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Volume 57, Number 13    November 9, 2009         

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In Memoriam

August Coppola
August Coppola, former dean of the College of Creative Arts, who was known for his big personality and even bigger vision for the arts, passed away Oct. 27 at the age of 75. Coppola served as dean from 1984 to 1992, pursuing an ambitious agenda that stressed the interdisciplinary education of the arts.

He founded the Purple Globe Awards in 1986, which honored and brought Danny Glover, Mel Gibson, Alice Walker and Coppola's siblings Francis Ford Coppola and Talia Shire to campus for a star-studded event. His tenure as dean was marked by a tireless drive to bring the arts to the public and grow the creative arts in San Francisco. 

Coppola co-founded the CSU Summer Arts Program in 1985 and created the Tactile Dome in San Francisco's Exploratorium. He pushed to create a High School for the Arts, which today enrolls nearly 1,000 students in San Francisco. Along with Professor Gregory Frazier, Coppola founded the AudioVision Institute at SF State. AudioVision provided audio description of movies, plays and TV shows for the visually impaired and premiered internationally at the Cannes Film Festival. In 1991, AudioVision won an Emmy for engineering achievement.

Under his guidance, the University built the Fine Arts building, naming the August Coppola Theatre after him in 1997. At the theatre dedication, President Robert Corrigan told of when Coppola took each department chair up in a helicopter ride to inspire faculty to embrace his vision for the new building.

While many will remember his big personality, many of those closest to Coppola remember his graciousness and caring nature."August Coppola was a singularly creative leader who for almost a decade inspired the students and faculty of our school of Creative Arts," Corrigan said. "He reminded us all of why the arts matter and that we are more creative than we know."

In addition to his work at SF State, Coppola also served on the CSU Board of Trustees from 1981 to 1984. He is survived by a brother, Francis Ford Coppola; a sister, Talia Shire; three sons, Christopher Coppola, Marc Coppola and Nicolas Cage; and six grandchildren. He also is survived by his companion, Lorrie Tennant.


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Last modified Nov. 9, 2009 by University Communications.