California State University, Long Beach
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Engineering Unveils 50th Year Monument

Published: June 15, 2010

To dedicate a new monument that signifies more than five decades as a major player in developing the engineering workforce in California, the College of Engineering (COE) at CSULB recently brought together the college’s past deans to reflect of the college’s successful past, praise its present endeavors, and look toward the future.

The celebration culminated with the dedication of a “50th Year” monument, which is erected in the quad of the campus’ Vivian Engineering Center.

“It was really a pleasure to welcome so many who contributed to this college and its 52 years. We brought together the [COE] deans, faculty, emeriti and many members of the staff. We thought the dedication would be the perfect opportunity to celebrate our history, share some moments from our past and show gratitude to those who made all this possible. And we were right,” said Forouzan Golshani, who became dean of the COE in 2007 and was recently honored by the Los Angeles Council of Engineers and Scientists with the 2010 Distinguished Dean of Engineering Award.

On hand to celebrate the dedication of the monument, either in person or via videotaped presentation, were all the deans who have served the college, except the first Dean Robert Vivian, who served from 1958-1967. He passed away in 1982.

All the deans provided nostalgic memories of their time in the COE and addressed other topics related to CSULB’s engineering programs. They included Deans Walter Arnell (1967-70), Richard Potter (1970-83), Richard Williams (1983-99) and Michael Mahoney (1999-2007).

The COE also paid a special tribute to Sandra Cynar, who began as one of the first female engineering students in the state 51 years ago at the university and currently teaches computer engineering and computer science at CSULB. Cynar, who retired this spring, also served as interim dean in 2007 before Golshani’s arrival.

The COE’s history began in 1957 with several acres of mostly barren land and a few bungalows that were used as classrooms to teach the first class of just 128 students. Cynar graduated with an electrical engineering degree 1963 after seeing the COE get its first “real” buildings.

Unveiling portrait
Photo by Victoria Sanchez
Attending the 50th anniversary celebration were (l-r) Professor Sandra Cynar, CSULB President F. King Alexander, Larry Vivian, former Dean Richard Potter, Dean Forouzan Golshani, former Dean Michael Mahoney and CSULB Provost Donald Para.

“We were so happy to get out of the Quonset huts that served as our temporary class and lab rooms,” she remembered fondly at the dedication.

Currently, there are nearly 3,000 students in the COE earning degrees in aerospace engineering, chemical engineering, civil engineering, computer engineering, computer science, construction engineering management, electrical engineering and mechanical engineering.

The COE has become one of the top ranked engineering colleges in the nation.

“The College of Engineering is in a great place. We continue to be ranked number one by the National Science Foundation for the graduation of master’s students who actually continue to pursue careers in engineering and science,” said Golshani. “This is a great recognition. The college is also ranked 38th by the U.S.News & World Report and fourth in the west. However, what I’m truly proud of is the astounding recent increase in our graduation rate, which has grown to nearly 40 percent, and that is without any significant increase in our number of students. This is really the true testament to all that we do to ensure student success.”

–Paul Browning