UPDATE: The memorial service honoring Piper will be held Monday, May 17, 2010 at 2 p.m. on the Manzanita Hall Lawn. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the Terry D. Piper Endowment.
Dr. Terry Piper, vice president for Student Affairs, who had taken an indefinite leave at the beginning of the spring semester to focus on his health, died Thursday, May 13.
Piper, who had been diagnosed with melanoma, a malignant type of skin cancer, was expected to return to fulfill his duties.
Dr. William Watkins, who took over Piper’s duties, said in an interview in January that his goal was to continue with “the values and the vision of Dr. Piper. We expect him to return and our goal when he returns is to uphold every bit the division he has built and left,” Watkins said. “It is the greatest way to respect and honor his time away.”
Watkins could not be reached for comment but he is expected to continue to serve as the acting vice president of Student Affairs.
In an e-mail correspondence to the campus community, President Jolene Koester expressed her condolences.
“This is a grievous loss for many of us personally and, of course, the entire campus community. No one exhibited greater devotion to the success and well-being of students.”
As vice president for Student Affairs, Piper oversaw the administrative success of many departments including: Associated Students, Inc., Career Center, Financial Aid & Scholarships, and the National Center of Deafness among others. He also held a faculty appointment in the department of Educational Psychology and Counseling.
A.S. President Abel Pacheco said he was saddened to learn of his passing.
Pacheco said he fondly remembered a one-on-one meeting with Piper early on in his term where they spoke about leadership.
“He told me that to be a great leader you had to listen and show compassion for others,” Pacheco said. “Dr. Piper exemplified that, he always took the time to listen to me even if he didn’t agree with me and considered everything I had to say.”
Pacheco said it was a tremendous loss for the CSUN community.
“If you didn’t know him personally, you won’t feel it but you will notice it,” he said.
A.S. Vice President Conor Lansdale said he had learned of Piper’s passing during a reception held for faculty government.
Lansdale said Piper was an approachable administrator that knew how to communicate with students.
“He was a professional but he wasn’t rigid,” Lansdale said.
Another way Piper expressed his commitment to CSUN students was through the establishment of the Terry D. Piper Endowment, said Koester in the e-mail.
Koester added that she has been in communication with his family and they have agreed to let the University hold a formal memorial to honor Piper’s life and accomplishments.
The details have not been made available as of yet.