California State University, Long Beach

The Development of California State University, Long Beach


South Los Angeles-Orange County State College opened in a Long Beach apartment building in 1949. It was planned to serve the expanding suburbs in the area. First, however, it trained teachers for the schools in those suburbs even as it moved to a permanent campus and began to occupy permanent buildings. As its faculty grew they brought their university training and experiences to Long Beach and transformed the school first into California State College and then into California State University, Long Beach. The transformation from a small teachers college into a large urban university has not been without controversies. There were struggles among administrators, faculty, students and the state legislature over how to choose the faculty and curriculum. But along the way, the university trained teachers, engineers, scientists, nurses, computer programers and poets. The eight narrators in this group were among the CSULB's pioneers. Irving Ahlquist was the campus' first history professor and Richard Wilde soon joined him. Raymond Lindgren was also a history professor, who came to campus in 1961 to be Dean of the College and, under the administration of Carl McIntosh, help to set the school on its way to orderly governance. Isabel Patterson, William O'Neill and Marvin Haney were early students. Patterson went on to build the Isabel Patterson Child Care Center on the campus, O'Neill returned to teach in the education program in the 1960s and Haney was an early volunteer, booster and Alumni Association member. Some of these interviews were conducted in the 1970s when Sherna Berger Gluck first came to campus and trained university students, faculty and staff to begin interviews to document the school's development. Others were conducted in the 1980s by Kaye Briegel and Ann Andriesse who were also involved in other oral history projects.

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