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Roger Berry (1939-2009): Marketing Professor Provided Career Expertise, Mentorship, and Support to Students and Colleagues
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Roger Berry (1939-2009): Marketing Professor Provided Career Expertise, Mentorship, and Support to Students and Colleagues

Roger Berry, emeritus associate professor of marketing and an alumnus of California State University, Dominguez Hills, died suddenly on April 9 at age 70. Most recently, Dr. Berry served the university through the Faculty Early Retirement Program (FERP) by spearheading a project to offer online undergraduate courses in marketing, after having spent ten years teaching online MBA courses in the college’s internationally recognized program.

James Strong, dean of the College of Business Administration and Public Policy (CBAPP), says that his colleague’s knowledge as a practitioner deeply enriched his instruction for his students.

“Roger worked so hard and remained so involved that many of his colleagues did not realize that he had joined the FERP,” he says “He was a highly respected faculty member whose innovation, excellence in instruction, and leadership added greatly to advancing the mission of the college.”

Roger William Berry was born in Lynwood, Calif. in 1939. He attended Lynwood High School and lived for many years in the Southern California communities of Cerritos and Lake Forest, moving to Prescott Valley, Ariz. in 2008. An avid sportsman, he was a founding member and longtime president of the Cerritos Rod and Gun Club. Among his many outdoor pursuits, he enjoyed deep sea fishing, hunting, photography, riding all-terrain vehicles and hiking with family and friends.

His daughter, Traci Goodbar, recalls that she and her siblings, and later their children, were taken by her father to tag along on college orientations at different campuses in the area from kindergarden age on up, as he reinforced the importance of higher education – years before he himself returned to college in middle age.

After a 25-year career in sales and marketing management, Berry earned a Bachelor of Science in finance from CSU Dominguez Hills 1988 and his Master of Business Administration at the university a year later. Berry’s business experiences include many years at Tri-Chem, Inc. of Harrison, NJ, where he held several positions including managing the company’s western and Canadian regions. He also owned and operated his own company, Bradco Industries in Buena Park, Calif. He received his doctorate in management from the University of North Texas in 1995.

“[Roger’s] decision to get a [college] degree in his mid 40s, earn a doctoral degree, and become a member of the faculty, active in all aspects of campus life show a remarkable determination,” says Kirti Celly, associate professor of marketing. “He is a role model for all deciding to take the road less travelled.”

Donald Barnett, emeritus professor of accounting and finance, remembers him as “my outstanding student, my wise and valued colleague, and my good friend.”

“I first knew [Roger] 20 years ago when he was my student in an MBA class,” Barnett says. “I was pleased when he came in as part-time faculty and then went off for his PhD, and again, when he returned [as] full-time faculty. On mornings when I came in early, he would already be on campus, and we would visit and consult, a very excellent way to start the day. Although I knew we were contemporaries, his passing seems out of the natural order of things.”

Berry began his faculty career at CSU Dominguez Hills in 1990 teaching business finance. He was appointed as a full-time lecturer in 1998, assistant professor of marketing in 1999, and granted tenure as an associate professor in 2003. He served as chair of the Department of Management and Marketing from 2004 to 2006 and was very involved in recruiting and mentoring new faculty. Dr. Berry joined the FERP in 2006 and taught half the typical course load until his death.

“Roger was always willing to lend a hand to anyone who asked him for help: students, faculty, staff, or administrators,” says Strong. “He ably served for many years as faculty advisor to the student marketing club and served on many committees and frequently on the committees in other departments.

“This is a tremendous loss,” Strong says. “Roger was a good friend of mine besides a great colleague. He was always trying to make the college better and was very dedicated and loyal to his students.”

James Ellis, Berry’s friend of more than 30 years since the days of the Cerritos Rod and Gun Club, lived near him in his retirement home of Prescott Valley, Ariz. He says that one of the professor’s greatest attributes was “his dedication to his students and a real desire to get to know them personally and help provide them with the best educational experience possible. I wish that I had been lucky enough to have even one professor with Roger's knowledge, dedication, and ability when I was obtaining my college degree.”

Berry is survived by his wife Georgia; children Traci Goodbar, Michael Hart, Michelle Perez; grandchildren John Dominguez, Joshua Dominguez, Brandon Perez, Contessa Perez and Ronald Goodbar.

A funeral service for Dr. Berry will be held on Friday, May 15, at Riverside National Cemetery, 22495 Van Buren Blvd., Riverside, Calif. at 9:40 a.m. Dr. Berry was a veteran of the U.S. Navy.

A memorial service hosted by the College of Business Administration and Public Policy will be held at Club 1910 on the CSU Dominguez Hills campus on Tuesday, May 12, from 3 to 5 p.m.

The family requests that donations be made to the Roger Berry Memorial Scholarship & Student Support Fund in lieu of flowers.

“Myself and Roger's family could think of no better way to honor Roger and his love for teaching than establishing a scholarship in his name that will live on and on,” says Ellis. “He would be so proud, that although his passing deprived him of the opportunity to return to teaching himself, he will continue to help provide deserving students with an opportunity to gain a quality education.”

To make a contribution, contact Dean James Strong at (310) 243-3745 or Greg Saks, vice president of University Advancement at (310) 243-3787.

- Joanie Harmon

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Last updated Thursday, April 30, 2009, 2:35 p.m., by Joanie Harmon