Recognized by the university as a “kind and helpful adviser to students,” Wacira W. Gethaiga, professor emeritus of Afro-ethnic studies, died Oct. 9.
During his 36 years of service at Cal State Fullerton, beginning in 1969, Gethaiga helped to establish and chair the Afro-Ethnic Studies Department. He and fellow faculty members hoped to increase black enrollment on campus with their curriculum and by visiting surrounding high schools.
As the university’s black population rose, he then worked to create a space for students to socialize and receive academic assistance; this was the beginning of the African American Resource Center.
An active scholar, Gethaiga contributed to such books as, “Class, Culture and Race in American Schools,” “Talk That Talk, an Anthology of African-American Storytelling” and “Social Welfare in Africa.” He also served as resident director of the California State University’s International Program in Zimbabwe.
Gethaiga received his bachelor’s degree from Occidental College, master’s degrees from UC Berkeley and Chapman College, and a doctorate from Claremont Graduate School.
Funeral services will be held at 10 a.m., Oct. 18, at Loma Vista Mortuary, 701 E. Bastanchury Rd., Fullerton.