Malcolm A. Love, the highly respected president of then San Diego State College for 19 years and an administrator so popular that students and faculty alike prevailed on him to stay on past his scheduled retirement, died Saturday at Hillside Hospital in San Diego. He was 86; his death followed what was described as a long illness.
During Love's tenure, the college grew into a university and its enrollment rose by more than 20,000 students. When Love assumed the job, there was no research under way on the campus; at the time he retired, research funds topped $6 million, university spokesman Rick Moore said.
"He guided the campus through some of its most difficult and important times," said the current president, Thomas B. Day. "His actions created the personality of the campus as we know it today." We hang our heads in prayer and sorrow at his loss."
Love was president of the University of Nevada, where he was responsible for establishing the Las Vegas campus, until he came to San Diego in 1952. There he found a student body of 4,000 and a faculty of 160.
He oversaw construction of most of the buildings now in use on the campus, an expansion that permitted an enrollment boom.
The School of Engineering was established in 1958; the College of Arts and Sciences the next year. The Imperial Valley campus was established at Calexico in 1959. San Diego State College was granted university status in 1971, the same year the million-volume Malcolm A. Love Library was opened.
Perhaps more important than the physical campus that became a monument to Love was the cohesiveness he lent the school during the 1960s, turbulent years of student unrest.
At a time when demonstrations against the war in Vietnam rocked many universities across the country, Love headed a school where long hair, beards and hippie beads were rarely seen amid the freshly scrubbed, neatly barbered students rushing to classes from jammed parking lots. And minority enrollment rose from almost no one to 1,400 blacks and Latinos.
When in 1970, at age 66, Love was prevailed on to stay one year past his planned retirement, it was attributed to the esteem in which both teachers and students held him.
"I know of no comparable institution of higher learning where the faculty member can be so assured that he is protected against arbitrary and unfair personnel decisions," said Dr. C. Dale Johnson, spokesman for the Faculty Senate at the time.
Ron Breen, the Associated Students Council's first nonfraternity student president in 17 years, said: "President Love . . . attends all those boring meetings and defends our interests. In Love's view, there are (then) 18 state colleges and then there is San Diego State. . . ."
It was a time when the San Diego campus feared that State College Chancellor Glenn S. Dumke and the State College Board of Trustees would cut into the autonomy Love had carefully nurtured by appointing an interim president who would be more responsive to the trustees' wishes.
Before his University of Nevada affiliation, Love, a graduate of Simpson College in Iowa, was dean of administration at the College of Liberal arts at Illinois Wesleyan University and dean of the College of Arts and Sciences at the University of Denver.
He is survived by his wife of nearly 63 years, Maude, a daughter, two grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. The family requested that contributions be sent to the Malcolm A. Love Memorial Scholarship Fund at the university scholarship office.