July 26, 2005
To the CSUN Community:
I am saddened to announce that Ralph Prator, our
institution’s founding president, passed away on Monday, July 25, in
his retirement hometown of Camarillo in Ventura County.
Dr. Prator was the president of San Fernando Valley State College from
its founding in July 1958 until his retirement in September 1968. The
college was renamed California State University, Northridge in 1972.
As a campus community, we should be proud of and appreciate Dr.
Prator’s legacy. Under his leadership and vision during the
institution’s first 10 years, the original physical core of the campus
as we know it was built, the size of the student population more than
quadrupled to 16,000, and he oversaw the land acquisitions that
developed the campus into its present size of 356 acres. And, of
course, he recruited many of the early faculty and established the
institution’s academic programs and curriculum. His presidency here
capped a distinguished 30-year career as a higher education
administrator. When he retired, he was named professor emeritus in the
department that is now known as Educational Leadership and Policy
I had the great fortune to know President Prator personally. He
maintained a keen interest in the university and occasionally sent me
notes that were always encouraging and generous. He clearly was proud
of what the institution had become, and I am pleased to honor and
advance his pioneering work here.
President Prator is survived by a sister, three adult children, and
four adult grandchildren. His children are all California State
University alumni, including one who is a CSUN alumna. Dr. Prator’s
wife of nearly 60 years, Lois, passed away in 1996.
In keeping with Dr. Prator’s wishes, no public funeral
or ceremony is planned. In lieu of flowers, the family encourages
donations to the student scholarship fund that was established by
President Prator and his wife, the CSUN University Women’s Club Lois
and Ralph Prator Scholarship Fund. Checks can be made payable to the
California State University, Northridge Foundation, 18111 Nordhoff
St.,Northridge, CA 91330-8275.
Note: The formal
university press release about President Prator’s passing and his
distinguished career may be found by clicking here.