Marjorie Downing Wagner
Dr. Wagner, former president of Sonoma State University, was one of the first women to lead a public college or university and helped to break down barriers for women in academia.
Wagner was born in New York in 1917. She graduated from Yale University and served as dean at Sarah Lawrence College and Scripps College in Pomona, California. In 1974, she was selected as Sonoma State University’s third president. After her tenure with Sonoma State University, Wagner became vice chancellor for the California State University (CSU) system and later retired in 1982.
While at Sonoma State University, she encountered waves of student activism that challenged many administrative proposals. She was able to quell numerous demonstrations, particularly those that focused on campus environmental issues, by hearing out the students and agreeing with their logic. She died in 1997 in Santa Rosa.