Public Affairs, The California State University

CSU Honors the Memory of Trustee Peter G. Mehas

(left to right) Cal State L.A. alumnus Terrence James Robert, CSU Trustee Peter G. Mehas, and former Cal State L.A. President James M. Rosser during Cal State L.A.’s 2013 Commencement.

With sadness, the California State University community mourns the passing of one of its most beloved trustees – Peter G. Mehas.  Trustee Mehas, a life-long educator and advocate for students, died on Saturday, September 28.  He was appointed to the Board in 2007 and was serving an eight-year term ending in 2015.

In a statement issued on September 28, CSU Chancellor Timothy P. White said, “We are deeply saddened by the loss of such an iconic individual.  Dr. Mehas committed his entire life to everything positive through education, and his work and efforts touched education at every level.  The entire California State University family is diminished by his loss.”

Trustee Mehas was a tireless champion for public education.  During his illustrious educational career, he served as a teacher, school administrator, district superintendent, county superintendent of schools, legislative advocate at both a state and federal level for public education and as Governor George Deukmejian’s chief education advisor.

As a life-long educator with expertise in both the K-12 and community college systems, Trustee Mehas was tapped to lead a variety of Board committees.  In May of this year, he was selected to chair the Campus, Planning, Building and Grounds Committee.  He also led the search committee to hire the new president at Fresno State.  In 2011-12, he chaired the search committee to hire the new president at Cal Maritime and chaired the Governmental Relations Committee.

“We are deeply saddened by Pete’s untimely passing.  Pete made an indelible mark on the entire educational community through his decades of educational leadership and service to the California State University.  He will be remembered fondly as a champion for all students, and for his professional integrity and commitment to the university’s mission.  On a personal note, I will miss Pete’s counsel and his deep commitment to the governance of the CSU.  I specially selected Pete to the lead the search for the new president of Fresno State, which brought us President Joseph Castro.  Pete’s dedication to his alma mater, sensitivity to the needs of students and the campus community and keen understanding of the needs of the Fresno community made him my standout choice as the chair of the search committee.  I’m so glad that Pete led the effort that brought us strong leadership for Fresno State to continue its legacy of educational excellence.  Pete was an extraordinary person, a dependable leader and a tireless advocate for the CSU.  I will miss him greatly,” commented Board Chair Bob Linscheid.

According to Chairman Linscheid, Trustee Mehas had many areas of policy expertise.  “Pete’s passion was in supporting student success.  With his knowledge of the other public education systems in the state, he was an invaluable resource on policy issues pertaining to closing the achievement gap.”   To that end, he was a vocal supporter of the many strategies launched by the CSU to advance college persistence and degree completion rates, including the Graduation Initiative, Early Start and the CSU’s new efforts to expand learning communities.

Trustee Mehas received numerous national, state and regional honors during his many decades of service and leadership to the state’s educational community.  A champion for the CSU and a faithful alumnus of Fresno State, Trustee Mehas was honored in 2002 with the “Top Dog” Distinguished Alumni Award.  Learn more about Trustee Mehas’ contributions to public education by following this link.