Francine Oputa, the former director of the Cross Cultural and Gender Center at Fresno State University in California, died on September 14. She was 70 years old.
Dr. Oputa enrolled at California State University, Long Beach in 1971. She transferred to California State University, Stanislaus and earned a bachelor’s degree in communication. She held a master’s degree from Fresno State University and an educational doctorate from the University of California, Davis.
During her 30-year career at Fresno State, Dr. Oputa also served as director of the Center for Women and Culture and director of the Central Valley Cultural Heritage Institute. She retired as director of the Cross Cultural and Gender Center in 2021.
In a statement, Saúl Jiménez-Sandoval, president of Fresno State University, said that Dr. Oputa was an “unwavering champion for diversity, equity, and inclusion, serving as the guiding light for discussions on challenging issues with integrity, resolve, and visionary leadership. Her impact on our campus community, both personally and professionally, is immeasurable. Dr. Oputa was a mentor and a source of inspiration to many of us. While we are collectively heartbroken over this tremendous loss, we are also deeply grateful for Dr. Oputa’s legacy of bridge-building, dialogue, and fellowship.”