John and Antreen Pfau, as Cal State San Bernardino’s founding president and his wife, left an enduring legacy that continues to grow and nurture nearly all aspects of the Inland Empire.
The Pfaus’ accomplishments will be celebrated on Thursday, Nov. 8, the 50th anniversary of his hiring as the university’s first president, when professors, staff, administrators, alumni, students and the community at large gather to honor them.
The event, which will be held from 3:30-6 p.m. at the Pfau Library, room 4005, is being organized by the CSUSB university advancement office.
John Pfau died in March 18, 2012, seven months after Antreen passed away on August 17, 2011. Both were 93 at the time of their deaths. John and Antreen were born within one day of each other. The couple had relocated with their two young children, Madelaine and Elly, to San Bernardino after John was named president of the new California State College in January 1962. John worked out of offices in downtown to put the pieces together for the opening of the new campus in northern San Bernardino. Antreen then became active in the community with the Valley Charity League and the Arrowhead Allied Arts Council.
When California State College at San Bernardino opened its doors on Sept. 28, 1965, he greeted the first class of 293 students and 33 faculty and staff.
Dr. Pfau’s vision for the new California State College was to emphasize liberal arts, based on the best traditions of the great Ivy League schools and the small elite private liberal arts colleges in the East. Activities both in and out of the classroom were designed to build on that intellectual focus, and he fielded an instructional staff of high-ranking academicians.
The university library, which was completed in 1970, was dedicated in John M. Pfau’s honor in 1982. Dr. Pfau said in 2005, “In retrospect my most important achievement over a period of 20 years was bringing together a first-rate faculty and staff to provide our students with an excellent learning experience.”
As the campus grew rapidly through the 1960s and ’70s, Dr. Pfau opened the college more freely to the community, shaping the mold for what Cal State San Bernardino has become today.
After his retirement, he and Antreen stayed in San Bernardino, where they continued to live for 17 years until relocating in Napa in 1999.
In the early 2000s, scholarship and book funds were established in the name of John Pfau, efforts that rose from the family’s firm belief in the power of education.
The Pfau Family Scholarship Fund and the John M. Pfau Book Endowment continues today and is providing scholarship opportunities for students and updating resources for the university library. Donations should be directed to the CSUSB Philanthropic Foundation, Pfau Family Scholarship Fund, John M. Pfau Book Endowment, California State University, San Bernardino, Office of Development, or visit the development website.
For more information on the celebration of the life and leadership of John and Antreen Pfau, call the university advancement office at (909) 537-5004.