Charles "Chuck" Price

Department of Political Science
1965–2003

Few faculty members have had the far-reaching influence and reputation that Charles “Chuck” Price enjoyed as a political scientist specializing in California government.

Price received an offer from Chico State for a faculty position in 1965, and so began his distinguished 38-year career on campus. As he put it in an Inside Chico State profile in 1998, the political science department was so small when he arrived that its members “could fit into a telephone booth.” He enjoyed teaching small classes, which reminded him of his undergraduate days, and soon was bringing students with him on trips to Sacramento to learn the workings of the Capitol. To further assist political science students, Price created the CSU, Chico Sacramento Internship Program, which continues to this day, as does the Charles M. Price Internship Award, founded by the political science department in his honor. He also served the State Legislature as director of the California Assembly Fellowship Program.

In the 1970s, Price started writing about the California trend toward ballot initiatives and propositions, and became a national expert quoted frequently in the New York Times and other publications. His textbooks on California politics, such as California Government Today: Politics of Reform, co-written by Charles Bell, became required reading for state leaders, who often consulted with Price on various issues. Two legislators, U.S. Rep. Mike Thompson and former Assemblyman Stan Statham, are former students of his. For more than 30 years, Price was a prolific contributor to The California Journal, considered the top publication of its kind on state and local government. Along with authoritative pieces on the initiative process, Price wrote presciently on many topics including rising campaign costs, the changing qualifications of office holders and the growth of political talk radio.

Price earned his B.A. at Cornell College and master’s at University of Iowa. He received his Ph.D. in political science from USC.