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California State University Dominguez Hills Master Planning / Site Selection Collection

Identifier: DH-2011-001

Scope and Content

In addition to material documenting controversial issues and wide citizen involvement in the site selection debate, the collection contains considerable material, mostly in the form of site reports, illustrating the importance of geographic, demographic, seismological, transportation, economic, political, social, and even aesthetic considerations employed in efforts to influence the decision of the Trustees. Also included are documents concerning the acquisition of the Dominguez Hills site, including numerous maps and photographs of the site.

Materials in the academic planning section reflect efforts to make the new college responsive to the needs of the local community while still maintaining standards of the California State College system. There are general master curricular plans of both the college and the CSC, studies of local student population characteristics, recruitment plans and enrollment projections, academic committee minutes and reports, early class schedules, media reports, press releases, staffing plans, and an early faculty constitution.

Facilities planning materials include master planning criteria, reports, correspondence, educational specifications for various campus buildings, room specifications, justifications for programs and program uses in buildings, soil and plant reports, schematics, and contracts. There is also material related to the search for temporary campus facilities, including bids from prospective contractors, site studies, and contracts, as well as documents related to the actual moves to the temporary facilities.

Also of special interest are the documents on the first years of campus history; memos and correspondence on limited openings, publicity to attract the first students, class schedules, faculty meetings, student cultural and protest activities, the Watt campus move and CSUDH groundbreaking.

Finally, while the correspondence and reports of Master Architect A. Quincy Jones and his architectural partner Fred Emmons are prominent throughout the collection, the last part of the collection consists largely of extensive newspaper clippings Jones maintained throughout the establishment and early years of the school.


  • 1958-1984



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.


California State University Dominguez Hills was established by the legislature of the state of California in 1960 as a branch of the California State College system to serve southwest Los Angeles. Its first name, South Bay State College, was chosen to reflect that orientation. Its first president, Leo F. Cain, was appointed in January, 1962, and consulting architect and the college planning staff were appointed later that year.

The process of selecting a site took over five years. Suggestions for possible sites were solicited and the responses were such that, at one time or another, over forty possible sites were considered. The major early contenders for the college were the Palos Verdes Peninsula, the City of Torrance, and the Fox Hills area near Culver City. Disputes over the relative merits and drawbacks of these and other sites involved local city councils, businessmen, citizens' groups, the State College Trustees, local State Senators and the college's planning staffs. Cities and civic groups filed resolutions on behalf of some site (and against other sites), and there were vigorous letter-writing campaigns trying to sway officials who would be making the decision. Even before the final decision was made, the college, now named California State College at Palos Verdes, opened to a limited number of students in rented facilities on the Palos Verdes Peninsula in the fall of 1965. Soon thereafter, Dominguez Hills, a relatively new contender, was selected as the permanent campus site.

The planning of the curriculum and physical facilities for what would become California State University Dominguez Hills mirrored the struggle to find a permanent campus. Planning for both began in 1962 with the appointment of the college planning staff and campus architect. Background sources were collected, data gathered, consultants brought in, and reports compiled in preparation for devising an academic (or curriculum) master plan and for determining the educational specifications for physical facilities.

Academic master planning took several years. Numerous versions and revisions of the plan appeared between 1962 and the opening of the college in the fall of 1965. The strong interest of the planning staff in experimental and innovative instruction and curriculum culminated in the diversified major and small college proposals. The facilities master planning staff, which included A. Quincy Jones, the consulting architect, devised educational specifications for college buildings and architectural master plans, one for a Palos Verdes campus in 1964 and another for the Dominguez Hills campus in 1967.

Planning for both academic and physical plant development was complicated by the delay in selecting a permanent site for the campus. With the decision to locate the permanent campus on the Dominguez Hills site in Carson, the college decided to move the temporary campus closer to the site of the permanent campus. After investigating a number of possible rental facilities, the campus was moved to a building leased from the Watt Construction Co. (the Watt Campus) across the street from the permanent site. Gradually, as buildings were completed on the permanent site, operations transferred to the permanent site. This transfer was completed by fall 1972.


18 boxes

8.75 Linear Feet

Language of Materials



This collection includes materials related to the creation of California State College (later University), Dominguez Hills. Reports, correspondence, legislative bills, studies, maps, photographs, and news clippings document the state of California’s decision to build a college in the South Bay area of Los Angeles County, the search for a site, and the development of facility and academic master plans. There are also papers, correspondence, and news clippings related to the college gathered by A. Quincy Jones, the Master Architect for the campus.]


Arranged in five series:

  1. Series I. Site Selection (1958-1984)
  2. Series II. Academic Master Plan (1960-1967)
  3. Series III. Facilities Master Plan (1959-1973)
  4. Series IV. Early Campus History (1963-1970)
  5. Series V. A. Quincy Jones Papers (1962-1970)

Acquisition Information

These materials were gathered largely by administrative offices of the California State College, Palos Verdes (later Dominguez Hills), the California State College System, and the State of California. From CSCPV (DH) primary offices represented include the Office of the President and the Office of the Vice President of Academic Affairs, as well as the Building Program Coordinator. CSC System Offices include the Office of the Chancellor and the Board of Trustees. Also represented is the California Office of the Governor. Documents were gathered in 1976. ]


The following works were used in the creation of this finding aid:
  • Grenier, Judson, The rainbow years, 1960-1985 : the first quarter century of California State University, Dominguez Hills, Carson, California, [Carson, Calif.] : California State University, Dominguez Hills Foundation, c1987
  • Williams, Gregory L., California State University>, Dominguez Hills, Charleston, SC : Arcadia Publishing ; c2010

Processing Information

The materials were initially processed as two separate collections: Campus Site Selection Documents and the Academic and Facilities Master Planning/Early History Documents. A finding aid for the Campus Site Selection Documents was written by James Ryan in 1999 and one for the Academic and Facilities Master Planning/Early History Documents Collection prepared by Anna DeVore 1979. Xiuzhi Zhou of Apex Data Services encoded EAD versions of the finding aids for the Online Archive of California in 1999 and 2001, respectively. These were updated by Jennifer Goldman in July, 2006.]

Rob Gutner began consolidating the two collections in 2007. Tom Philo completed the processing in 2011 and wrote finding aids reflecting the new combined collection. The history sections of this finding aid are based largely on the histories written for the earlier finding aids.

Inventory of the California State University Dominguez Hills Master Planning/Site Selection Collection
Under Revision
Finding aid prepared by Tom Philo.
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the University Archives Repository