Memorial services are pending for George J. Maslach, a former vice chancellor for research and academic affairs at UC Berkeley and longtime champion for academic excellence.
Professor Maslach died Nov. 11 at Kaiser Permanente Medical Center in Richmond after a stroke. He was 84.
Professor Maslach was an aeronautical engineer and an expert in the field of rarified gas dynamics. His research, which helped unravel complex problems of airflows at supersonic speeds, was important to the development of the national space programs. In the community, he worked in the 1950s to desegregate the Berkeley public schools.
Born in 1920 in San Francisco, he was the youngest of three children born to Polish immigrants; his father was a machinist, his mother, a seamstress.
The 1937 Galileo High School alum was the first in his family to graduate from college.
He received an undergraduate degree in mechanical engineering at UC Berkeley in 1942 after transferring from San Francisco City College.
That year he was among the nation's top engineers recruited to work on a top-secret radar project at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.
While in Boston, he married his Galileo High classmate Doris Anne Cuneo in 1943.
In 1952, he returned to UC Berkeley and was named dean of the College of Engineering in 1963.
During his nine-year tenure, the school rose to be the No. 2-ranked program in the country. He traveled to community colleges throughout the state in an attempt to diversify Cal's demographics.
"He would tell students that if they kept their grades up, he'd personally see to it that they got into the engineering school," said his wife. "He was from an immigrant family. He knew how difficult it was to get into college."
In 1972, Professor Maslach was appointed the university's provost for professional schools and colleges.
In 1981, he was named vice chancellor for research and academic affairs, and he is credited with updating the campus computer system.
"He was someone who was a doer and a problem-solver," said his daughter, Christina Maslach, a psychology professor and vice provost for undergraduate education at UC Berkeley.
In 1983, he retired, allowing him to devote more time to other interests, including sailing, hiking, backpacking and photography.
Still, he kept working, consulting on education issues for the governments of Austria, France, Saudi Arabia and others.
In 2001, a residence on the Clark Kerr campus was named the George and Doris Cuneo Maslach Hall in honor of the couple.
Professor Maslach's personal recollections -- including his interactions over the years with everyone from former President Lyndon Johnson to former Supreme Court Justice Earl Warren -- are contained in a 523-page oral history document as part of the Bancroft Library's Regional Oral History Office.
Survivors include his wife, Doris Anne Cuneo Maslach of Berkeley; sons, Steven of Bainbridge Island, Wash., and James of Novato.; daughter, Christina Maslach Zimbardo of San Francisco; and five grandchildren.
Funeral services will be private. A campus memorial service is pending in January.
The family suggests that memorial contributions be made to the Achievement Award Program, a scholarship program for students with extreme financial need who have shown personal growth despite adversity. Contributions can be sent c/o Deby Johns, California Alumni Association, 1 Alumni House, Berkeley, CA 94720.