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Origins of The California State University Oral History Project

Identifier: CSU-020

Scope and Content

Transcripts, cassette tapes, correspondence and other materials relating to oral history interviews with various individuals involved in the formation of the California State University system. Interviews were conducted during Phase 1 (1988) and Phase II (1998-2001). Phase I interviewees include Louis Heilbron, Glenn Dumke, Dorothy Knoell, Donald Leiffer, Theodore Miriam, Charles Luckman, Arnold Joyal, William Coblentz, Donald Gerth, John Richardson, Harry Brakebill, Arthur Hall, Dean McHenry, Harry Harmon, Mansel Keene, Lois R. Feldheym, William Langsdorf, David Hart, Walter Stiern, Raymond Rydell, Robert E. Kennedy, Leo Cain, Leonard Mathy, John Pfau, Alfred Ruffo, Donald Muchmore, Nicholas Hardeman, Ralph Prater, Edmund G. Brown, James Enoch, Hector Lee, Ambrose Nichols, Lyman Glenning and Robert Wert. Individuals interviewed include Phase II include Kathleen Carlson, Norman Epstein, Harold Goldwhite, Judson Grenier, James Jensen, Clark Kerr, Ellis McCune, Alfred E. Alquist, Milton Dobkin, David Elliott, Robert Kully, Eugene Lee, W. Ann Reynolds, Jack Smart, Anthony Vitti and Louis Messner, Subjects include the formation and operation of the CSU. Many individual oral history were bound and were disseminated to various CSU libraries.


  • 1987-2001


Language of Materials

Collection material is in English


There are no access restrictions on this collection.

Publication Rights

All requests for permission to publish or quote from manuscripts must be submitted in writing to the Director of Archives and Special Collections. Permission for publication is given on behalf of Special Collections as the owner of the physical materials and not intended to include or imply permission of the copyright holder, which must also be obtained.


The California State University System was formally established in 1960 by the Donahoe Higher Education Act. It is the nation’s largest university system, with 23 campuses. The CSU is one of three public higher education systems in the state of California (the others are the University of California and the California Community College System). The System is the direct descendant of the California State Normal School (now, San Jose State University) established by the California Legislature on May 2, 1862. By 1895 there were four State Normal schools. In 1921, the schools were re-named the State Teacher’s Schools. In 1935 the colleges were re-named the California State Colleges and were run by the State Department of Education. With the California Master Plan for higher education was created along with the Donohue Act, the California State Colleges were placed under control of the CSC Board of Trustees. In 1972 the system was renamed the California State Colleges and Universities. The term "Colleges" was dropped in 1982.

Responsibility for the California State University is vested in the Board of Trustees, whose members are appointed by the Governor of the State of California. The Trustees appoint the Chancellor, who is the chief executive officer of the system, and the Presidents, who are the chief executive officers of their respective campuses. The Academic Senate of the California State University, made up of elected representatives of the faculty from each campus, recommends academic policy to the Board of Trustees through the Chancellor. Chancellors of the system include Buell Gallagher (1961-1962); Glenn S. Dumke (1962-1982); W. Ann Reynolds (1982-1990); Ellis E. McCune [Acting] (1990-1991); Barry Munitz (1991-1998); Charles B. Reed (1998-2012); and Timothy White (2012-present).


25 boxes (13.5 linear ft)


Transcripts and cassette tapes of oral history interviews with various individuals involved in the formation of the California State University system.

Acquisition Information

Materials in this collection were transferred by the Chancellor’s Office, California State University and collected by archives staff. It is a growing collection.

Related Material

CSU Reports Collection, CSU Chancellor's Office Collection

Processing Information

Processed during 2004-2006 CSU System-wide Archives Processing Project.

Under Revision
Finding aid prepared by Greg Williams
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Code for undetermined script
Language of description note
Description is in English

Repository Details

Part of the California State University Archives Repository

California State University, Dominguez Hills
University Library South, 5039 (Fifth Floor)
1000 E. Victoria St.
Carson CA 90747
(310) 243-3895