History Timeline

4/29/60: Dominguez Family
CSUDH was founded in 1960; however, the campus sits on land that has a long and rich history. The university's 346 acres were once a section of the first private land grant in Southern California—the Rancho San Pedro. Juan José Dominguez (1736-1809), a Spanish soldier, received the original grant of 75,000 acres in 1784 from King Carlos III of Spain. While much of the acreage has been sold and developed, portions remain in the possession of Dominguez descendants. The site chosen for the university was known as the Dominguez Hills, named after the family.

4/29/60: South Bay State College
The California State Legislature authorized the establishment of the "South Bay State College" and Governor Edmund G. (Pat) Brown signed it into law on April 29, 1960. The need for a campus in the South Bay region of Los Angeles County became apparent in response to a rising population in the 1950s influenced by the growth of families of World War II veterans, and by emerging aerospace and defense industries.

1/19/62: Leo Cain Named First President
On January 19, 1962, Dr. Leo F. Cain was appointed as the first president of the college.

1/1/64: Architect A. Quincy Jones Designs Campus
Innovative modernist architect A. Quincy Jones created a campus physical master plan in 1964 and oversaw the design of buildings and development of the campus until his death in 1979.

1/1/65: First Classes Held
In 1965, the university held its first classes at a temporary location in the California Federal Savings Bank in Rolling Hills Estates. The college was renamed California State College at Palos Verdes, and approximately 40 students enrolled and were taught by 11 faculty members, as well as administrators.

8/11/65: Watts Rebellion
In 1965, the Watts Rebellion devastated a community and awakened the nation, bringing longstanding grievances and inequalities into the spotlight. The Watts Uprising is considered by many to have been one of the key turning points in the African American Civil Rights movement, and has served to shape scholarly and public understanding of race rebellions and the development of race relations in the United States.

9/1/65: Dominguez Hills Site Selected
Following the Watts Rebellion, Gov. Pat Brown visited the area and determined that the Dominguez Hills site in the soon-to-be City of Carson would provide the diverse, mostly minority population in nearby urban neighborhoods with the best accessibility to a college education.

1/1/66: Temporary Watt Campus Opens
CSC Palos Verdes became CSC Dominguez Hills in 1966 and was moved into a temporary location known as the Watt Campus, after its developer Ray Watt, that stood across the street from the future permanent site of the college.

5/1/67: First Graduates
The college held its first commencement on the Watt campus with four graduates in spring 1967.

10/1/68: Permanent Campus Opens
The opening of the permanent campus occurred in October 1968, with a complex of buildings referred to as the Small College Complex.

6/13/70: First Commencement on New Campus
Commencement was held on the new CSC Dominguez Hills mall (now called the "North Lawn"). 260 students graduate.

10/1/73: Natural Sciences and Mathematics Building
The new Natural Sciences and Mathematics (NSM) building opens with 34 labs, animal rooms, and a full greenhouse.

4/1/75: Men's Volleyball Team Claims National Title
The CSUDH Men's volleyball team brings home the first national title in the NAIA championships.

5/1/75: First Badminton Title
CSCDH men’s badminton team wins college’s first national title in badminton.

8/1/75: Enrollment Increases - College Grows
Enrollment jumps 18.5%; the college becomes fastest-growing in the state.

5/21/76: Donald Gerth Named President
CSC Trustees name Dr. Donald R. Gerth as the new president of CSC Dominguez Hills.

1/1/77: University Status Attained
Upon reaching an enrollment of 6,500 students, 25 percent of whom were graduate students, and with 45 degree programs, the college meets the criteria to become a university.

7/1/77: New Buildings
The Humanities and Theatre Arts buildings are completed and opened; an observatory is installed on the roof of the Natural Sciences building.

10/24/77: Senator Joseph Biden Speaks on Campus
Sen. Joseph Biden visits campus and speaks to students in the University Theatre.

1/1/79: Toro Gymnasium Opens
The campus gym and swimming pool open.

6/14/80: Andrew Young Delivers Commencement Keynote
Former U.S. ambassador to the U.N. and civil rights leader Andrew Young delivers commencement keynote address.

10/1/80: Death of an Era
Artist Dustin Shuler proclaims the “Death of an Era,” symbolized by a half-buried Cadillac impaled with a large nail through its body in the newly opened Sculpture Garden.

7/1/84: Richard Butwell Named President
CSU Trustees name Dr. Richard Butwell new president of CSU Dominguez Hills.

7/28/84: CSUDH Hosts Cycling for L.A. Summer Olympics
The university was selected to host the cycling portion of the Los Angeles Summer Olympics in 1984. A large outdoor velodrome was constructed on campus with the support of the Southland Corporation. Approximately 8,500 spectators came out to watch Olympic cycling events in the velodrome; the U.S. cycling team won nine gold medals.

2/1/85: Astronaut Sally Ride Speaks on Campus
In the winter 1985 quarter, Sally Ride, the first female astronaut, speaks on campus.

6/15/85: 2,100 Graduates Walk Stage in Velodrome
2,100 graduates received their diplomas in the 7-Eleven Olympic Velodrome.

2/18/87: John Brownell Named President
CSU Chancellor Ann Reynolds selects Dr. John Brownell as president of CSUDH following the death of President Richard Butwell.

5/4/87: Falkenstein Work Installed in Sculpture Garden
Artist Claire Falkenstein creates “The Forum,” a cedar log sculpture that is installed in the university's Sculpture Garden in memory of campus architect A. Quincy Jones.

2/24/88: Magic Johnson Speaks on Campus
L.A. Lakers basketball champion Earvin "Magic" Johnson speaks on campus.

4/1/89: Robert Detweiler Named President
Dr. Robert Detweiler is named the new president of CSUDH, replacing retiring President John Brownell.

12/1/91: Women's Soccer Claims First-Ever NCAA Championship
The 1991 Women's soccer team claims the university's first-ever NCAA championship.

9/1/92: Loker Student Union Opens
Funded by a student-approved fee increase and a pledge of $500,000 from Katherine B. Loker, the Donald P. and Katherine B. Loker Student Union (LSU), named in honor of the university's long-time supporters, was opened in 1992.

1/1/94: CAMS High School Opens on Campus
The California Academy of Mathematics and Science (CAMS) high school opens. CAMS is a public high school in the Long Beach Unified School District which seeks to increase the nation’s pool of graduates in mathematics and science; CAMS students are able to take college-level courses at the university while attending high school.

5/5/94: LaCorte Hall Dedication
The LaCorte Hall dedication ceremony honors the generosity of John and Marion LaCorte, whose $750,000 gift was dedicated to the "positive values of diversity."

7/1/98: President Detweiler Retires; Herbert Carter Appointed as Interim President
President Detweiler retires from CSUDH. Dr. Herbert Carter begins duties as interim university president.

8/1/98: James Lyons Named President
In March 1999, Dr. James E. Lyons, Sr. is appointed permanent president of CSUDH.

3/1/00: Extended Education Building Opens
The Extended Education building opens and later wins a design award from American School and University magazine.

12/1/00: Men's Soccer Win NCAA Championship
In a 2-1 four-overtime thriller against Barry University, the Toros claim the NCAA Championship.

10/13/02: James L. Welch Hall Opens
Welch Hall is opened in 2002. Named after long-time faculty member Dr. James L. Welch, founder of the Occupational Therapy program and founding member of the Clinical Sciences department, the building houses classrooms, administration, and lecture halls for the university.

6/1/03: Home Depot Center Opens
The privately financed $150-million Home Depot Center (now named the Dignity Health Sports Park) opens, providing the community with a world-class athletics and entertainment venue for soccer, tennis, track and field, and cycle racing. The complex includes a 27,000-seat soccer stadium and 8,000-seat tennis stadium that are also used for concerts and CSUDH commencement ceremonies. The facility kicked off its inaugural season with a premiere track event highlighted by 100-meter gold medalist Maurice Greene. The sports complex soon followed with major events in soccer, tennis, and beach volleyball.

1/25/07: Loker Student Union Reopens After Major Expansion
The Loker Student Union was expanded and extensively remodeled in 2007, featuring the 800-seat Dominguez Ballroom and other improved amenities.

5/15/07: Mildred García Named President
CSU Board of Trustees appoints Dr. Mildred García as the seventh president of CSUDH; she becomes the first Latina president of a CSU campus.

12/7/08: Men's Soccer Claims Second NCAA Championship
CSUDH Men's Soccer dominates Dowling University, 3-0, in the title game for the program's second NCAA Championship.

5/1/09: Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis Speaks at Commencement
U.S. Secretary of Labor Hilda Solis addresses 1,525 undergraduates at Commencement.

1/1/10: Economic Activity
By 2010, CSUDH generates over $335 million in economic activity annually, sustaining nearly 3,000 jobs in the region and generating more than $20 million per year in state tax revenue.

4/29/10: CSUDH 50th Anniversary; New Library South Wing Opens
On April 29, 2010, on the 50th anniversary of the founding of the university, the Library South wing opens—a new five-story 140,000-square-foot addition that features a state-of-the-art archives and research area, conference rooms, and art gallery.

5/28/11: Women's Track and Field Relay Team Win NCAA National Championship
The CSUDH women's 4x400 relay team captured the program's first-ever NCAA track and field National Championships at CSU Stanislaus.

7/27/12: Alumna Carmelita Jeter Wins Gold, Silver, and Bronze at the 2012 Olympic Games
CSUDH Alumna Carmelita Jeter takes home three medals—bronze, silver and gold—at the 2012 London Summer Olympics.

5/22/13: Willie Hagan Named President
Dr. Willie Hagan is appointed as the permanent president of CSUDH after serving as interim president since June 2012, following the departure of Dr. Mildred García.

5/6/14: CSUDH Earns Top Rankings in Media
CSUDH continued to broaden its ethnic and geographic base. The university ranked 33rd among 100 top colleges and universities in the country, according to a 2014 Time magazine ranking that assessed how well institutions serve students—placing the highest importance on graduation rates, tuition, and percentage of students receiving Pell Grants.For the third year in a row, the Washington Monthly magazine ranked CSUDH among the top ten in the nation for “contribution to public good.” U.S. News & World Report’s 2013 annual “Best Colleges” ranked CSUDH 12th among the most ethnically-diverse universities in the West offering bachelor’s and master’s degrees.

12/15/14: Campus Earns All-Steinway Distinction
With the acquisition of 21 brand new Steinway-designed pianos, CSUDH became the first public four-year university in California to receive designation by Steinway & Sons as an “All-Steinway School.” The title added the university’s name to an exclusive roster of 170 conservatories, colleges and universities throughout the world.

3/27/15: CSUDH Awarded Top National Community Service Honor
CSUDH receives the President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll Presidential Award for General Service.

3/26/18: Thomas Parham Named President
Dr. Thomas Parham is named the new president of CSUDH by the CSU Board of Trustees, replacing retiring president Dr. Willie Hagan.