Timeline & Milestones

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The Master
The first classes open
San Francisco State


April 14 – Governor Pat Brown signs the Donahoe Higher Education Act (also known as "The Master Plan"), uniting the University of California, the California State University, and the California Community Colleges system, and differentiating the missions of each.

San Diego State joins the California State College (CSC) system. Founded in 1897, San Diego State University is the oldest and largest higher education institution in the San Diego region.

San Francisco State becomes part of the California State College system. Founded in 1899, San Francisco State was the first normal school (teachers' college) in the nation to require high school diplomas for admission.

Stanislaus State College first classes open
Rose Parade

The first classes open in September at Stanislaus State College on the Stanislaus County Fairgrounds. The college was authorized in 1959 as the Master Plan discussions were underway.

The California Polytechnic University (now Cal Poly Pomona and Cal Poly San Luis Obispo) entered its 12th float in the Rose Parade. The Cal Poly float has appeared in the Rose Parade every year since 1949, winning nearly 50 awards and trophies over the years.


Sonoma State College open

The Board of Trustees assumes responsibility for the CSU system. The Board of Trustees governs the entire 23-campus system, adopting rules, regulations and policies governing the CSU.

Sonoma State College opens to 250 students, offering the first Bachelor of Arts degree in elementary education.


Glenn S. Dumke

The State Relations office is established in Sacramento. The office was created to represent and advocate for the CSU's interests with state government.

Glenn S. Dumke, president of San Francisco State College, is appointed chancellor after Buell Gallagher's resignation. During Dumke's 20-year chancellorship, the CSU's student population tripled and the board approved the modification of admission standards to require college-preparatory high school curriculum.


The State Academic Senate
California State College Student Presidents Association

The International Programs office is established at San Francisco State College. Programs send students to five countries: France, Germany, Spain, Sweden and China (Taiwan). Since its inception, over 15,000 CSU students have taken advantage of this unique opportunity.

The State Academic Senate, the official voice of CSU faculty in matters of systemwide concern, is established.

The California State College Student Presidents Association (CSCSPA) is founded. Later renamed the California State Students Association (CSSA), the organization represents each campus student association on issues affecting students.


LA State College, whose campus was built in 1955 and first admitted students in 1959, is officially
renamed CSCLA and becomes part of the California State College system.


CSC Palos Verdes
CSU San Bernardino
Polytechnic University at Pomona
CSC Bakersfield

CSC Palos Verdes, later to change its name to CSU Dominguez Hills, opens to students. College enrollment totals 27 freshmen and 14 juniors, and its first commencement ceremony in 1967 saw four students graduate. Today, nearly 14,000 students attend CSU Dominguez Hills.

CSCSB (known today as CSU San Bernardino) opens to students on its original three-building campus. Today, CSU San Bernardino is home to the Coussoulis Arena, the largest indoor venue in San Bernardino and Riverside counties.


California Polytechnic University at Pomona becomes a separate polytechnic state college campus. The university first opened in 1938 with an all-male enrollment of 110 students as the Voornis Unit at Cal Poly San Luis Obispo. In 1961, 329 women joined the student body. Today Cal Poly Pomoma supports the education of over 21,000 students.

The Government Relations office is established in Washington, D.C. Known today as the Office of Federal Relations, it leads system efforts to formulate and coordinate federal priorities of the CSU's 23 campuses.


CSC Bakersfield opens to students in spring. The city of Bakersfield was chosen as the site of the newest CSC campus because it was the largest isolated metropolitan area in the U.S. without a senior college or university.


The Statewide Alumni Council is organized. The council represents the campus-based alumni organizations, alumni and the CSU. As of 2010, the CSU had over 2.5 million alumni.


Systemwide name change

Systemwide name change to California State University and Colleges is authorized by legislature and Gov. Ronald Reagan; 14 of 19 campuses earn "university" designation, becoming CSU campuses.


Systemwide affirmative action office is established. The office addressed issues related to overcoming ethnic, economic and social underrepresentation in the makeup of the student body at the CSU.


Senate Bill 381 changes the names of four CSU universities: Humboldt State University, San Diego
State University, San Francisco State University and San José State University.


The CSU Chancellor's Office

First student trustee is appointed; second student trustee added in 2000. Student trustees are appointed by the governor from nominees proposed by the California State Student Association.

The CSU Chancellor's Office moves to its first permanent headquarters building in Long Beach. The office was previously located in leased space in Inglewood (1961-65) and later in the heart of Los Angeles.


The California State University The State Academic Senate

The Center for California Studies is founded at CSU Sacramento and administers the nationally-recognized Capitol Fellows program. Former fellows include a justice of the California Supreme Court, members of United States Congress and state legislature, state and local government officials, community leaders, and many more.

The State University and Colleges system is designated "The California State University."

W. Ann Reynolds assumes the chancellorship. Her eight-year administration focused on teacher education, the arts and attracting women to science and technology.


The CSU Fullerton football team makes it to the 1983 California Bowl after winning its first
conference championship.


awarded the Velodrome for the 1984 Olympics

CSU Dominguez Hills is awarded the Velodrome for the 1984 Olympics. More than 8,530 spectators watched the U.S. cycling team win nine gold medals.


The Summer Arts program is created, debuting as a summer dance program on the CSU Long Beach campus. Today, the Summer Arts program is located at CSU Fresno, offering two-week-long workshops in theatre, dance, music, visual arts, creative writing, new media and arts education.


oceanographic ship

CSU Fullerton's softball team wins the NCAA Division I National Championship. The team featured All-Americans Connie Clark and Chenita Rogers, who were instrumental in the win.

USNS MAURY, the largest and fastest oceanographic ship in the world, is built. The ship was later donated to Cal Maritime and renamed Training Ship Golden Bear. Students experience a two-month international training cruise onboard the T.S. Golden Bear as part of Maritime’s curriculum.


San José State wins the NCAA women's golf championships under coach Mark Gale. The Spartans take the title again in 1989 and 1992 and tie for the national championship in 1991 and 1996. San José State is the first university to capture the NCAA championship three times.

The Chancellor's Doctoral Incentive Program (CDIP) is established as the largest program of its kind. The program provides loans to a limited number of individuals pursuing full-time doctoral degrees at accredited universities throughout the United States. After participants receive their doctoral degrees and obtain a qualifying instructional position at the CSU, a portion of their loan from this program is forgiven each year.


Gov. George Deukmejian signs SB365 into law, reconstituting the San Diego State satellite campus as CSU San Marcos, the first comprehensive U.S. university to be founded in two decades.


ground is broken on the site of an old poultry farm

In February, ground is broken on the site of an old poultry farm, and construction begins on the permanent campus of California State University San Marcos. Later in the year, CSU San Marcos admits its first 448 students, all juniors and seniors.


Barry Munitz assumes the chancellorship. He introduced corporate management practices to the CSU, including implementing performance-based salary increases for faculty, evaluating campus presidents on their private sector fundraising ability and mandating a common financial and data management system for the CSU campuses.


Blenda J. Wilson becomes the third president of CSU Northridge. She is the first African-American
woman in the U.S. to preside over a university with 30,000 or more students.


Maritime Academy joins the CSU system Fullerton's baseball team wins its third NCAA National Championship Monterey Bay opens on the former site of Fort Ord

California State University Maritime Academy joins the CSU system. Located in Vallejo, Cal Maritime is one of only seven degree-granting maritime academies in the U.S. and the only one on the West Coast.


CSU Fullerton's baseball team wins its third NCAA National Championship, beating USC 11-5 in the College World Series. The team is honored by President Bill Clinton at the White House.

CSU Monterey Bay opens on the former site of Fort Ord, a decommissioned army base. The transformation of the 77-year-old military outpost into a full-fledged university took only 13 months. Students found themselves moving into their new homes while the paint was still drying.


The CSU requires high school graduates to take college prep classes for admission. Requirements now include four years of English; three years, math; two years, laboratory science; two years, social science; two years, foreign language; one year, visual or performing arts; and three years, electives.


The Board of Trustees unanimously supports the Cornerstones Report, a systemwide planning framework that articulates the values, priorities and expectations for a stronger, more successful CSU.

Tracy Caldwell

Tracy Caldwell (Fullerton, B.S. Chemistry, ’93) is selected for the 1998 NASA astronaut training class. As a mission specialist scientist, Caldwell will serve on the International Space Station.

The CSU's only Native American Studies Program is established at Humboldt State University. The Humboldt State service area has the largest indigenous Indian population of any part of California.

Charles B. Reed assumes the chancellorship of the CSU. During his chancellorship, Reed has demonstrated his passion and commitment to serving the needs of all students and significantly improving access to underrepresented students. He is an ardent supporter of the CSU and champions higher education in California and throughout the country.

Charles B. Reed



CalStateTEACH, the California State University's alternative teacher education program, begins. Aimed at elementary school teachers seeking credentials, the program uses Internet, video and print materials to deliver high-quality education to teachers wherever they live in California.


The nation's first Central American Studies program is established at CSU Northridge. The university has one of the largest groups of Central American students in the country, most of Salvadorian and Guatemalan descent.

The Center for Community Engagement is established. Since its inception, CCE has participated in service-related activities such as service learning, voter registration drives, community-based research and forums, internships, and community service. More than 1.2 million CSU students have engaged in a range of community service learning activities since 1999. Their contributions form a minimum wage equivalent of more than $1.3 billion.


Channel Islands opens

CSU Channel Islands, formerly an extension of CSU Northridge, opens for the fall semester with approximately 250 transfer students. The first freshman class arrives the following year.


The CSU publishes its first systemwide Economic Impact Study, recognizing the significant positive effects the university has on California. Updated in 2010, the study found that for every $1 the state invests, the CSU generates $5.43 for California's economy.


Super Sunday Hayward is renamed CSU East Bay

The CSU launches its first Super Sunday event. Growing from 24 to more than 100 churches, the program connects with and informs African American students and their families about how to prepare for and succeed in college.

CSU Hayward is renamed CSU East Bay, reflecting its broader mission to serve the entire eastern San Francisco Bay area.


Access to Excellence is founded as the successor to Cornerstones. It becomes the new strategic plan for the university system, anticipating California’s needs in the next decade and indicating how to position the CSU to meet those needs.

The Hearst Scholarship Program is established. The William Randolph Hearst/CSU Trustees' Award for Outstanding Achievement is given each year to students that demonstrate financial need, have experienced personal hardships and have attributes of superior merit, including superior academic performance, exemplary community service and significant personal achievements.


CSU Northridge wins top honors (first place) at Model United Nations. The MUN team from Northridge
has won three more titles since.


Road to College

The CSU launches its first Road to College tour, educating and encouraging middle and high school students to prepare early for college. The award-winning mobile campaign reached 9,000 students at 46 stops in 28 cities, targeting students in 6th to 10th grade and aiming to improve underserved students' access to the CSU.


The California State University System turns 50!