Former CSULB Acting President June M. Cooper PassesPublished: February 1, 2012
June M. Cooper, former acting president of CSULB and retired executive vice chancellor of the California State University (CSU), passed away Jan. 10, at the age of 78.
One of seven children, Cooper was born in Queens, N.Y., on April 3, 1933, to William Fred Cooper Sr. and Margaret Cooper. As the daughter of a New York City police detective, she was encouraged to earn top grades and aim high in her professional career. She received a bachelor’s degree from Queens College, a master’s degree from Brooklyn College and a doctorate from New York University, where she was voted Outstanding Doctoral Student in 1964.
CSULB benefited greatly from Cooper’s leadership. She joined the faculty of the Department of Communicative Disorders in 1966, and during the next 25 years at the university served in a variety of assignments, including department chair, associate vice president for academic affairs–academic personnel, acting vice president for academic affairs, vice president for faculty and staff relations, vice president for student services and acting president.
In 1991, Cooper moved to the Office of the Chancellor where she held the position of vice chancellor for human resources and operations for the CSU system. She later served the CSU as executive vice chancellor/chief of staff.
“I had the privilege of knowing and working with Dr. June Cooper for many years. I found her to be a highly personable and effective leader who truly made a difference at CSULB,” said Douglas Robinson, Vice President for Student Services at CSULB. “As the first African-American female executive officer at CSULB, she was highly committed to responding to the needs of women, removing inequities and providing a supportive educational and working environment for all. She also was committed to enhancing the academic reputation of the university and she actively supported the recruitment of exemplary faculty, staff and students. The university is a better place from the work she accomplished during her years here.”
Cooper, who loved music and was a diehard Los Angeles Lakers fan, also was very active in the local community. She served on the board of directors for Volunteers of America, Long Beach Memorial Medical Health Services, American Heart Association, United Way Harbor Southeast Region, United Way of Greater Los Angeles, the National Conference for Community and Justice, Long Beach Opera, Public Corporation for the Arts, American Cancer Society, Leadership Long Beach, Leadership California, Children’s Dental Foundation, Volunteer Center, Children’s Clinic, and the YMCA, Long Beach.
Her efforts earned her a multitude of awards including the NCCJ Humanitarian Award, the Woman of the Year from the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and recognitions from the cities of Compton, Long Beach, Los Angeles, Lynwood and the state of California.
Cooper is survived by her two daughters, Julia Diane Whitley and Jill Lynn Greer, and three granddaughters.
Family, friends and members of the campus community who knew or worked with Cooper held a celebration of her life on Jan. 20 in the Earl Burns Miller Japanese Garden.