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California State University, Long Beach
CSULB History

Students lining up for registration

Our History

On September 28, 1949, Los Angeles-Orange County State College began its first day of classes. One hundred and sixty students were enrolled for the first semester with thirteen full-time faculty. Classes convened in a converted apartment building at 5381 E. Anaheim where the foundation of our pride and traditions all began.

The arrangement was only temporary until the college found a more permanent home. This day marked the beginning of a growing academic institution into what is now California State University, Long Beach. Join us as we take a historical look through our golden decade year by year as we watch how our campus has grown brick by brick, from old traditions to new traditions, and the people that have become part of our university family.

Fine Arts building under construction

Fine Arts building under construction

Dr. P. Victor Peterson

"This has been a grand year and my sincere thanks go out to the many citizens and organizations of this great community; to the members of the State, county and local boards and departments of education; to the members of the State and local governments; to the local citizens of this great commonwealth; and to the students and faculty of this college for their support, guidance, and inspiration. It is our sincere hope that this spectacular beginning may bring forth one of the truly great educational institutions of the country."

Dr. P. Victor Peterson
President of the College

Our Historical Timeline

Explore our rich history, beginning with all of the milestones from the first decade, our Golden Decade.

Did you Know?

CSULB went through numerous name changes:

  • 1949: Los Angeles-Orange County State College
  • 1950: Long Beach State College
  • 1964: California State College at Long Beach
  • 1968: California State College, Long Beach
  • 1972: California State University, Long Beach
  • Cost of enrollment in 1950's was $12.50
  • Former name of the University Theatre was the "Little Theatre"
  • Fall of 1949, Classes were held in an apartment building on Anaheim Road.
  • The college was given its Gold Rush theme with the BROWN and GOLD school colors by Bill O'Neill, president of the student government at the time.
  • Isabel Patterson, member of the first class decreed the school nickname - forty niners.
  • Nugget, was the mascot mule.
  • University East Gym formerly was the women's gym built in 1957.

This information was gathered from the Prospector Yearbooks and documents from the University's archives. If there is any major milestone that would be of interest that we have not included please contact Leticia Lozoya at 562-985-2539 or email