Above, Catherine Becker, wife of the late Dr. Edwin N. Becker
On Oct. 2, 2009, the College of Natural Sciences and Mathematics (CNSM) held a dedication of the Dr. Edwin N. Becker Memorial Bench. CNSM Dean Laura Kingsford; Professor Jeffrey Cohlberg, chair of the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry; and Dr. Becker’s wife, Catherine, welcomed the guests. Emeriti Professors Dorothy M. Goldish (chemistry and biochemistry) and Ronald A. Kroman (biological sciences) as well as friends of Dr. Becker provided remembrances during the ceremony.
Dr. Becker was born in Ossian, Iowa on Aug. 6, 1922. He served in the Army Air Corps from 1943-45, going on to earn a bachelor’s degree in chemical engineering from Iowa State University and a doctorate in physical chemistry from the University of Wisconsin at Madison. In 1950, he married Catherine, and they have five children. During his career at CSULB, which began in 1955, he served as a professor of chemistry. Known as a consensus builder and team leader on the campus, he was chair of the Academic Senate and remained involved in campus governance, serving the needs of both faculty and students on many campus committees. Dr. Becker retired in 1983 and died in 2009.
Photo by Nicole Algarin-Chevarria
Donald F. Popham, professor emeritus of teacher education, died Jan. 1, 2009. Popham joined the CSULB faculty in 1956 and served the university until his retirement in 1986.
Jack J. Heeger, associate professor emeritus of journalism from 1990-92, died July 3, 2009, in Napa, Calif. He was 78. Educated in Sioux City, Heeger worked briefly for the Sioux City Journal, served in the U.S. Marine Corps from 1951-53, moved to Los Angeles in 1954 and worked for UPI before entering the public relations field. He spent nearly 40 years in public relations, working with several agencies, consulting with the California Jewelers Association and later serving as vice president of public affairs for Sunkist Growers, Inc. After achieving an MBA degree at age 55, he embarked on an academic career, teaching public relations and journalism at CSULB. He also taught part time at Cal State L.A. and USC. In 1996, Heeger retired to Napa, where he edited copy and wrote feature articles and a weekly column about wine for the Napa Valley Register, and also wrote for several wine publications.
Roger V. Wetherington, faculty emeritus and Daily 49er advisor, died July 26, 2009, at the age of 67. Wetherington graduated with a degree in journalism from Columbia University and began his career with the New York Daily News. He continued his education at USC and received his Ph.D. in mass communication/journalism. Wetherington joined CSULB in 1976 as a visiting associate professor then returned in 1987 as a lecturer. He also served as an advisor for Cal State Northridge’s Sundial. After leaving CSULB, he joined the faculty at St. John’s University in New York and also worked as a copy editor and national edition editorial writer for The New York Times. From August 2004-June 2005, he was a visiting Fulbright Scholar at the Kazakhstan Institute of Management, Economics and Strategic Research, which is part of KIMEP, a 3,000- student, English language university in the commercial capital of Almaty. He received an award from KIMEP for his efforts on behalf of freedom of the press in Kazakhstan.
Herbert A. de Vries, a professor emeritus of kinesiology at USC who was known as the father of exercise and aging, died Oct. 1, 2009, at the age of 91, just eight days before his 92nd birthday. Born Oct. 9, 1917, in New York, de Vries was raised in the Teaneck-Ridgewood area of New Jersey.
In 1943, he began his 33 months of active duty as an officer with the Army Air Corps, where he instructed recruits in physical training and served as a navigator. While stationed in central Texas, he began his graduate degree, eventually earning his master’s at the University of Texas at Austin. Interested in the sciences, he attended the then-USC College of Medicine. During his second year of medical school, he dropped out to take care of his family, took work operating the Long Beach Swim Club, and became a professor at CSULB before completing his Ph.D. at USC in 1960. During his career, de Vries received the Silver Anniversary Award from the President’s Council on Physical Fitness and Sports; the D.B. Dill Honor Award, Southwest Chapter, American Academy of Sports Medicine; and the Citation Award of the American College of Sports Medicine. He was also an American Academy of Physical Education fellow as well as the former vice president of the American College of Sports Medicine (ACSM), an ACSM fellow and a Gerontology Society of America fellow.
August Coppola, professor emeritus of comparative literature and classics, died Oct. 27, 2009, in Los Angeles. He was 75. The father of actor Nicolas Cage and brother of filmmaker Francis Ford Coppola and actress Talia Shire, Coppola earned a bachelor’s degree in philosophy from UCLA, a master’s in English from Hofstra University and a doctorate in comparative literature and interdisciplinary studies from Occidental College. He taught at CSULB in the 1960s and ’70s and served as a trustee of the California State University system before moving to San Francisco State in 1984. He served as dean of the School of Creative Arts there and was also a professor of cinema until 1992. In 2002, he became an emeritus of CSULB.
Staff emeritus Louis Preston, Sr. died Jan. 1. He was 74. In 1970, Preston began working as an associate professor at CSULB. He served as a counselor in the Counseling Center, where he worked with the Upward Bound Program. He also taught “career and personal explorations,” educational psychology and black history courses before his retirement in 2004. In 1990, Preston began to have visual problems and eventually went blind due to uveitis, a rare eye disease, though his condition did little to slow down his busy life, according to family and friends. Preston was active in many organizations including the NAACP, the Braille Institute and Toastmasters. He was also a licensed family and marriage counselor.