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CSUSM History

  • 1969: The need for a university campus in North County is identified.
  • 1979: Made possible by funding allocated by the State of California, San Diego State University’s North County satellite campus opens at Lincoln Middle School in Vista. 148 Students are enrolled.
  • 1982: The campus moves to a larger facility—an office building on Los Vallecitos Blvd. in San Marcos.
  • 1988: The permanent home of future CSUSM—a 304-acre poultry farm on S. Twin Oaks Valley Road—is purchased. Enrollment rises to 1,250 students.
  • 1989: On September 1, 1989, California State University San Marcos became the 20th campus in the CSU system. Bill W. Stacey is named the university’s first president.
  • 1990: On February 23, 1990, ground is broken on the site of the old poultry farm and construction of the campus infrastructure begins.
  • 1991: The first Bachelor of Arts degrees in campus history are awarded to seven students.
  • 1992: On May 23, 1992, CSUSM held its first official commencement ceremony. Later that year, the permanent campus on Twin Oaks Valley Road officially opens. 1,700 students and 305 staff members occupy the newly built Craven Hall, Academic Hall, and Science Hall I.
  • 1993: CSUSM receives full accreditation by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC). Enrollment numbers near 2,500 and academic offerings are expanded to include 17 bachelor’s degrees, six master’s degrees, and nine teacher credentials.
  • 1995: CSUSM admits its first freshman students as lower division courses are offered. Enrollment reaches over 3,600 students.
  • 1996: Donor pledges from Jean and W. Keith Kellogg II support the future Kellogg Library.
  • 1997: Bob and Ruth Mangrum donate funds toward Mangrum Track & Field. Academics are expanded to include 19 bachelor’s degrees, eight master’s degrees, and 15 teacher credentials. Enrollment numbers reach 4,400.
  • 1998: Alexander Gonzales is appointed as the second CSUSM president. University Hall is completed.
  • 2002: Science Hall II and the Arts Building opened.
  • 2003: Two new buildings open: The University Village Apartments, marking the first time students are able to live on campus, and the M. Gordon Clarke Field House/University Student Union (The Clarke), based on a generous donation by Helene Clarke in honor of her husband.
  • 2004: Kellogg Library opens its doors to more than 7,000 enrolled students. Karen S. Haynes is appointed as CSUSM’s third president.
  • 2006: Markstein Hall opens, Cougar athletics expand to include baseball, softball, and soccer, and the School of Nursing admits its first cohort.
  • 2007: The Center for Children and Families opens.
  • 2008: The new Sprinter station provides alternative transportation for students and the Epstein Family Veterans Center opens.
  • 2009: The McMahan House, funded by Mr. and Mrs. Richard A McMahan, opens its doors for conferences and events.
  • 2010: Enrollment numbers reach an all-time high of 9,767 and the 23,000th graduate crosses the stage at commencement.
  • 2011: The Social and Behavioral Sciences Building (SBSB) and the Public Safety Building, housing University Police and Parking and Commuter Services near the Sprinter station, both open.
  • 2014: The University Student Union (USU) opens and shifts the center of campus towards this large venue providing dining, event spaces, and student service departments.
  • 2015: Student health services return to campus with the opening of the Student Health and Counseling Services Building.
  • 2016: The Sports Center opens and enrollment numbers reach 15,000.
  • 2018: Construction on the new Extended Learning Building begins. This structure will add two acres to the existing campus footprint.
  • 2019: Dr. Karen Haynes, the longest-serving president in the CSU system, retired after 15 years of dedicated service to the CSUSM community. Dr. Ellen Neufeldt was appointed as CSUSM’s fourth president. Her tenure began on July 1, 2019.
  • 2019: The Extended Learning Building opens for the fall semester.