Public Affairs

CSU Celebrates 50 Years of Success

July 21, 2011
By Stephanie Thara

The California State University has provided high quality, affordable higher education to meet the changing workforce needs of California for 50 years. With 23 campuses that stretch from Humboldt in the north to San Diego in the south, the CSU is the nation’s largest public university system.

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.Established as a system in 1960 with the signing of the Donahoe Higher Education Act (also known as "The Master Plan"), the CSU has continued to prepare the future workforce, provide jobs and create innovative products and services for the state with the guidance from a Board of Trustees and a Chancellor. The Master Plan assigned different roles to the University of California, the California State Colleges and the California Community Colleges, with the CSU campuses acting as multipurpose institutions providing preparation for professional and occupational goals as well as broad liberal education.

The CSU provides more job-ready graduates to California's competitive industries than any other public or private university in the state. These industries, which account for nearly five million jobs in California, include education, media, health, hospitality and tourism, agriculture, life sciences and biomedicine, engineering, and public administration, among others.

The economic impact of the CSU is unparalleled. In fact, for every dollar the state invests in the university, the impact of CSU-related expenditures alone creates $5.43 in total spending impact. In addition to contributing to the state’s economy, the system has made strides in furthering higher education. Such advancements include:

  • In 1963, International Programs was established as a statewide academic unit to offer students study-abroad opportunities at distinguished universities throughout the world. Since its inception, more than 15,000 CSU students have taken advantage of this unique opportunity.

  • In 1973, a systemwide affirmative action office was established. The office addressed issues related to overcoming ethnic, economic and social underrepresentation in the makeup of the student body at the CSU.

  • In 1987, the Chancellor's Doctoral Incentive Program was 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.

  • In 1999, CalStateTEACH, the CSU’s alternative teacher education program aimed at elementary school teachers seeking credentials, was established to deliver high-quality education to teachers wherever they live in California.

  • In 2006, Access to Excellence, a plan which anticipates California’s needs in the next decade and indicates how to position the CSU to meet those needs, was created.

  • Students at laptop kiosks outside the bus work patiently while exploring the Road to College website.In 2008, the CSU launched 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 students at 46 stops in 28 cities, targeting students in 6th to 10th grade and aiming to improve underserved students' access to the CSU.