in Roseville. He was 73.
At the time of his death, he was serving as chairman of the board's finance committee, where he was instrumental in guiding the nation's largest four-year university system through a bruising period of state funding cuts, class reductions and tuition hikes.
Hauck led search committees for campus presidents at Sacramento, San Jose and San Diego and in 2012 chaired the panel that appointed Cal State Chancellor Timothy P. White, who succeeded former Chancellor Charles B. Reed.
"We are all deeply saddened by the passing of such an iconic figure in the CSU and our state," White said in a statement. "Bill will be remembered as a bold leader, a proud and accomplished alumnus and tireless champion of the CSU and our students."
Hauck was appointed by former Gov. Pete Wilson to the board in 1993 and he served as chairman from 1998 to 2000. He was an alumnus of San Jose State University and was a former president of the California State Student Assn.
He served on several committees focused on student achievement and in 2010 endowed the Trustee William Hauck Scholarship, awarded to a San Jose State student in recognition of academic performance, personal accomplishment and service to the community.
"Some of my fondest memories of Bill, in recent years, stemmed from his tireless advocacy work to safeguard state and federal financial aid for our neediest students," board Chairman Bob Linscheid said in a statement. "Even though he had served for decades on the board, Bill never lost his passion for the CSU nor his commitment to staying connected to students."
Hauck was born on Aug. 20, 1940, in Topeka, Kan., and lived in Salt Lake City and New Jersey. He graduated from Burlingame High School in Northern California and attended the College of San Mateo before transferring to San Jose State, where he earned a bachelor's degree in social science in 1963.
Hauck held a number of positions in state government and was a close advisor to leaders of both parties, serving as deputy chief of staff for the Republican Gov. Wilson and chief of staff for former Assembly Speaker Willie Brown Jr., a Democrat. He also formerly directed the Assembly Office of Research.
He served as president and chief executive of the California Business Roundtable and in 2011 joined the Sacramento-based public relations firm Goddard Claussen/West (now Redwood Pacific) as a senior advisor.
Hauck used his experience in the public and private sector as a platform to promote better public policy, said California Chamber of Commerce President and Chief Executive Allan Zaremberg, a friend and close associate of Hauck's for many years.
"He had a passion to improve and make government work better for everybody," Zaremberg said. "No place was that more evident than his dedication to improving the California Sate University system and have it deliver the best product and best value for students."
Private funeral services are planned, said Rick Brandsma, a family friend.
Hauck is survived by his wife, Padget Kaiser, two children from a previous marriage and a sister.
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