Noted physicist David S. Saxon dies at 85

December 9, 2005

Noted physicist David S. Saxon, who headed the University of California system from 1975 to 1983, died at age 85.

Saxon died Thursday at University of California at Los Angeles Medical Center after a long illness, the hospital said in a statement.

He was one of 31 University of California professors who refused to sign loyalty oaths, which required all employees to affirm they were not members of the Communist Party, imposed by the Board of Regents in 1950, reported The Los Angeles Times Friday. Some 130 University of California employees were fired for refusing to sign the loyalty oaths.

After the California Supreme Court struck down the loyalty oath in 1952, Saxon and the others were reinstated.

The physicist, born in Minnesota and educated at the Massachusetts of Institute of Technology, became the No. 2 man under UCLA Chancellor Charles E. Young in 1967.

He was known as a fiscal conservative who initiated reviews of all departments and set priorities for funding and cutting back what he thought were weak department while bolstering strong ones.

He is survived by his wife of 65 years, Shirley; six daughters; and six grandchildren.

Copyright 2005 by United Press International

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