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Chico State

Fond Farewell: Professor Emeritus Charles “Chuck” Price

Photograph of Charles Price wearing a suit and dress shirt. He is looking up and away from the camera.
Photos by Jason Halley / University Photographer

Professor Emeritus Charles “Chuck” Price, who taught for 38 years, passed away on July 22, 2023. He was 87.

Born in Chicago on October 6, 1935, Price graduated from York High School in Elmhurst, Illinois, before attending Cornell College, where he was introduced to his two great loves: his wife Marge and political science. He went on to earn a master’s degree from the State University of Iowa and a doctorate from the University of Southern California (USC).

Before joining the Chico State faculty in 1965, Price taught at various institutions across Southern California, including Venice High School, USC, California Polytechnic State University, San Luis Obispo, California State University, Long Beach, and California State University, Los Angeles. He retired from the University in 1998 but continued to work for five more years as a retired annuitant.

Prolific in his writing and research endeavors, Price received a Professional Achievement Honor in 1981. In 2017, he was inducted into the Chico State Emeritus and Retired Faculty and Staff Association Hall of Honor.

Price enjoyed teaching at Chico State because of the small class sizes, which were reminiscent of his undergraduate days, Marge Price said. He would invite students over to the couple’s home to take their oral exams, but not before they played a game of ping pong.

“He really enjoyed the students a lot. He used a seminar approach to teaching, which encouraged his students to participate in discussions,” she said. “He loved working at Chico State.”

Price’s interest in his students’ success was paramount. For decades, he taught students about state and local government by taking them on weekly trips to the state Capitol. He also created and coordinated the Chico State Sacramento Internship Program that continues today, three decades later. He was instrumental in helping students find professional careers in California politics and government. In 1999, the political science department established the Charles Price Sacramento Internship Award to help political science majors gain real-world experience at the Capitol.

Four people stand next to each other for a posed photo, including Professor Emeritus Charles Price, who is the second from left.
Nearly 20 political science students have received the Charles Price Sacramento Internship Award to help them gain real-world experience working at the Capitol.

Professor Diana Dwyre, the internship coordinator for political science, recalls a lively debate with Price on the merits of direct democracy during her job interview in 1997. Over the years, the two had many more spirited discussions about politics, human nature, and the state of world affairs.

“I will so miss these conversations with Chuck, his quick wit, and his friendship. He was a cherished colleague and mentor,” she said. “Chuck also was beloved by his many students, especially those he guided through his Sacramento internship program. Many of them went from an internship with Professor Price to impressive careers in and around state government. Chuck inspired so many of us, and we will miss him so.”

Professor Emeritus Irv Schiffman said Price was well-loved by his students who interned in Sacramento, many of whom went on to work in the Capitol as legislators and lobbyists.

“Chuck’s state politics program gave Chico State a respected place in Sacramento, where legislators welcomed our students as interns—and staff—for decades,” said Michele Shover, a professor emeritus from the political science department. “He published regularly, and his sense of humor made him a favorite colleague.”

Few faculty members have had the wide-reaching influence and reputation that Price enjoyed as a political scientist specializing in California government. He was a regular consultant to California legislators and administrators on a variety of issues. Price also wrote dozens of articles on California trends and became a national expert, frequently quoted in the media, including The New York Times, Los Angeles Times, and The Washington Post. He also co-authored textbooks on California politics, including California Government Today: Politics of Reform, which became required reading for state leaders. For more than 30 years, Price also wrote for The California Journal, considered the top publication of its kind on state and local government.

An avid bicyclist, Price loved commuting to work on his bike and riding through Bidwell Park. Despite decades of mobility issues, he was determined to remain active throughout his life, playing golf, tennis, and going cross-country skiing. Price also enjoyed attending University performances, North State Symphony concerts, and the opera, and “never saw a movie he didn’t like,” Marge said.

Price is survived by his wife of 64 years, Marge; sons Jeff and Kevin; daughter Andrea; a daughter-in-law, and two grandchildren. No memorial services are planned.

Memorial contributions can be made to the Charles Price Sacramento Internship Award at Chico State. The University flag will be lowered Wednesday, August 9, in his memory.