Northridge Mourns Death of
(NORTHRIDGE, Calif., Sept. 9, 2003) - Harry Finestone, the former chair of Cal State Northridge's English Department who played a key role in guiding the university through the student upheavals of the 1960s, died on Sept. 3 after a long illness. He was 83.
Former English Chair Harry Finestone
Finestone was credited with shaping the early character of the English Department, and when he later served as associate vice president of academic affairs he was noted as a champion of innovative courses and programs throughout the university.
"Although I did not know him personally, Dr. Finestone is well known for the important role he played in the development of this university. He created new and innovative courses, brought the campus several state and national grant programs and, more importantly, served as an advocate for the best interests of the students," said Northridge President Jolene Koester. "He will be remembered for his contributions to Cal State Northridge."
Born in Atlanta, Finestone received his bachelor's degree from Emory University in 1941. Following the receipt of his master's degree at the University of Chicago in 1942, he served with the U.S. Army Air Corps in the European theater through the end of World War II. In 1953 he completed a Ph.D. at the University of Chicago.
Finestone taught at Roosevelt University, the University of Virginia and the University of North Carolina at Greensboro before joining the faculty at what was then San Fernando Valley State College, now California State University, Northridge, in 1962.
Finestone established a reputation as a gifted teacher, but it was in administration that he made his chief professional contribution, first as
chair of the Department of English from 1966 to 1970 and then as dean of academic planning and associate vice president for academic programs from 1970 to 1983.
He supervised the comprehensive reform of general education, oversaw the university's renowned Institute for Advancement of Teaching and Learning, and coordinated educational innovation with surrounding community colleges. He helped bring numerous state and national grant programs to the university.
Finestone was co-editor of the widely used college text, The Conscious Reader, and co-editor of The World of the Short Story. He published numerous articles and books. He was named to Fulbright lectureships in Norway and the Netherlands.
He was devoted to literature as well as the arts and music, and was an avid museum goer, with affection for the whole range of classic and contemporary works.
Finestone is survived by his wife, Mary Eve; daughter, Anne; sons, Stephen and Peter; son-in-law, Charles Dolan; daughter-in-law, Elena Murphy; niece, Rachel Fink, (and sons); and four grandchildren.
Services will be held on Wednesday, Sept. 10, at 1 p.m. at Oakwood Memorial Park, 22601 Lassen St. in Chatsworth.
In lieu of flowers, the family requests donations be made to the Cal State Northridge Foundation for the Harry Finestone Memorial Award: c/o Gailya Brown, Director of Development, College of Humanities, California State University, Northridge, 18111 Nordhoff St., Northridge, CA 91330-8252.