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Table of contents What's This?
  • Descriptive Summary
  • Administration Information
  • Biography
  • Scope and Content
  • Indexing Terms
  • Related Material

  • Descriptive Summary

    Title: Gerth (Donald R.) Papers
    Dates: 1946-2010
    Collection Number: Consult repository.
    Creator: Gerth, Donald R.
    Extent: 86 boxes. 78.5 linear ft
    Repository: California State University, Dominguez Hills Archives and Special Collections
    Archives & Special Collections
    University Library, Room 5039
    1000 E. Victoria Street
    Carson, California 90747
    Phone: (310) 243-3895
    URL: http://www.csudh.edu/archives/csudh/index.html
    Abstract: The personal and academic papers of Donald R. Gerth consist of materials documenting the history of higher education in California and elsewhere in the last half of the 20th century and Gerth’s academic career at the University of Chicago, the Philippines, San Francisco State, the CSU Chancellors’ Office, Chico State, CSU Dominguez Hills, CSU Sacramento and the International Association of University Presidents. Included are a wide-ranging correspondence file, extensive CSU Committee work files, biographical materials and schedules, speeches, writings and research relating to the history of the California State University System including his book The People’s University (2010), reports relating to higher education, and photographs.
    Language: Collection material is in English

    Administration Information


    There are no access restrictions on this collection.

    Publication Rights

    All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Director of Archives and Special Collections. Permission for publication is given on behalf of Special Collections as the owner of the physical materials and not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained.

    Preferred Citation

    [Title of item], Gerth (Donald R.) Papers, Courtesy of the Department of Archives and Special Collections. University Library. California State University, Dominguez Hills

    Acquisition Information

    Materials in this collection were donated by Donald R. Gerth during 2008-2010.

    Processing Information

    Processed 2008-2010 by Greg Williams, Roel Bonayan, Patricia Mannix, Ryoko Onishi, Juan Tellez and others. EAD finding aid encoded by Sue Tyson.


    Donald R. Gerth was born in Chicago on December 4, 1928. After attending Chicago Public Schools, he was admitted to the University of Chicago at the age of 16. He earned a Bachelor’s degree in liberal arts at the age of 18 in 1947. He received his Masters degree in political science in 1951. While earning his M.A. degree he served as a Field Representative in Southeast Asia for the World University Service for one year. He also served as assistant to the President at Shimer College. In 1952 Gerth was commissioned as a Southeast Asian specialist in the U.S. Air Force and was responsible for various comptroller and intelligence assignments throughout Southeast Asia including the Philippines, Vietnam, India, Taiwan and elsewhere. He also served as lecturer in history at the University of the Philippines. In 1955, he married Beverly J. Hollman. In 1956 he was discharged from the Air Force as a Captain.
    Between 1956 and1958, Gerth completed his PhD studies in political science at the University of Chicago. During this period he served as Admissions Counselor and Assistant to the Director of Admissions at the University of Chicago.
    Gerth began his career with the California State Colleges system in 1958 when he was appointed Associate Dean of Students for Admissions and Records and government instructor at San Francisco State College. He quickly became an active and long term proponent of California’s Master Plan for Higher Education. He provided staff support on admissions issues for the group that shaped the Master Plan in 1959-1960. His doctoral dissertation, “The Government of Public Higher Education in California,” was completed in 1963. At that time he received his PhD from the University of Chicago.
    In 1963 Dr. Gerth was appointed Deputy Dean for Institutional Relations and Student Affairs for the California State Colleges system by Chancellor Glenn Dumke. He was also staff representative to the Coordinating Council for Higher Education committee. This assignment was followed by twelve years as a faculty member and administrator (1964-1976) at Chico State College. At Chico he served as Professor of Political Science (1964-1976), Dean of Students (1964-1968), Associate Vice President for Academic Affairs (1969-1970), and Vice President for Academic Affairs (1970-1976). In addition, Dr. Gerth served on several task forces on fiscal responsibility starting in 1965 and focused on other issues such as international education, foreign student programs, admissions, and relationships with other California colleges and universities. In 1976 Dr. Gerth was appointed second President of California State University Dominguez Hills (1976-1984).
    At Dominguez Hills, Gerth brought the Olympic Velodrome to the campus during the 1984 Los Angeles games and worked to stabilize the young university. In 1984 Dr. Gerth was appointed President of California State University Sacramento (1984-2003). At Sacramento he established the Center for California Studies and worked to get CSUS more visibility as the university in the state capitol. By the time of his retirement he was highly respected internationally and nationally as the “Dean of CSU Presidents.” In 1995 Dr. Gerth chaired the United Way Board of Directors and in 1996, became Founding Chair of the Northern California World Trade Center. In 2000 the Sacramento Chamber of Commerce named Dr. Gerth Sacramentan of the Year. In 2001, Dr. Garth was honored for outstanding contributions to the arts by the Arts and Business Council and in the next year was honored by World Trade Centers for distinguished service.
    Gerth has written numerous articles and papers on public policy affecting higher education and is co-author and editor of An Invisible Giant, a book about the formative years of the California State University. In 2010 Gerth published The People’s University: A History of the California State University. The book, a 664 page volume, documents the unique contributions of the California State Universities to the state and the nation. In 1996 Dr. Gerth was installed as head of the International Association of University Presidents during the organizations’ eleventh triennial conference in San Francisco. In addition to several other international contributions, Dr. Gerth also served as a member of the governing board of the United Nations University.
    Throughout his career Dr. Gerth has been a champion of Archives. In addition to helping establish and grow the CSUDH Archives, he helped establish the CSU System-wide Archives that houses the records of the CSU System. Dr. Gerth also encouraged the growth and progress of other Archives in Sacramento and elsewhere.
    Dr. Gerth’s wife Beverly Gerth’s role as partner, host and university supporter has been well-known throughout the CSU and at each University the couple served. They have two daughters, five grandchildren and three great-grandchildren.

    Scope and Content

    The personal and academic papers of Donald R. Gerth consist of materials documenting the history of higher education in California and elsewhere in the last half of the 20th century and Gerth’s academic career at the University of Chicago, the Philippines, San Francisco State, the CSU Chancellors’ Office, Chico State, CSU Dominguez Hills, CSU Sacramento and the International Association of University Presidents. Included are a wide-ranging correspondence file, extensive CSU Committee work files (including the files of the CSU Admissions Advisory Council), biographical materials and schedules, speeches, writings and research relating to the history of the California State University System including his book The People’s University (2010), reports relating to higher education, and photographs.
    While the Correspondence series covers all aspects of Dr. Gerth’s academic career, his collections of Presidential Papers at CSU Dominguez Hills and CSU Sacramento deal specifically with issues on individual campuses. The files in this collection complement the Presidential collections. This collection and the Correspondence file deal with issues at each of the campuses he served and also relate to the CSU System, international organizations such as the IAUP and higher education in general.
    The Correspondence series (1946-2010) consists of personal and executive correspondence, memos, reports, printed material, and other material relating to the academic career of Donald R. Gerth. Topics include University of Chicago student issues; the Newman Club Federation; National Catholic Welfare Conference; anti-communist propaganda produced for the Philippines; Tagalog language word cards; counseling, admissions and articulation in the CSU; CSC mission and administrative goals; control of enrollment; Master Plan for Higher Education in California; Chancellors’ Office correspondence (1963-1964); Chico State College issues; student political activism and unrest; student personnel programs; Chico State residential housing project (1967-1972); community service programs in higher education; student affairs memos, Ombudsmen Foundation; international programs including Yugoslavia Summer Program; CSC in [Governor] Reagan years; collective bargaining; former Chico President Glenn Kendall; CSU Dominguez Hills issues; assessment of CSUDH administration; presidential memos; Olympic Velodrome; University of Chicago alumni; WASC accreditation teams; foreign travel; Asia/China programs; Master Plan review; International Association of University Presidents meetings; various CSU Chancellors; Association of African Universities; UNESCO World Conference on Higher Education; Olympic Trials (2000); retirement; and the United Nations University.
    The Committees series (1957-2002) consists of correspondence, minutes, agendas, reports, and other materials relating to Dr. Gerth’s participation on committees, task forces and commissions mostly relating to California State University. Subjects include issues relating to admissions, the master plan, international programs, the “Urban” university, telecommunications, diversity, fiscal responsibility, extended education and many other subjects. Committees include Admissions Advisory Council, 1979-2002; Admissions-Subcommittee on Reporting, 1960-1961; State College Admissions Committee re the Master Plan, 1959-1961; State College Admissions and Control of Enrollment, 1959-1964; State College Committee on Administrative Staffing, 1956-1959; Committee on Alternative Admissions and Criteria, 1974-1977; Committee on Advocacy and Student Demonstrations, 1967; CSU Archives Advisory Committee, 1980-1984; Commission of the Californias, 1979; Pacific Rim Commission, 1986; Executive Council of the CSUC; Task Force Planning, 1981; Ad Hoc Committee to review Organization/Management Structure of the CSU, 1987; Review of the Office of the Chancellor, 1984-1987; Cornerstones Report and Meetings, 1996-1997; CSU Commission on Educational Telecommunications, 1983; Enrollment Management Working Group, 1999-2000; Commission on Extended Education, 1977-1982; Task Force on Extension and Summer Session Programs, 1965-1966; Task Force on Fiscal Responsibility, 1965-1966; Ad Hoc Committee on the Future of the Consortium, 1978-1979; Task Force on CSU Globalization, 1997; Governance--Task Force on Relationships among Academic Senate, the CSSA and the Executive Council, 1980; Report of the Sub-Committee on Activities and Housing in the CSC, 1957; Committee on International Programs, 1983; Task Force on Off-Campus Instruction, 1975; CSC Student Affairs Study Group Report, 1966-1967; Policies Governing the CSC Summer Sessions and Extension Programs Task Force, 1965; Commission on Undergraduate Education, 1977-1979; CSUDH Commission on Urban University, 1977-1983; CSUDH Urban University Initiative, 1981; CSUDH Commission of the Urban University--the City Workgroup, 1981; WASC Diversity Commission, 1991-1994; and California Master Plan Working Papers Student Learning Group, 2000-2002.
    The Biography/Schedule series consists of biographical information on Dr. Gerth, Who’s Who entry information, vita, articles, CSU Fact Sheets and other materials. Also included are academic schedule planners (1964-2003).
    The Courses/Curriculum series (1945-2000) consists of notes and syllabi for courses and seminars taught and attended by Dr. Gerth. The bulk of material consists of syllabus and course materials for classes taught by Dr. Gerth in Public Administration, Political Science, Government, Public Policy and Higher Education at San Francisco State, Chico State, CSU Dominguez Hills, and CSU Sacramento (1961-1990). Dr. Gerth taught classes for most of his career in addition to his administrative duties. Also included are course work notes, notebooks and syllabus for courses Gerth took at the University of Chicago in social sciences and political science (1945-1957).
    The Speeches/Memoranda series (1961-2002) consists of speeches, addresses and scattered administrative memoranda. Many of the speeches consist of commencement speeches (Chico, CSUDH, CSUS) and addresses to the faculty at CSUDH and CSUS at the beginning of the academic year to map out strategies for that particular year. Also includes speeches relating to global and Asian academic issues especially during Gerth’s tenure as head of the International Association of University Presidents. Subjects include student activism, academic planning and development, resource allocation, “The Genius of Dominguez Hills,” mission and goals of CSUDH, Title IX, the urban university, the Olympic Velodrome, travel in China, intelligence as a natural resource, California Master Plan for Higher Education, the character of a university, the regional university, international trade, the Pacific Rim, academic governance, the Capital University, libraries, the state of the university, globalization of higher education and many other subjects.
    The Writings/Research series (1957-2009) consists mostly of Dr. Gerth’s book length projects on the history of the California State University System. Most of the series consists of manuscripts, drafts and research materials used for The People’s University: A History of the California State University (2010). Also included are important and extensive oral history and focus group transcripts relating to the history of the CSU. The series also includes note cards and manuscript material relating to Gerth’s University of Chicago dissertation: The Government of Public Higher Education in California (1963) and the manuscript for The Invisible Giant, The California State Colleges (1971). Research material subjects for The People’s University include Academic Planning Program, Accountability, Activism, Admissions, Advisory Boards, Affirmative Action, the CSU Archives, Articulation, Auxiliaries, Pat Brown notes, Budget, Community Colleges, CPEC minutes, Campuses, Campus Controversies, Capital Outlay/Doctorate/Role of Chancellor, Capital Outlay Process, Chancellor selection, Collective Bargaining, Consortium, Curriculum, Doctorate, Donahue and Higher Education, Enrollment and Federal Relations, Early Assessment Program, Enrollment and Enrollment ceilings, Faculty, Finances, Fund Raising/Development, Gallagher resignation, General Education in the CSU, Governance, Governance, Transition to the CSC, 1962-63, Government relations, Graduate programs in the CSU, Growth of the System, Higher Education Compact, 2005, Institutional Research, International Programs, Institute for Higher Education & Policy, Institutional Relations, Harcleroad, CSC Hayward, 1967, Honorary degrees from CSU, President John F. Kennedy's address at San Diego State, Clark Kerr material, Forming the System, Formative years of the CSU, Stephen Horn, Master Plan, New Approaches to Higher Education, campus & system name change, New Program Development and Evaluation, Off Campus Centers, Organization for Economic Cooperation & Development, Presidency, Presidential appointments, Relationships CCHE/CPEC, Reagan Speech--Closing Campuses after Kent State, May 6, 1970, Remedial Programs, Retention rates of Students, ROTC, Salaries, Speeches during the formative years of the CSU, Student Fees, Changing Student Body, Diversification of the CSU, State College Council, Teacher Education, Teacher Credentialing in California Papers, Technology, Trustees, Transition to the CSC. Dumke, Leiffer, Gallagher, 1960-1966, Guy West notes-Staffing Formulas /Salaries/ College Functions, 1950s; Also includes notes on CSU by decades, notes for various chapters, and individual campus histories. Also includes a few typescripts of book length studies and dissertations by other scholars on various aspects of the CSU.
    The series also includes transcripts, tapes and disks resulting from Dr. Gerth’s oral history interviews with many individuals involved in the progress of the CSU system and focus group interviews with groups on specific topics. Individual oral history interviewees include: Sheppie Abramowitz, Dede Alpert, Molly Broad, Howard Berman (Collective Bargaining), Jerry Beavers, Patrick Callan, William Campbell, Ray Clark, Jim Connor, Arthur Coons, Bill Crist, Lyle Edmison, Handel Evans, Martha Fallgatter, Bob Fountain, John Francis, Marian Gade re Clark Kerr, Jim Gelb, Hal Geiogue, Art Hall, Murray Haberman, Gary Hammerstrom, Claudia Hampton Interview (1984), Dale Hanner, Harry Harmon, Bob Harris, Louis Heilbron, Elizabeth Hill, Judith Hunt, Jim Jensen, Cristy Jensen, Allison Jones, John Kehoe, Robert E. Kennedy, Lee Kerschner, Michael W. Kirst, Dorothy Knoell, Rep. Tom Lantos, Teven Laxer, Don Leiffer, David Leveille, Ellis McCune, Bill Mason, Ralph Mills, Barry Munitz, Ceasar Naples, Morgan Odell, Douglas Patino, Bill Pickens, Alan Post, Charles Reed, Gary Reichard, Ann Reynolds, Keith Sexton, Senator Jack Scott, Roy Simpson (1981), Jack Smart, Glenn Smith, David Spence, John Vasconcellos, David Wright, Bill Wilson, and Richard West. Focus group interviews includes the following topics: CSU Academic Programs, CSU Admissions, Access, Transfers, CSU Alumni, CSU Auxiliaries, Capital Outlay, CSU Collective Bargaining, Community Colleges, Core Values of the CSU, CSU Finance and Budget, CSU Governance, CSU Government Relations, CSU Presidential, Technology in the CSU, CSU Teacher Education and CSU Trustees. The focus groups generally consisted of four or more individuals and are listed in the book. Dr. Gerth also used material from the CSU Archives Oral history interviews including oral histories of Glenn Dumke and others.
    The Educational Reports series (1903, 1948-2003, mostly 1970s-1990s) consists of reports concerning higher education mostly by educational organizations throughout the United States (6 linear feet). Subjects include the investment in higher education, college presidencies, university admissions, enrollment, diversity, campus life, community colleges, master plans throughout the United States, the future of higher education, financing higher education, liberal education, and many other topics. Reports produced by many organization including American Association of Collegiate Registrars and Admission Officers, American Association of Colleges for Teacher Education, ACT Research Report, AASCU, American Council on Education, Carnegie Foundation, Council for Higher Education Accreditation, Institute of International Education, National Center for Educational Statistics, OECD, UNESCO, US Dept of Education, US HEW, Western College Association Annual Meeting, Cooperative Assessment of Experiential Learning, The College Board and many other organizations.
    The Photograph series (1976-2003) consists of photographs (two linear feet, four boxes) relating to events at CSU Dominguez Hills, CSU Sacramento, the International Association of University Presidents and other academic organizations.


    Arranged in eight series:
    • Series I. Correspondence, 1946-2010; boxes 1-32
    • Series II. Committees, 1956-2002; boxes 33-44, 72
    • Series III. Biography/Schedule, 1964-2003; boxes 45-46
    • Series IV. Courses/Curriculum, 1945-2000; boxes 46-47, 86
    • Series V. Speeches/Memoranda, 1961-2002; boxes 48-53
    • Series VI. Writings/Research, 1957-2009; boxes 54-71, 84-85
    • Series VII. Educational Reports, 1903, 1961-2004, bulk 1970s-1990s; boxes 73-78
    • Series VIII. Photographs, 1976-2003; boxes 79-83

    Indexing Terms


    Higher Education
    University Systems
    Affirmative Action Programs--California
    Library Administration
    Enrollment, Schools
    Statistics education
    University Presidents
    College administrators--California
    College Presidents--California
    California State University--History
    Education, Higher--California
    Postsecondary Education--California
    Higher education and state--California
    State universities and colleges--California
    California State University and Colleges--History

    Personal Names

    Dumke, Glenn S.
    Gerth, Donald R.

    Corporate Names

    California State University
    California State Universities and Colleges
    California State University, Chico
    California State University, Dominguez Hills
    California State University, Sacramento
    International Association of University Presidents (IAUP)
    University of Chicago


    • Gerth, Donald R. The people's university: a history of the California State University. Berkeley: Berkeley Public Policy Press, 2010.
    • Gerth, Donald R., and Grenier, Judson A. A history of the California State University and Colleges. Carson: California State University, Dominguez Hills, 1981.
    • Gerth, Donald R., Haehn, James O., and associates. An invisible giant: the California State colleges. San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 1971.

    Related Material

    International Association of University Presidents, Fairleigh Dickinson University