CSUMB Magazine

Honoring Our Past

California State University, Monterey Bay (CSUMB) grew out of Fort Ord, a decommissioned U.S. Army base with a rich history going back to 1917. Throughout the ’50s, ’60s and ’70s, Fort Ord was a major location for basic training, reaching its heyday during the Vietnam War. Celebrities such as Jerry Garcia and Clint Eastwood completed boot camp here. In all, more than 1.5 million men and women received basic training at Fort Ord.

From the CSUMB History written in 2004 by George Joyce and Lori Wood

Postcard says
Postcard from CSUMB Fort Ord Digital Collection

Published Dec. 20, 2019

Fort Ord closed in the summer of 1993, and one year later, California State University, Monterey Bay (CSUMB) was officially recognized as the 21st campus in the California State University (CSU) system. Richard E. “Hank” Hendrickson, then Executive Dean of CSUMB, signed the deed for the land on Aug. 29, 1994.

Since that day, the growth and development of CSUMB has continued across academic programs and infrastructure alike, with the demolition of nearly 300 former Army structures and near constant construction. In Fall 2019, CSUMB completed the Academic III building, the new home of the College of Arts, Humanities and Social Sciences. In 2020, the new Otter Student Union will open to serve as the hub of campus activity. These buildings will allow for increased enrollment and further development of innovative academic programs.

Enrollment at CSUMB has grown from 650 full-time students in our first year to more than 7,000 in 2019, with enrollment slated to expand to 12,500 over the next decade. The university is producing responsible citizens and creative leaders for the global 21st century and is poised to continue growing as a dynamic institution of higher learning. Yet CSUMB also remains a steward of place with a commitment to service, just as Fort Ord was for 77 years.

CSUMB’s Founding Vision Statement adopted on Sept. 27, 1994, established the university’s core values and inspired its development. (Read the statement online at csumb.edu/vision) As we approached our 25th anniversary, the campus community came together in November 2017 to re-engage our vision statement and develop a new strategic plan to guide us into the future. The next issue of the university magazine to be published in the spring will feature more information about the new strategic plan.

Earlier this year, CSUMB’s Founding President Peter Smith reflected on our first 25 years: “CSUMB has become a truly wonderful and important example of what public higher education can be. And I know that growth towards even greater innovation, diversity and excellence will continue.”

– Sophia Huang McKenzie and Noah Rappahahn

In celebration of our 25th anniversary, CSUMB is recognizing a company, a foundation and 23 individuals and couples for helping to make the university what it is today. This is not a comprehensive list by any means — innumerable others have fueled our growth and contributed to our progress — but 25 among the many who deserve our thanks. To read Part 1 of 6 in "25 for the First 25: Honoring Our Past," go to " Visionaries."