California State University, Long Beach
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Former Cal State Long Beach President Carl McIntosh Dies at 94

Published: January 30, 2009

Carl W. McIntosh, the second president of CSULB, died on Monday, Jan. 19, at the age of 94.

He served as president of the campus, then known as Long Beach State College (LBSC), from 1959-69. During his 10-year tenure, Long Beach State became the largest college in California in terms of student enrollment.

“At the time I came here, there were about 10,000 students, and at the time I left, the number of students who went through registration was 30,028,” McIntosh once recalled. “I believe the full-time equivalent [enrollment] was somewhere around 28,000, but in 10 years there had been no other institution in this country that has ever grown [so fast]. We were adding on the average of about 1,800 students a year with a faculty to go along with them.”

The challenges that accompanied the campus’ dramatic growth was keeping up with faculty, staff and facilities to serve students. By the end of the McIntosh administration, many facilities had been added to the campus, including Soroptimist House, Peterson (Science) Hall 3, three engineering and two health and human services buildings, the Residence Halls and Commons and the Humanities Office Building, which was named the McIntosh Humanities Building in his honor in 1980.

“President McIntosh spent the majority of his professional life in public universities helping those students with the greatest needs. He also played an important role building Long Beach State at a time of significant growth,” said CSULB President F. King Alexander. “While as president of Long Beach State, despite the civil and economic unrest impacting our nation during the 1960s, he guided our campus through a turbulent decade which ultimately produced some of our country’s most important and momentous federal policies, including the National Defense Education Act (NDEA), a second major Montgomery GI Bill, the first Higher Education Act (1965), ESEA or Title I for public schools (1965) and the Civil Rights Act (1965). We all are still benefiting from the foresight of our public educational leaders of that period.”

When he began his tenure at LBSC in 1959, full-time resident students were only required to pay a $29.50 materials, service and Associated Students fee a semester. But as Long Beach State grew from 10,000 students in 1959 to 20,000 by 1966, a tuition-free education had become a thing of the past, much to his chagrin.

“I defended tuition-free education, but it was like a voice crying in the wilderness. The administration’s view was that if students had to pay for it, they’d appreciate it more,” the former president told a Daily 49er reporter in 1989, some 20 years after he had left the campus. “I felt (tuition-free education) was the last great benefit to the middle-income American. My concern is that this benefit has eroded away. Sending kids to college is a damn expensive procedure.”

Aside from enrollment growth, McIntosh also left his mark on the beautification of the campus. In 1965, a project was launched where Long Beach community leaders would donate money so that flowering peach trees could be planted on the campus. It was a popular idea with local residents who encouraged friends to do the same. Today, there are some 5,000 peach trees on the campus.

Carl McIntosh

Members of the community stepped up again the next year when the campus hosted the International Sculpture Symposium in 1965. Local residents gave both money and access to facilities to help create some of the sculptures. The event brought international recognition to the campus as celebrated sculptors from around the world participated, and the resulting art pieces have been a part of the campus landscape ever since.

McIntosh’s tenure was also marked by the activism of the 1960s, the draft and the war in Vietnam. Colleges across the United States became centers for protests against the war, including Long Beach State. A former staff member from that time said the president handled the campus disruption by “not panicking.” Good communication was established with protesters, and classes were not disrupted and university property was not destroyed.

By the time he resigned in 1969, he had presided over a decade of dynamic growth that was marked by a three-fold increase in the campus’ full-time equivalent enrollment and the major expansion of its buildings and grounds that included some 30 permanent buildings.

McIntosh came to the campus after serving as president of Idaho State University for 12 years. After resigning from Long Beach State, he went on to the presidency of Montana State University in spring 1970, retiring in 1977. He remained in the Bozeman, Mont. area until his death.

McIntosh was born in 1914 in Redlands, Calif. He received his bachelor of arts degree from the University of Redlands and his master of arts and doctor of philosophy degrees from the State University of Iowa.