Dian Elizabeth Self


Dian Elizabeth Self, a noted Sacramento author, historian and popular professor at American River College, died Saturday, Oct. 13, of complications from systemic sclerosis, a rare autoimmune disorder. She was 58.

Born in Christian County, Ky., on Nov. 25, 1953, Self spent her early years in Pagosa Springs, before the family moved to the Galt area in 1968.

Dian attended Galt High School, then attended Sacramento State University, where she obtained a bachelor’s degree in journalism.

Self returned to Sacramento State, and in 1989 obtained a master’s degree in anthropology. In 1995, she obtained a second master’s degree, in history.

In the early 1990s, Dian began teaching Cultural and Physical Anthropology, the History of Women and Ethnic Minorities as an instructor at San Joaquin Delta College, American River College and Golden Gate University.

In 1996, Dian Self became a full-time professor of History at American River College (ARC). 

In 2005, when there was an unexpected opening for a professor of American History at the University of London, Dian Self was selected from scores of applicants throughout the entire system of California Community Colleges.

In 2008, Professor Self retired from her teaching responsibilities due to complications of a rare systemic sclerosis affliction that eventually took her life.

Self is the daughter of the late Ivan James Self, of Galt, and Alice Barnett Self Sutherlin and the loving stepdaughter of Frederick D. Sutherlin, both of Farmington, N.M. Both her late father Ivan and her mother Alice were born in their homes in La Plata County, Colo.  She is also survived by her husband, Douglas E. Chandler, of Sacramento; brothers Neal James Self, of Elk Grove; Carl Ivan Self, of Galt; Earl Ben Self, of Meridian, Miss; and her sister Karen Fay Higashino, of Elk Grove.

Memorial services will be held Friday, Oct. 26, at 2 p.m. at St. Francis Church, 26th and K streets, in Sacramento, Calif. A reception will follow. In lieu of flowers, Dian requested that friends donate to the Scleroderma Foundation-Northern California Chapter, P.O. Box 60313, Sacramento, CA 95860.