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Irene Lange: 50 Years a Titan

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For more than 50 years, Irene Lange has shared her marketing knowledge and experience with thousands of business students. In honor of her efforts and dedication beyond five decades, Cal State Fullerton today recognized the veteran chair and professor of marketing as the University’s longest-serving faculty member, during the University Awards Program.

“I’ve had the pleasure to speak about Dr. Lange’s service and contributions many times over the years. She is an inspiration and a role model for our students and a distinguished member of our campus,” said Anil Puri, interim provost and vice president for academic affairs, and the immediate past dean of Mihaylo College of Business and Economics.

Lange, who spent eight of her first 12 years of life in refugee camps before immigrating to the United States with her mother in 1951, joined the University in 1965. It was during a period when women in business were limited to the ranks of sales clerks — good enough to pitch products in a store, but not allowed to determine how to market the merchandise across the nation.

When Lange applied for her first teaching position, she was told she was too young — and a woman. But she was treated differently when she applied for a position at Cal State Fullerton.

“Dr. Lange has dedicated her professional career to the advancement of the department, the college and the University,” Puri continued, noting her 41-year tenure as chair of the Marketing Department. “She has been a champion for international partnerships and exchange programs, helped expand curriculum to include courses in international trade, and forged meaningful relationships across disciplines and departments.”

The educator collaborated with the Department of Modern Languages and Literatures in the College of Humanities and Social Sciences to create the international business program, which involves foreign language proficiency and business acumen. She was a member of the University’s advisory board that worked to establish the business school and helped develop an international faculty/student exchange effort between Kaunas University of Technology, in her native Lithuania, and Cal State Fullerton.

In 1998, she became the first woman to receive an honorary doctorate from Kaunas University, where a hall was later named in her honor. In addition, she has been honored with the Excellence in Education Award from Phi Kappa Phi, the Outstanding Faculty Award from Mihaylo College of Business and Economics, the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Marketing Educators Association and, last year, the U.S. Department of Commerce bestowed the International Trade Administration’s Certificate of Appreciation, in recognition of her years of outstanding global business education.

“We recognize Dr. Irene Lange today, not only for her long and dedicated service, but also for her remarkable compassion and concern for her students’ well-being and education,” said Puri as the audience gave her a standing ovation. “She is an outstanding humanitarian and teacher.”

A list of all campus members honored for years of service, including James Santucci, who has been a member of the CSUF faculty for 45 years, is available online.