Endowment honors former professor

Michelle Verne

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The Department of Political Science has received its first endowed professorship, after a bequest was received for $409,000 from Richard John in memory of his late partner, former political science professor Eugene C. Price.

“It is both timely and fitting that the department of political science will house an endowed professorship in the name of Eugene Price, who was one of the college’s and university’s long-serving and influential emeritus faculty and department chairs,” said Stella Theodoulou, dean of the College of Social and Behavioral Sciences.
“Professor Price’s work and commitment to students will endure through the generosity of Richard John. We are truly honored to be chosen by Mr. John to be the trustees of Professor Price’s legacy,” Theodoulou said.

Price was a professor in political science department at CSUN for over 30 years. He was elected chair for the 1988 to 1989 academic year and again from 1992 to 1994.

“I started back in 1985, so I worked with Dr. Price until he retired. To work with him was a pleasure. He joked a lot and the students really liked him. We had students up there everyday on the 8th floor visiting him,” said Cynthia Harris, administrative support coordinator. “If he knew about the endowment, I think he’d be ecstatic, this was his college, his school and everyone loved him here.”

Political science professor Matthew Cahn who worked with Price for over 14 years, said Price was always an enthusiastic and supportive colleague who was clearly dedicated to the students and to the university.

“We are all delighted, both as a consequence of Richard’s generosity and as a consequence of the real opportunities this support provides the department. In these days of serious budgetary constraints, we have cut back on everything,” Cahn said. “This endowment provides the department with an ongoing source of support for investing in teaching, learning and scholarship at a time when state funds are scarce.”

Political Science Department Chair Martin Saiz said the endowment would buy time out for the chair of the department so that he/she can be more effective as chair.

“The chairs class level will be reduced by one class. Right now, the chair has to teach one class per semester, so initially it will buy that class out so the chair won’t have to teach,” Saiz said. “As the endowment grows, it will buy out the class for the second semester so that the chair won’t have to teach at all.”

Saiz said that faculty members aren’t currently offered much incentive to be chair. The chair is elected from within the department senior faculty, and since the department is fairly young, there’s only a limited number of people who would qualify to be chair. In addition, there’s not much financial incentive involved.

“The chair has to work 12 months and the rest of the faculty are on a nine-month contract. Plus, there’s a loss in flexibility for the chair. The regular faculty can teach additional classes in the summer or do extended learning in other departments so they can make up the income,” Saiz said. “So it was kind of a loss of income to be the chair, with an increase in responsibilities. The course reduction will add an incentive for one of the faculty members to be chair.”

“Dr. Price was a major part of our department for many many years, and this provides the opportunity for a permanent presence,” Cahn said.