History of CSU Stanislaus

California State University, Stanislaus was founded in 1957 when California Governor Goodwin J. Knight signed a bill establishing the 15th campus of the soon-to-be-formed and globally acclaimed California State University system that made its official debut in January 1960.

Since opening in Turlock as Stanislaus State College at the Stanislaus County Fairgrounds in 1960 with 15 faculty, less than 800 students and graduating 25 of them in that first year, the institution has transformed into a top academic institution. Classes were added in Stockton in 1974 and the CSU Stanislaus-Stockton Center opened in 1998. More than 40,000 students have been awarded bachelor's and master's degrees, and enrollment has increased to 8,600. The institution gained university status and its current name as one of the 23 California State University campuses in 1986.

CSU Stanislaus conducted its first classes on September 19, 1960, at the Fairgrounds with a $355,000 operating budget under the leadership of its Founding President, J. Burton Vasche. The University, now led by Hamid Shirvani who is in his fifth year as the institution’s ninth president, has expanded over the past five decades. CSU Stanislaus generates a more than $300 million annual impact on the regional economy as one of the region’s largest employers.

Nearly $200 million in new building projects, infrastructure, and campus improvements since the move in 1965 to the University’s now beautifully landscaped 228-acre site provide an atmosphere for high academic achievement. Freshman students were admitted for the first time in fall 1965 at the new campus which was built on an initial investment of $56 million.

From a modest start with six undergraduate degree programs and the original Library and Classroom (Bizzini Hall) buildings, the University has expanded its academic offerings that include 41 undergraduate degree programs, 25 graduate degree programs, and 13 school credential and certificate programs.

Instruction takes place in an impressive array of buildings and facilities. The most recent campus additions are the state-of-the-art Naraghi Hall of Science which opened in 2007, a bookstore building that debuted in 2008, and the Student Recreation Complex funded by students that includes a fitness center and lighted soccer/track and field stadium which opened in fall 2009.

Future expansion projects for the Library and Theatre buildings and additional new buildings to accommodate future growth are expected to bring new landmarks to the picturesque campus.

More than 650 students call the University home in the on-campus residential complex, The Village, which opened in 1993 in place of the former Yosemite Hall on Geer Road. 

CSU Stanislaus has seen its academic reputation grow, with the University ranked by The Princeton Review as one of the nation's best 371 colleges. Only about 15 percent of colleges in America are ranked at that elite level. CSU Stanislaus has also been recognized by the American Association of State Colleges and Universities as one of 12 campuses nationwide for outstanding graduation and retention rates.

President Shirvani has directed the University through expansion of its academic program to include six colleges, 10 academic programs have received national accreditation, student scholarship offerings have been substantially increased, and CSU Stanislaus graduates are distinguishing themselves all over the world as leaders and productive professionals.