California State University, Dominguez Hills alumnus Martín Donaciano Chavez was devoted to the university, continuing well beyond graduating with a B.S. in public administration in 1982 and a master’s in public administration in 1985. He died on Friday, Sept. 21, after suffering a stroke. He was 53.
Martín served on the Alumni Advisory Council for many years to the time of his death, and had served as president in 2006 when it was known as the Alumni Association. He was part of the leadership committee that organizes the College of Business Administration and Public Policy’s Dean’s Medallion Awards Luncheon, and was on the CBAPP Dean’s Advisory Board for many years. He also served on a number of community-based committees for university, including for the annual President’s Scholarship Reception fundraiser, and was a familiar face at nearly every campus celebration in recent years, from graduation and convocation, to the 50th anniversary events and the ribbon cutting for the library wing.
Deeply engaged in his home town of Compton and having worked at the Port of Los Angeles for decades, Martín helped develop strong connections in his communities, especially in the area of education. Through his work at the port, he took an active role in the International Trade Education Program (ITEP) that provides local high school students with opportunities to learn about international trade.
“Martín was from the toughest part of Compton. Martín made the move [up], by his boot heels. And he did not forget that,” said Terry Molano, associate director of testing office at CSU Dominguez Hills. “That is a really important component of Martín Chavez. He did not forget his background. He did not forget that other people need opportunities, need a helping hand.”
Molano, who worked closely with Martín over the years in the testing office, said that in addition to his full-time job, Martín devoted his Saturdays to serving as a test proctor for the university. It was a job he began doing while an Educational Opportunity Program (EOP) undergraduate student and later stepped forward to supervise and handle the scheduling of numerous other proctors. He continued in both capacities to the time of his death.
“His charisma kept [the proctors] coming back,” said Molano. “He was one of those guys that was just involved. He [made] connections. His passing will leave a giant hole.”
Prior to working for the Port of L.A., Martín was the recruitment officer for the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power.
Martín is predeceased by his father Martín Chavez, and survived by his mother Elvera, and six siblings: Elsa, Cecelia, Daniel, Patrick, Linda and Sarah Serrano, and many nephews and nieces.
Funeral services for Martín Chavez were held on Friday, Sept. 28, at All Souls Mortuary Chapel in Long Beach. An online obituary honoring Martin can be found at www.allsoulsmortuary.com/obituaries.html.
A Martín Chavez Memorial Fund is being established through the university and will benefit students. For more information and how to contribute, please contact Alumni Programs at (310) 243-2237 or visit www.csudh.edu/alumni/.