Members of the campus community, including emeriti, alumni and students, were among the hundreds of mourners in attendance at today’s funeral mass at Fullerton’s St. Juliana Falconieri Church for Milton A. Gordon, the longest-serving president in CSUF history.
Those paying their respects to Margaret Faulwell Gordon, his wife of 30 years, and other family members, included CSU Trustee Silas Abrego, a longtime member of Gordon’s administrative team, and CSUF President Mildred García.
The presiding priest, Rev. Michael Pontarelli, was accompanied by Deacon Charles Mitchell, who delivered the homily, asking mourners to set aside their grief and sorrow during the service “to celebrate the life of a truly remarkable man.”
Mitchell spoke of Gordon’s achievements during his presidency, including the expanded diversity of the student body, noting that it was Gordon’s goal to make Cal State Fullerton “a great university for all students, regardless of race, creed or religion.”
Eliciting smiles and nods of recognition from attendees, Mitchell also remarked on Gordon’s pride in the Titan baseball team, his delight in Indian food and the “freestyle” form of travel he enjoyed with his wife, exploring international destinations with no set itinerary beyond reservations for the first night’s lodging. “They just had fun, sharing new experiences,” he said.
Paul Miller, director emeritus of disability support services, also addressed the gathering, characterizing Gordon as a “valued friend and visionary leader.” He told personal stories of his interactions with Gordon on university issues and student matters, stories showcasing the former president’s commitment to creating opportunities for students to fulfill their academic and career goals.
One story referenced Gordon taking a position that wasn’t popular with other university leaders who were critical of him for raising the bar too high for their institutions to meet. Miller recalled Gordon telling him: “You can accuse me of raising the bar too high any day.”
Miller ended his remarks by saying, “I will be forever grateful that our paths crossed and our lives intertwined, if only for a short 27 years.”