Passing of former Regent David Gerber '50
Former Regent David Gerber '50 passed away Saturday, Jan. 2 after a long illness. An esteemed alumnus and university leader, Gerber received a BA degree in Communication from the College of the Pacific in 1950, and as a student, participated in Radio, Drama, Omega Phi Alpha, and Men's Football. He served as a University Regent from 1987 to 2001 and received an honorary doctorate from Pacific at the Convocation ceremony in 2002.
"From the first time I met him, it was obvious how much David loved Pacific," said President Emeritus Don DeRosa. "His life exemplified the best of Pacific values -- responsible leadership, innovative and lasting achievements in the entertainment industry, and generous service to Pacific and his community. He was a mentor to so many people with whom he worked and who admired him greatly."
In May 2009, DeRosa awarded David the President's Medal of Achievement at the Commencement Exercises in Stockton. At the time, DeRosa thanked David for his lifetime of engagement with Pacific as a student and athlete, alumni leader and Regent, acknowledged his many civic and philanthropic activities, and congratulated him on his highly successful career as a television and film producer.
A longtime television producer and studio executive, Gerber's accomplishments spanned over three decades of breakthrough, innovative programming for which he won Golden Globe, Emmy and Peabody Awards. He joined the television industry after graduation, rising quickly as his skills were recognized. He was a Senior Vice President at General Artists Corporation and Vice President at 20th Century Fox before forming his own television production company, David Gerber Productions, in 1972. In 1976, he won an Emmy for "Police Story" and was also nominated for "The Lindbergh Kidnapping Case." He is credited with revitalizing Columbia Pictures Television in the 1970s and MGM Television in the 1980s.
In 1996 Mr. Gerber was the recipient of the Lifetime Achievement Award bestowed at the 12th Annual Artios Awards, given by the Casting Society of America. In 2003 he received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Caucus for Television Producers, Writers and Directors. The Stockton Arts Commission presented him with a Career Achievement Award in 1988. The House Ear Institute honored Mr. Gerber as its Humanitarian of the Year in 1997. Due to his illustrious career, he has a star on Hollywood's Walk of Fame. He recently produced "Flight 93" (2006) that told the story of the brave passengers and crew aboard hijacked United Airlines Flight 93 on September 11, 2001. The film received seven Emmy nominations, including one for outstanding made-for-television movie.
David and Laraine founded Gerber Vineyards as a small family-owned vineyard in 1989. Their award winning Laraine Wines, which he renamed in her honor, can be found at premier restaurants and shops throughout California.
Born in Brooklyn, Gerber was a veteran of World War II and was held prisoner for 13 months in Austria. During his imprisonment, he formed a friendship with a fellow prisoner Stan Vaughan, '41, who told Gerber about Pacific and showed him a photo and letter he had received from Amos Alonzo Stagg, Pacific's legendary football coach. After completion of his military service, a pilot friend offered Gerber a ride aboard a Grumman fighter he was flying across the country to the Pacific Theater. He stopped in Alameda so Gerber could take a train to Stockton and meet Stagg at his home. With Stagg's recommendation, Gerber enrolled at Pacific. Gerber married actress Laraine Stephens in Morris Chapel in 1970.
The University is working with the family to plan a memorial event; details will be announced.