March 29, 2004 Vol. VIII, No. 13

Guarrera Family Creates $100,000 Endowment

Scholarship Fund is Tribute to Retired Engineering Professor John Guarrera, Now Valued Campus Advisor

The family of retired Cal State Northridge engineering professor John Guarrera has created a $100,000 scholarship endowment in his honor at the university.

Guarrera, 82, served as director of the Center for Research and Services in the College of Engineering and Computer Science. He retired last semester after nearly 30 years at the university.

Family and friends created the endowment late last year as a tribute to efforts by Guarrera and his wife, Jo, to provide students with firsthand experience in state-of-the-art technology, paving the way to their success in engineering careers. The first Guarrera scholarship is expected to be awarded next year to a student in the College of Engineering and Computer Science.

Guarrera noted that his nephew, CSUN alum Jon Ferrara, made the $75,000 initial contribution to the endowment. Guarrera and his wife decided to add an additional $25,000 to round out the endowment.

"I feel that it is important to provide help to any student trying to get a college education," he said.

S.T. Mau, dean of the College of Engineering and Computer Science, said Guarrera's impact at the college has yet to be fully realized.

"Even in his retirement, John serves as a volunteer advising me on matters related to the Center for Research and Services, which he headed for 30 years," Mau said. "This endowed scholarship represents the Guarrera family's never-ending love for and dedication to CSUN."

University officials credit Guarrera with helping to save the College of Engineering and Computer Science more than 30 years ago, when the CSU Chancellor's Office threatened to eliminate it in an effort to streamline the campus.

Guarrera, then president of the Institute of Electrical and Electronic Engineers, rallied professional support for the college and was instrumental in convincing the CSU Board of Trustees that Cal State Northridge needed a College of Engineering and Computer Science, said dean emeritus Rick Ratcliffe, who headed the college from 1981 to 1992.

Ratcliffe said the experience with the Chancellor's Office convinced former dean Charles Sanders that the college needed to strengthen its ties with local industrial and professional communities, and in 1976 he created the Center for Research and Services. Guarrera was appointed its first director.

@csun | March 29, 2004 issue
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