Professor and chair of marketing, Irene Lange received the Lifetime Achievement Award on April 8. The award recognizes her array of accomplishments over her career at Cal State Fullerton since 1965.
Lange, a Lithuanian native, came to the United States in 1951.
With an intense passion for learning, she powered her way through school and received her Bachelorâ€™s, Masterâ€™s and Ph.D. from the University of Illinois.â€œI could have kept going to school forever,â€ Lange said. â€œI liked being a student; thatâ€™s why I like teaching â€“ itâ€™s like being a student because I learn new things all the time.â€
When Lange began applying for jobs after receiving her bachelorâ€™s degree, she found that the job market was discriminatory. It was the 1960s, and most employers were looking for â€œa male over 25 years old,â€ Lange said.
Lange was determined to not let the standards of the day keep her from securing a job in her desired industry. She persevered until she landed a marketing job at 21 years old â€“ a job that had asked for a male over 25 years old.
Her colleagues note that her tenacity is also evident in her work at CSUF.
â€œ(Irene) is outspoken, especially when one of her mentees or causes needs support,â€ said marketing professor Katrin Harich. â€œShe is courageous and will â€˜give a piece of her mindâ€™ to just about anybody â€“ be it a dean, a vice president or a president.â€
Lange has been reelected as department chair by faculty since 1975.
â€œDr. Lange is highly respected by her faculty,â€ said Irene Matz, associate dean for the College of Communications. â€œSheâ€™s a great leader who motivates, encourages and inspires to go beyond a persons expectations.â€
Matz said Lange is known for her big heart and for being fiercely loyal. Additionally, Matz said Lange is also known for encouraging and motivating her faculty to attend mandatory and non-mandatory university events, like commencement and award ceremonies. According to Matz, Langeâ€™s faculty is usually the highest in attendance at these events.
â€œIrene knows us â€“ her faculty members â€“ well, both in our strengths and weaknesses,â€ Harich said. â€œShe allows us to pursue venues that let us shine and be fulfilled. It makes her happy to see us succeed.â€
Lange is not new to being recognized for her accomplishments. In 1998, she received an Honorary Doctorate from the Kaunas University of Technology in Lithuania. She was honored for what she has contributed to the university since 1993 by helping to build a marketing curriculum from the ground up. Additionally, she and other CSUF faculty members have donated books to Kaunas to build a library.
Lange thrives on her daily experiences with her students. She said she does not only teach them, they teach her.
â€œI donâ€™t care what type of questions students have, whether they are considered silly or juvenile. I think all questions are refreshing,â€ Lange said. â€œI like helping students find out what theyâ€™d like to do for careers.â€
Studentsâ€™ futures are top priority, according to Lange.
â€œStudents have to differentiate themselves through internships and experience to prepare for the job market because things are constantly changing,â€ Lange said.
Lange agrees with faculty members, like Matz, that she will never retire.
â€œAs long as Iâ€™m enjoying (teaching), Iâ€™m healthy and Iâ€™m making a contribution, then Iâ€™d like to stay here,â€ Lange said.