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Claudia H. Hampton; First Woman to Head CSU Trustees

TIMES STAFF WRITER

Claudia H. Hampton, the first African American named to the Cal State University Board of Trustees and the first woman to head it, has died of cancer.

Miss Hampton, who did not like to disclose her age but was believed to be in her 70s, died Saturday in a Los Angeles hospital.

“No one has been more instrumental in shaping the course of higher education in this state,” CSU Chairman Jim Considine said. “She was never afraid to fight for what she believed in, and she always seemed to win because, in the end, she was always on the moral high ground.”

Although Miss Hampton was a Democrat and best known for her work with the NAACP, she was first appointed to the board by conservative Republican Gov. Ronald Reagan. She was reappointed by one Democrat and two Republicans, Govs. Edmund G. (Jerry) Brown Jr., George Deukmejian and, earlier this year, Pete Wilson.

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Miss Hampton was elected board chairman in 1979, becoming the first African American as well as the first woman to head the trustees.

She recently received the Distinguished Service Award as the most outstanding trustee in the United States from the Assn. of Governing Boards.

Last year, she was recognized by former CSU trustee William D. Campbell and his wife, who established the Claudia H. Hampton Scholarships to assist inner-city youths who want to attend college.

Although Miss Hampton said she was overwhelmed by the honor, she took great pleasure in helping to select the winners.

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“One little girl, a high school student who worked 35 hours a week, maintained a 3.5 grade-point average, was so anxious and motivated to go to college, but didn’t have the means,” she told The Times. “Can you imagine what a thrill it was to say to that kid, ‘OK, now you can go to college?’ ”

Miss Hampton began her career as a teacher in Chicago after graduating from Central YMCA College there. Moving west, she taught in the Los Angeles Unified School District and earned her master’s degree and doctorate at USC.

A strong advocate for minorities, Miss Hampton soon moved into administration at Los Angeles city schools and became the district’s director of urban affairs.

Services are scheduled for 10 a.m. Saturday at the Park Hills Community Church, 5247 Overdale Drive, Los Angeles.

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Memorial contributions may be made to the Claudia H. Hampton Scholarship Fund, payable to the CSU Foundation, CSU Chancellor’s Office, 400 Golden Shore, Long Beach, Calif. 90802.


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