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Harry Finestone, 83; Longtime Cal State Northridge Educator

September 13, 2003|From a Times Staff Writer

Harry Finestone, a longtime Cal State Northridge official who played a key role in helping the university revise its general education curriculum, died Sept. 3 after a long illness. He was 83.

An English teacher, Finestone joined the university in 1962, when it was known as San Fernando Valley State College.

Though he gained a reputation as a fine teacher, Finestone made his mark on campus in administration.

He chaired the English department from 1966 to 1970, and then served as dean of academic planning and associate vice president for academic programs from 1970 to 1983.

Finestone supervised the comprehensive reform of general education at the university, coordinated education innovation with surrounding community colleges, and oversaw the school's Institute for the Advancement of Training and Learning.

When social unrest erupted on campus in the 1960s, he helped negotiate agreements that led to extensive diversification of the student body. Finestone retired in 1990.

Born in Atlanta, Finestone earned his bachelor's degree at Emory University in 1941 and a master's degree at the University of Chicago the next year.

He served in the Army Air Forces during World War II.

After the war, Finestone completed his doctorate at the University of Chicago, and started his teaching career.

He taught at Roosevelt University, the University of Virginia and the University of North Carolina in Greensboro before joining the Northridge faculty.

Finestone coauthored "The Conscious Reader," a widely used college text, and was co-editor of "The World of the Short Story."

He is survived by his wife, Mary Eve; a daughter, Anne; two sons, Peter and Stephen; and four grandchildren.

The family suggests that memorial donations be made to the Cal State Northridge Foundations for the Harry Finestone Memorial Award, c/o Gailia Brown, director of development, 18111 Nordhoff St., Northridge, CA 91330-8252.

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