California State University, Long Beach
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Historical Wall Unveiled

Published: September 5, 2017

In 2007, the year College of Engineering (COE) celebrated 50 years of achievement, Sandra Cynar researched and created a small history of the college using PowerPoint.

“I was surprised by the faculty response to my original presentation at the 50th anniversary,” she recalled. “They really seemed to enjoy it. There were faculty who had been here for some time who did not know certain things and personalities.”

In August, the college cut the ribbon for its new History Wall on the second floor of the engineering and computer science (ECS) building.

Cynar, an emeritus COE professor, led the History Wall project. Her special status as one of the first female engineering students in the college 58 years ago, industry experience, time as a lecturer, faculty member, department chair, associate dean and interim dean served her well for this project.

“I grew up with the college,” said Cynar. “I’ve been here for every decade of its history. In 2013, the dean (Forouzan Golshani) assembled a group of the willing and that marked the beginning of the History Wall project. It took three years to complete. We started with hundreds of pictures from the college. More information was found in the CSULB archives, all of which was overwhelming. It took almost a year to gain some control over what to put into the history and what not to use.”

Speaking of the people represented on the wall, many were friends of Cynar.

“I knew these people,” she said. “I took classes from them. They were my faculty. When I came back to work here, they were my coworkers. It was nice to put up pictures of those who are not here anymore. That is one reason why I enjoyed it. It took a lot of time but it was one of the most satisfying projects I’ve ever done.”

She hopes the History Wall has an impact on the college.

“The parallel technology history at the bottom informs the impact that our graduates have had on technology and society,” she said. “Our college produces very important graduates and I hope the faculty can see their impact with these parallel histories.”

Cynar hopes the History Wall points to the future as much as the past. She recalled the COE’s first Micro Mouse team and her service as its faculty advisor that took the team to championship races everywhere from Hong Kong to Toronto.

Engineering Dean Forouzan Golshani
College of Engineering Dean Forouzan Golshani studies items from yesteryear.

“Many students told me that job interviewers did not ask them about their classes but were interested in the project,” she said. “Projects like these are very important for the students to apply what they learned in class.” She believes it takes extra time for the faculty to advise these student projects, but it is an important part of their education.

Cynar believes the History Wall serves as a validation of all the efforts made by the COE, its faculty and its students.

“Not only are we still here after 50 years, we are becoming a name,” she said. “When I first went into industry, I met people from Stanford, USC, Purdue etc., but not a lot of CSULB graduates. My son Mark graduated from the COE in 1999 and when he went into industry, he met many from CSULB. Now our graduates have respect and make an impact.”