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Thanks & Recognition: Gus and Erika Manders

eNews Edition: Spring 2019

Gus and Erika Manders
Gus and Erika Manders

It is with heavy hearts that we join the Manders family in remembering the life and legacy of CSUN alum Gus Manders, who passed away in December 2018 at the age of 97.

The Oviatt Library is forever grateful for the generous contributions from Gus and his wife, Erika. Their active participation and thoughtful support over the last several years has facilitated library student employee scholarships, exhibit receptions, special lectures, rare books, and archival collections dealing with U.S. history, especially World War II history.

Gus grew up amidst prevalent and rising antisemitism in Nazi Germany. He fled the country at the age of 16. He arrived in the United States in 1936, but returned to Europe during World War II as an intelligence officer involved in the interrogation of high level members of the defeated Nazi regime.  Gus later became a CPA and raised his family in the San Fernando Valley. Gus received his MBA from CSUN (formerly San Fernando Valley State College) in 1964. He was also a founding member of the SAGE Society, participating for many years.

thank you letter from scholarship recipient
Thank you letter from student assistant and scholarship recipient Debbie Salazar

As a perpetual student of life, Gus continued his education into his 70s in the Open Master’s Program at CSUN. During that time, he wrote the charter for Rho Sigma Chi, a fraternity/sorority for students older than 40. The group’s very first fundraiser was designed to help adult returning students who could not afford to buy textbooks. Gus enjoyed returning to CSUN after retirement to simply “study things without the pressure of graduating.”

Erika Manders, fondly known as “Ricky,” has also led an eventful life. She grew up in Austria and survived wartime challenges during World War II.  She met Gus after the war, fell in love, and moved to the United States with him. After raising three daughters, two of whom are CSUN graduates, she and Gus experienced the joy of four grandsons and four great-grandchildren. Along with Gus, Ricky was proud to support the mission of education.

Gus and Ricky enjoyed attending Oviatt Library events. They were especially fond of the annual Library student assistant scholarship reception, where they would personally meet the students they directly supported.

The Manders were deeply devoted to one another and their family, enjoying a happy, peaceful life in the San Fernando Valley for over 65 years.  We will always remember the gentle and devoted Gus Manders, and the genuine kindness both he and Ricky shared with the CSUN community and the Oviatt Library.