California State University, Long Beach
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Para Returns To Give Legacy Lecture

Published: October 1, 2014

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PHOTO BY DAVID J. NELSON
Don Para

Donald J. Para’s childhood passion for music composition led him to the once humble doorsteps of the music department at CSULB nearly 26 years ago. On Thursday, Oct. 9, Para will return to campus to deliver the prestigious Legacy Lecture at The Pointe in the Walter Pyramid.

Before retiring from the university in July 2014, Para had composed not only musical notes on a page, but he also orchestrated an extraordinary legacy for the entire university through the expansion of the College of the Arts, the creation of the Bob Cole Conservatory of Music and his passionate promotion of student artists. His dedication to serving others personifies the true meaning of a servant leader.

“It is an honor to be asked to give a Legacy Lecture,” said Para. “Delivering this particular lecture is especially meaningful to me because its part of program that recognizes all faculty who have recently retired from the university. I am also looking forward to connecting with members of our alumni who will be on hand to celebrate the equally important legacies of our retiring faculty who taught, guided and mentored them while they gained a valuable education at The Beach.”

While at CSULB, Para’s ascended from serving as chair of the Music Department, to dean of the College of the Arts, to provost and ultimately as interim president until he retired. He raised more than $30 million for the university and developed a joint MBA/MFA in theater management degree. Para provided academic leadership for the university and promoted excellence in all aspects of the campus’ academic mission, including undergraduate and graduate education, research and creative activity, international education, service learning, community engagement, service to the profession and faculty and staff development.

Established in 1992, the Legacy Lecture is an opportunity for university professors to address the campus as if it were their last lecture. Legacy lecturers are known to share their reflections and core values as educators.

The Oct. 9 Legacy Lecture and Faculty Retirement Recognition program begins at 4:30 p.m. with a reception. Recognition of retirees begins at 5 p.m. with the Legacy Lecture delivered by Para to follow.

–Terri Carbaugh