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California State University, Long Beach
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In Memoriam

Ramses B. Toma, professor emeritus of food science in the Department of Family and Consumer Sciences from 1984-06, died Jan. 25. Concurrent to his tenure at CSULB, Toma served as an adjunct professor of food science and nutrition at Ain Shams University in Cairo, Egypt. He was an avid researcher, publishing nearly 100 articles and abstracts over his nearly three-decade career, and supervised more than 50 graduate student theses. Among his academic honors at CSULB were Best Faculty Advisor in the College of Health and Human Services (2001), Outstanding Professor of the Year (2005) and the College of Health and Human Services Community Service Award (2006). In 2007, he was chosen as grand marshal for one of the CHHS graduation ceremonies. He was a member of numerous organizations in his field, including the Southern California Institute of Food Technologists, the American Institute of Food Chemists and the American Dietetic Association. Most notably, he was a member and officer in the Association of Egyptian Scholars in the United States.

Alvin A. Pine, professor emeritus of art, died on Jan. 28 in Santa Rosa, Calif. He was 76. Born in 1933 and raised in Harlem and the Bronx, Pine attended City College of New York and majored in industrial arts, earning a B.S. in education in 1955. He attended graduate school at Cranbrook Academy of Art, where he majored in metalsmithing and jewelry, earning his MFA in 1958. After serving as a general education instructor for the U.S. Army in Germany from 1958-60, he returned to Germany the next year on a Fulbright scholarship for post-graduate study at the Munich Art Academy. In 1961, Pine returned to New York, where he taught industrial arts at a Bronx junior high school. An award-winning metalsmith, he accepted a teaching position at CSULB in 1962, where he initially taught general arts classes but eventually specialized in metal and jewelry program courses. After a 33-year career, Alvin retired from CSULB in 1996. Upon relocating to Northern California, he continued his small business selling tools for jewelry making and woodworking. Pine was a member of the Society of North American Goldsmiths, California Blacksmith, and Preserving Arts & Skills of the Trades. 

John Mitchell Martin, professor emeritus of art, died March 2. Born May 9, 1922, Martin won the Distinguished Flying Cross while serving as a tail gunner for the U.S. Air Force during World War II. Martin began his career at CSULB in 1955 and retired in 1982. He was sustained by his lifelong passion for art.

Sharon L. Sievers, faculty emerita of history, died April 5 in Long Beach at the age of 71. Sievers began her academic career at CSULB in 1968 and retired in 2008. She was professor and chair of both the History and Women’s Studies Departments. Author of a number of books and articles and a noted specialist in Japanese history, Sievers had her first book, the award-winning Flowers in Salt: The Beginnings of Feminist Consciousness in Modern Japan, published in 1984. She was one of eight prominent historians of women to write volumes in the Organization of American Historians’ Restoring Women to History series. Sievers helped found the Department of Women’s Studies and was named coordinator during a tumultuous period in the 1980s when she fought to save the Women’s Studies Program with the assistance of the American Civil Liberties Union. She was elected chair of the History Department, a position she held for 12 years. Sievers was also a talented poet and photographer.

Dixon Lewis Gayer, professor emeritus of journalism, died May 14 at the age of 92. Born on Jan. 11, 1918, in Flint, Mich., Gayer graduated from UC Berkeley in 1941. After a brief stint in the Army Signal Corps in 1943, Gayer wrote for Seventeen magazine, the Chicago Sun-Times and the jazz magazine DownBeat before going into public relations for RCA Victor and his own firm in New York. He moved his family back to California in the early 1950s. Gayer taught at Artesia High School from 1953-56 and Long Beach Jordan High School in 1957, advising the newspapers at both schools. He also began writing for the Garden Grove News, first on a part-time basis and eventually as a columnist on humor, politics and television. He advocated a middle-of- the-road approach to politics through his fictional Webster Quimmley Society, which he introduced to his readers in a 1961 column. Gayer lost his column after the paper changed owners in 1963. He started a political newsletter, called the Dixon Line, which he published until 1975. In 1958, he earned a master's degree from Cal State Long Beach and started teaching journalism there in 1959 while continuing to write for the newspaper. He retired from Cal State Long Beach in 1980.

Richard (Dick) H. Swift, professor emeritus of art, died June 8. Swift, who was a printmaker, educator and illustrator, was born in Long Beach in 1918. Along with a B.A. degree from Los Angeles State College and an MFA from Claremont College, he also studied printmaking at Chouinard, the Art Students’ League in New York and Atelier 17 in Paris. In 1958, Swift began teaching printmaking at CSULB, where he remained until his retirement in 1980. He was an American Color Print Society member and president of the Los Angeles Print Society in 1968 and 1969. He exhibited extensively throughout the U.S. and Europe, receiving numerous awards. Swift’s work is represented in the collections of the Victoria and Albert Museum, Bibliotheque Nationale, Cincinnati Art Museum, New York Public Library, Canton Art Institute, Zanesville Art Institute and the Library of Congress.

Sema’an I. Salem, professor emeritus of physics and astronomy, died June 30. Salem was born in the village of Bterram in El Kura, North Lebanon. Upon completion of secondary school, he taught younger grade levels to help pay for his college tuition. He earned his B.S. degree in chemistry at the American University in Cairo, Egypt, while continuing to teach part time. In 1955, he sailed to the U.S. and studied for his Ph.D. in physics at the University of Texas, Austin. He began his career as a college professor at Arlington State College, now the University of Texas, Arlington, in 1959. In 1961, he married Juanita Gardner and joined the faculty at CSULB. During his tenure, he authored over 100 scientific papers, mostly on atomic physics. His table of x-ray energy levels was published in the Handbook of Chemistry and Physics. He also authored four books: Khalil and All of Lebanon; The Near East, Cradle of Western Civilization (co-authored with his daughter Lynda); Faris of Zora, a novel; The Origins of Biblical Stories; and, with Alok Kumar, edited and translated from Arabic into English an 11th century text, Science in the Medieval World. Salem was chairman of the Physics Department from 1979-88 and was chosen the 1981-82 Outstanding Professor of the Year. He retired from CSULB in 1998. After retirement, Salem served as a volunteer instructor at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute, where he taught classes about the history of civilization. He drew on his childhood lessons from helping his father to tend olive trees and grape arbors to become a prolific gardener. In his hometown in Lebanon, he was known for his poetry.