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Sidney Brossman; Ex-Community Colleges Chief

March 28, 1999

Sidney W. Brossman, the first chancellor of California's community college system, has died of cancer in San Diego. He was 76.

In 1968, Brossman became head of the new California Community Colleges. He served until 1977, helping guide the system as it split off from the state Department of Education and came under the control of a new Board of Governors. During his tenure, the number of colleges expanded from 82 to 104 and enrollment climbed from 500,000 to 1.3 million.

Among other accomplishments, Brossman is credited with establishing the student financial aid program. He was also an early proponent of recruiting minority students.

A former English professor, Brossman served as associate director of the Coordinating Council for Higher Education before becoming chancellor. The new job brought a $1,000 cut in salary.

"He was one of the founding fathers of the California Community Colleges, and his distinguished legacy will include having significantly increased access to quality higher education for millions of Californians," current Chancellor Thomas J. Nussbaum said in a statement.

After stepping down as chancellor, Brossman became director of instructional services for the San Diego Community College District, which included overseeing a $50-million-a-year military program with base and shipboard offerings in several states.

Brossman, who died Friday, is survived by his wife, Sylvia, and a son, Richard, of Los Angeles.

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