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In Memoriam: Phil Gianos, Professor Emeritus of Political Science

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Phillip L. Gianos, professor emeritus of political science, died on March 4 at the age of 77. He is survived by his son, Chris.

Gianos joined the faculty in 1971. In his time with CSUF, he served in numerous roles, including as chair of the Division of Politics, Administration, and Justice and associate dean of the College of Humanities and Social Sciences, chairing numerous senate and search committees–including the faculty personnel committee. 

Gianos earned his B.A. in political science from San Diego State University, and his Ph.D. in political science from UC Riverside. He was a noted scholar of politics and film, and his 1998 book, Politics and Politicians in American Film, was named one of the Outstanding Academic Books of 1998 by Choice

Gianos left an indelible mark on his students and colleagues. Former colleague Dean Emeritus Tom Klammer said: “Phil had a warm heart and an ironic sense of humor.  His response to many a crazy situation at the university was a certain devilish half smile, accompanied by a glint in his eyes.  His ability to relate to his colleagues and to listen carefully to their concerns made him an excellent chair of the division.  Even after he retired, he was sought after for his advice and mediation in disputes.” 

Former colleague Professor Emeritus Keith Boyum also noted Phil’s wit and his scholarly bona fides, noting that he “nearly instinctively went to Phil for collaboration and he was right there.  We designed surveys together; we released results after collaborating on what to say; and we even co-authored articles and papers using the survey data.”

Former colleague Professor Steve Stambough said, “It was impossible not to be drawn to Phil Gianos as a friend and mentor.  The first thing people would notice was his laugh which was incredible.  Quickly, however, it became clear that behind that laugh also was someone who cared deeply for his students and his colleagues.”

As both a former student and colleague of Phll’s, Professor Shelly Arsneault said she feels, “particularly fortunate. Phil was a fantastic teacher– funny, irreverent, and smart. He was a mentor to me then, writing letters of recommendation for me to graduate school, and then a mentor again when I became faculty in PAJ. Much of how I approach my work is a direct result of Phil’s good influence. He was a force, and is sorely missed.”

Matthew Jarvis