Former California Gov. George Deukmejian has chosen the California State University, Long Beach (CSULB) University Library as the repository for more than 3,000 boxes of historical documents chronicling his decades of public service.
Dedication of the George Deukmejian Archive at CSULB took place in March, before an audience of more than 70 government and campus officials and community guests.
“George Deukmejian is a long-time supporter of Cal State Long Beach, and we are honored that he has bestowed upon us the legacy and personal history of his many years of public service,” said CSULB President F. King Alexander. “Future historians will be able to view the George Deukmejian Archives in their quest to research California government, law and politics and the role Mr. Deukmejian played in guiding this great state in each of those areas. This is an extraordinary gift to the university, and we will treasure it always.”
“I’m so pleased and proud that these records and documents will be here at this wonderful university,” Deukmejian said at the dedication cremony. “For those of you who aren’t familiar with it, I hope you’ll become more familiar with Cal State Long Beach and get to know what’s here. You’ll be amazed, as I have been amazed over the years.
“When I first came to Long Beach, Cal State Long Beach was only nine years old. It started in rented apartment facilities,” he recalled. “Over the years, those of us who have lived here have seen it grow not only in size, which has been significant, but in stature. Now, you’ll find that this campus is on many of the national ranking lists and it has achieved this distinction as a result of the leadership that they’ve had here, and the faculty, the administrators and the staff who have really done a tremendous job of fulfilling a vision and fulfilling opportunities for all of the thousands of students who have come through these doors.
“We’re very proud to have the university in Long Beach and we’re proud of the success that it has had in sending out into the world countless thousands of well-educated, well-trained engineers, business people, nurses and a multitude of other disciplines, helping to provide an improved quality of life for all of us throughout the area and throughout the state,” he added.
Deukmejian served on the California Assembly from 1962 to 1967, the state Senate from 1967 to 1979, and as state Attorney General from 1979 to 1983. He was elected governor in 1983 and during his two terms, the 1984 Summer Olympics, the 1987 stock market crash and the 1989 Loma Prieta earthquake occurred. He was credited for his efforts in job creation, making education a priority and creating a workfare program.
Deukmejian and his wife, Gloria, have long been connected to the city of Long Beach. She was born there and he established a law practice there in 1958, to which he returned after leaving office in 1991. A native of New York state, he is an alumnus of Siena College and earned his law degree at St. John’s University.
He continued to serve on several public commissions and the couple has been involved in a variety of community service programs. In the early 1990s, he served as voluntary chair for a fundraising committee to support CSULB’s Disabled Student Services program and in 2005, the couple donated $107,000 to establish the George and Gloria Deukmejian Scholarship for Students with Disabilities. Cal State Long Beach presented Deukmejian with an honorary Doctor of Laws degree in 2008 for his years of political and community endeavors, and one of the campus roads is named Deukmejian Way.
The Judicial Council of California recently voted to name the new courthouse being built in downtown Long Beach after the former governor.
Only three other California governors’ records are held outside the State Archives in Sacramento—Edmund G. “Pat” Brown at UC Berkeley, Ronald Reagan at the Reagan Presidential Library, and the first term of Edmund G. “Jerry” Brown at USC. Disposition of gubernatorial records as part of the California Public Records Act is outlined in California Government Code Section 6268.
As often is the case with accomplished political figures, access to the Deukmejian Archive at CSULB will be restricted until five years after the couple has passed away. Requests for special access must be directed to the office of the Dean of the University Library.