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In Memoriam: November 2009

Published: November 16, 2009

August Coppola, a former literature professor who was the father of actor Nicolas Cage and brother of filmmaker Francis Ford Coppola and actress Talia Shire, died Tuesday in Los Angeles at the age of 75.

Coppola taught comparative literature 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 became dean of the School of Creative Arts there and was also professor of cinema until 1992.

Coppola was born Feb. 16, 1934, in Hartford, Conn., the oldest child of Carmine Coppola, a composer and classically trained flutist, and his wife, Italia, a lyricist. He 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, then began teaching at CSULB.

Herbert A. de Vries, a professor emeritus of kinesiology at USC College, who was known as the father of exercise and aging, died Oct. 1 at the age of 91, just eight days before his 92nd birthday.

Born Oct. 9, 1917, in New York, NY, 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 eventually earning his master’s at the University of Texas at Austin and his Ph.D. at USC in 1960, becoming a professor in 1965.

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 and took work operating the Long Beach Swim Club and became a professor at CSULB.

A USC graduate, he became one of the foremost exercise and muscle physiologists of his time. He served as a college professor for 18 years, retiring in 1983 and then worked as a USC consultant until 1988.

Jillian Jimenez, a professor in the Department of Social Work, died on Oct. 15 at the age of 66. Jimenez earned a Ph.D. in American History and a Ph.D. in Social Policy from Brandeis University. Also, she received her M.A. in Literature from UCLA and an M.S.W. from San Diego State University. Prior to coming to CSULB, Jimenez taught American history for eight years at Pitzer College in Claremont. At CSULB, she taught Social Policy and Thesis at the Department of Social Work and was the editor of Reflections, the department’s peer-reviewed journal of narratives. She won numerous awards, including a Graves Fellowship for Teaching Excellence and a Silberman Grant for her research on the history of African American grandmothers.

Jimenez published widely on the intersection of history and policy in the areas of mental health, child welfare policy, HIV and AIDS and welfare policy. Her new book on social policy, Social Policy and Social Change: Toward the Creation of Social and Economic Justice, was published in Summer 2009 by Sage Press. In it, she offered an historical analysis of social problems and an economic analysis of how capitalism and the market economy have contributed to social problems and impacted social policies.

“Jillian was an intellectual as well as social leader in the department,” said Catherine Goodman, a professor in Social Work. “Her high energy and vibrancy were inspirational. Her relationships were often personal as well as professional because she was quick, entertaining, personable and warm.”

“Dr. Jimenez was a passionate advocate for social change in our country; and she was able to instill in thousands of students over the years that passion to take their knowledge and training and make changes on behalf of the poor and disenfranchised,” said Rebecca Lopez, a professor in Social Work, who also attended Brandeis with Jimenez and considered her one her oldest and dearest friends. “She was a dynamic voice in the classroom and among her peers and has inspired us all to be engaged social change agents. She will not be forgotten.”