George Giacumakis, professor emeritus of history and director emeritus of Cal State Fullerton’s Irvine Campus, died April 4 following heart surgery.
Giacumakis originally joined the campus in 1963, teaching middle eastern history and serving as department chair from 1972 to 1975. He left campus to head the American Institute of Holy Land Studies in Jerusalem in 1978 but returned to CSUF six years later.
He was named acting director of the university’s first south county branch on the grounds of Saddleback College in 1989 with a first fall enrollment of 383 students. He was named to the permanent position in 1990, when the fall enrollment was projected to reach more than 1,000.
Giacumakis served until 2007 and was on hand to see the operation move to the former El Toro Marine Corps Air Station in 2002. Enrollment grew to more than 3,000 students. He retired two years before it was relocated to its present site at 3 Banting, Irvine.
As a scholar on the Near East, ancient and modern Middle East and religious history, Giacumakis wrote several papers and the book “The Akkadian of Alalah.” He also was an editor of Young’s Bible Dictionary and the International Standard Version of the Bible.
Giacumakis earned both his master’s degree and doctorate in Mediterranean studies from Brandeis University.