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California State University, Long Beach
Alumni Association

Norma Brandel Gibbs, Professor Emeritus, Educational Psychology and Administration (1957-1993)

Norma Brandel Gibbs

When did you begin your career at Long Beach State College (LBSC)?

I began my career at Long Beach State College in 1957!

Describe your experience at LBSC.

It was a very positive, upbeat experience with new challenges every day. I was the first woman hired into the psychology department and also the counseling center. Because I had led student groups to Europe during the summer time and had won a Ford Foundation scholarship to the Freie Universitet in Berlin and studied there a year I also served as the Foreign Student Advisor. In those days foreign student advising was done in the counseling office. We had a lot of students from Thailand and received the first group of students from Vietnam. We had wonderful international dinners and each group would dress in their national dress and perform their national dance and serve their traditional food. These became very popular and were open to the public and was always a sell-out. Originally we housed the students with families in Long Beach and Seal Beach. Many years later the International House was built and this served as a gathering place for the students.

Why did you decide to teach at LBSC?

The reason I came to CSULB was the first President Dr. P. Victor Peterson. I had met him at a conference in Chicago. He was a great salesman and his enthusiasm and follow up was infectious. When I decided to leave my teaching position in Chicago I had offers from the East Coast and the West Coast and Dr. Peterson convinced me to go West. I regarded this as an adventure and it certainly was. I've never regretted the move for it opened up new avenues I might never have pursued otherwise. As a professor and foreign student advisor I was very involved with the community which led to running for public office and serving as Mayor of Seal Beach (1960-63) and from 1970-78 served on the Huntington Beach City Council as the first woman elected to the council and served as Mayor 1975-76.

What was one of your most memorable experiences while at LBSC?

It is hard to name one memorable experience here at the University - there were so many of them. To witness the growth from 1957 to the present day is awesome. The collegiality and friendliness of my colleagues was impressive. Very supportive and encouraging. The planting of the peach trees. the sculpture competition, the creation of the student union, the development of the lower campus, the Pyramid, the Carpenter Center, the Japanese Garden - what a time of transformation!This was truly an exciting time!

Do you stay connected to the university? If so, how?

I have continued my connection with the University through the Emeriti Association, Women in Philanthropy, the College of Education.

What are you doing today?

Presently I am still involved with politics, traveling the world, reading, keeping up with 4 children and 6 grandchildren, and trying to conquer my iphone.

What would be one word to describe the campus /students /environment during the time you served?


Faculty Emeriti, Staff Emeriti and Friends

Spring 2010 Emeriti Luncheon at the CSULB Residential Learning College. From left to right: Kathy McConnell, Dorothy Deatherage, Marilyn Jensen, Kay Goddard, Shirley Bailey, Gloria May, Norma Brandel Gibbs.

Norma B. Gibbs at the podium

Norma continues to be involved with the university as an active leader for the Association of Emeriti.


Golden Faculty Members

Norma and her fellow Golden Faculty at the most recent Golden Graduates Celebration. From left to right: Alton Smith, Dr. Stuart Farber, Dorothy Deatherage, Dr. John McConnell, Norma Brandel Gibbs, Howard Hitchcock.

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