Charles B. Reed, who led university systems in California and Florida with a mix of passion for students and political savvy from his prior career as a governor's chief of staff, died Tuesday. Cal State announced his death at the age of 75.
Reed was chancellor of Florida's university system from 1985 to 1998 and then chancellor of the California State University System from 1998 until retiring in 2012. In those jobs, which he began after years as an aide to Florida Democrat Bob Graham, Reed was a blunt and tenacious advocate for his institutions, in ways that often put him at odds with some politicians, faculty unions and student leaders.
While he oversaw a major expansion of Cal State during his time there, his career closed out with five years of major budget cutbacks -- work he described in a 2012 Los Angeles Times article as difficult but important.
"I may have done some of the best work in my 40 years as an educator these last five years figuring out how to continue to provide access and fund the system, keep the doors open," Reed told the newspaper. "It's been a real struggle, and what I've seen is a lack of political will and a lack of political leadership in California."
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