Mission Statement
About CSU Bakersfield

Early CSUB







Dorothy Donahoe Hall
Romberg Nursing Center
Dore Theatre
Walter Stiern Library
Icardo Center
Student Union


Religious Studies

Early CSUB: 1960's

California State University, Bakersfield was formally known as California State College, Bakersfield (CSCB). Through the Donahoe Higher Education Act of 1960 the "California State Colleges" became an established system with its own Board of Trustees and a State wide Chancellor. The Donahoe Act assigned different functions to the University of California (UC), California State Colleges (CSC), and California Community Colleges (CCC). The primary function of the State Colleges was broadened to include undergraduate and graduate instruction in the liberal arts and sciences, in applied fields and in the professions; doctoral degrees were authorized if offered jointly with a University of California.

The southern San Joaquin Valley had been interested in having a four-year institution of higher education in this area since the late 1950's. In the 1960's a four-year college strategy was in progress in Delano California. A decision had to be made about the geographical location for the four-year institution. The county choices for the institution included Kern, Kings, or Tulare, as these counties were at least a hundred miles from the nearest higher education institutions. A steering committee, headed by Ernest Stahlberg, Chairman of the Greater Bakersfield Chamber of Commerce and the Mayor of Delano, to work with the university in making this difficult decision. In the end, Bakersfield was chosen because it was the largest isolated metropolitan area in the United States without a senior college or university. Governor Edmond G. Brown of California signed a bill passed by the California state legislature and Senator Walter W. Stiern then appropriated funding to establish a state college in the Southern San Joaquin area.

Early staff at CSUB groundbreaking The next hurdle was to find an appropriate location in Bakersfield for the new college. More than one site was recommended. Tejon Ranch was willing to donate 400 acres in the southeast area to build the new college. Situated near Arvin, CA, "The White Wolf Grade" stretched between Bakersfield and Tehachapi and would have been a prime location because of the breathtaking view of the mountains and the easy access for commuters to Highway 58. Another location, offered by George W. Nickel, Jr., was south of the Kern River by Hwy 178 just east of Lake Ming Park.

The location selected for the new college site was offered as a gift by Kern County Land Company they donated 370 acres. The Kern County Land Co donated the land to the state of California in 1962 with the express purpose of having a state university campus in Bakersfield. The campus would be situated on a 370-acre site in southwest Bakersfield would be located on Stockdale Hwy approximately five miles west of central Bakersfield.

RombergThe State College Board of Trustees gave the green light to start with the preparations to construct California State College Bakersfield in 1965. CSB would be the 19th member; they would become the newest member of the state college system. On July 27, 1967 the Board named Dr. Paul F. Romberg as the first president.

Dr. Romberg:
Dr. Romberg He was a native of Nebraska and a Marine Corps fighter pilot in the Second World War. He graduated form the University of Nebraska in 1954 with a PhD. in Biology, with an emphasis on botany and genetics. He was taught at Wabash in Indiana and Iowa State and was Vice-president of Academic Affairs at Chico State. He remained at CSB until 1974.

Romberg was the former Vice President for Academic Affairs at Chico State College. He specialized in microbiology. Dr. Romberg and team worked out of temporary offices on California Avenue to begin initial planning and oversaw the construction of phase I of the initial buildings, developing programs, ordering books and equipment, and recruiting over 22 administrators and educators. Starting with an open field on Stockdale Highway, construction began in 1969 and the school was slated to open to freshman and sophomores the following year.

Dr. Romberg formed a Foundation for CSB in 1968. There were fourteen Kern and Tulare County citizens named to the Board. Their function as the Foundation Board was to help with the fiscal means and management that allowed the college instructions and service aids not funded by the state. In addition the Foundation would permit effective administration of auxiliary activities that included a bookstore, cafeteria, community relations, endowments, grants, and scholarships.