California State University, Long Beach
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Former Cal State Long Beach President Steve Horn Dies at 79

Published: March 1, 2011

Former CSULB President and U.S. Congressman Steve Horn passed away at his home in Long Beach on Feb. 17 due to complications of Alzheimer’s Disease. He was 79.

Horn was CSULB’s third president, and served in that capacity for 18 years, from 1970-88, during which time the university grew in stature and distinction. His tenure proved to be a time of tremendous growth for the university, both in terms of academic programs and services as well as physical facilities on the campus.

“We at Cal State Long Beach were deeply saddened to learn of the passing of Steve Horn, who served the campus for more than 30 years, first as president for 18 of those years and then as a member of Congress,” CSULB President F. King Alexander said in a statement. “Our campus benefited greatly from his leadership and vision.

“Steve was responsible for establishing many programs that set the campus apart in terms of how students and the community were served. Programs focusing on faculty development, student learning assistance, disabled student services, child development and educational opportunities for senior citizens all were established during his presidency,” the president added. “Cal State Long Beach is a stronger university for Steve Horn’s leadership. Our deepest condolences are extended to his family, friends and colleagues.”

During his years at CSULB, Horn strengthened existing academic programs, reformed the general education requirements and created several innovative programs including the student internship program, faculty development, student learning assistance, the senior citizen program, the Disabled Student Resources Center, and the Honors program.

The physical look of the university also took shape under his direction as several campus buildings were erected while he was at the helm. Among those buildings were the Social Services/Public Affairs building, Brotman Hall, the Engineering and Computer Sciences complex, Industrial Technology, Microbiology, the Music complex, International House, Parkside Residence Halls and the Earl Burns Miller Japanese Garden.

As a university president, Horn and his leadership were greatly respected by his peers, so much so that his fellow college presidents recognized him by electing him chairman of the American Association of State Colleges and Universities in 1985. A year later, he was cited as one of the 100 most effective college presidents in the country in a 1986 national study.

Horn was also extremely active in the community. Among many positions, he chaired a regional United Way campaign, was a founding member and secretary of the Long Beach Economic Development Corporation and the Long Beach Economic Development Commission (the two groups that began the economic renaissance of Long Beach in the 1970s), vice chair of the Long Beach Chamber of Commerce, and member of the Mayor’s Task Force to save the Long Beach Symphony.

After stepping down as president, Horn stayed on as a professor of political science at the university from 1988-92, teaching courses on American government and the legislative process.

Then in 1993, he found a different way to serve the greater Long Beach community, including CSULB, when he was elected to Congress as a moderate Republican representing the most Democratic district in California, the 38th Congressional District seat. He would be re-elected to the post another four times, eventually spending 10 years as Long Beach’s representative until 2003.

Former Cal State Long Beach President Steve Horn
PHOTO BY DAVID J. NELSON
Steve Horn, CSULB President 1970-88

During his time in Congress, Horn chaired (1995-2002) the Subcommittee on Government Management of the Committee on Government Reform and led a major effort to improve the management and financial practices of the federal government that saved billions of taxpayer dollars. Known for his bipartisan approach to issues, he focused on balancing the budget, reforming campaign finance, and increasing funding for the arts, humanities, and sciences. He created and led the bipartisan coalitions in Congress that secured funding for the C-17 Airlift program, the Alameda Corridor, the Los Angeles River flood control project, and major projects at CSULB and other educational institutions.

When he stepped down from his congressional duties in 2003, the university recognized the unflagging support of Horn and his wife with the establishment of the Steve and Nini Horn Center.

Horn was born on May 31, 1931 and raised in San Juan Bautista, Calif. He received his bachelor of arts from Stanford University in 1953, his master of public administration from Harvard in 1955, and his Ph.D. from Stanford in 1958.

He was married for 57 years to Nini Moore Horn. They have two children, Marcia Horn and Steve Horn, Jr., and one grandson, Jonathan Horn.

A memorial will be held at a later date. The family requests that any donations be made to the University Library, California State University, Long Beach, c/o CSULB Foundation, 1250 Bellflower Blvd., Long Beach, CA 90840. To do so you may contact Mary Ann Solic, Director of Development for the University Library, at 562/985-4047.

Members of the CSULB community who would like to share a remembrance of Steve Horn for posting in the online spring issue of Beach Review magazine can e-mail their message to beach-review@csulb.edu.

–Rick Gloady