California State University, Chico

California State University, Chico
California State University, Chico
CSU Chico seal.png
Motto Ars Probat Artificem (Latin)
Motto in English "Art is the test of the artisan."[1]
Established 1887
Type Public
Endowment US$38.9 million (2010)[2]
President Paul Zingg
Academic staff 857
Admin. staff 954
Students 15,007 [3]
Undergraduates 13,707[3]
Location Chico, California, United States
Campus Rural,[4] 119 acres (48 ha)
Former names Northern Branch State Normal School of California (1887-1921)
Chico State Teachers College (1921-35)
Chico State College (1935-72)
Colors Cardinal and White         
Nickname Wildcats
Mascot Willie the Wildcat
Affiliations California State University system , Western Association of Schools and Colleges.
CSU Chico logo.png

California State University, Chico is the second-oldest campus in the twenty-three-campus California State University system. It is located in Chico, California, about ninety miles north of Sacramento. California State University, Chico is commonly known as Chico State or Cal State, Chico.



On March 12, 1887, a legislative act was enacted to create the Northern Branch State Normal School of California. Less than a month later, Chico was chosen as the location. On June 24, 1887, General John Bidwell donated 8 acres (3.2 ha) of land from his cherry orchard. Then on July 4, 1888, the first cornerstone was laid. On September 3, 1889, doors opened for the 90 enrolled students. The library opened on January 11, 1890 with 350 books. On June 20, 1891 the first graduation took place, a class of 15.

In 1910, Annie Bidwell donated an additional two acres (0.81 ha) of land to be used for work with elementary agriculture. The next year Mrs. Bidwell donated an orange orchard lot 55 × 440 feet (130 m) as the children's playground, which is connected to the Training School.[5] Twenty years later in 1921, legislation was enacted to change the school's name to Chico State Teacher's College. In 1922, Chico State Teacher's College added a junior college curriculum and awarded a certificate after two years. Also in 1922, Bidwell Mansion was turned into a women's dormitory, Bidwell Hall. In 1923 the first college paper, The Collegian, was published. In 1924, the state board of education allowed the school to grant baccalaureate degrees. Also in 1924, the wildcat was chosen as the mascot. In 1925 the alumni organization was founded. In 1927 a fire destroyed the Normal Building. That same year a gym was built on the grounds of Bidwell Mansion. In 1929, the cornerstone for the new administration building was laid on top of Normal Building's original cornerstone. In 1929 the student bookstore was established.

Chico State campus in the spring

In 1935, Bidwell Hall was turned into a recreation and student center - the first student union. Also in 1935 a legislative act changed the college name from Chico State Teachers College to Chico State College. In 1937 evening classes started on campus and athletic fields were purchased from the Chico Board of Education. In 1939, chimes were installed in library tower. Sororities held a fund drive to raise $600 for them. In 1940 the college offered civilian pilot classes.

In 1948, dorms for 200 male students were set up on west side of Warner Street. The buildings were built during World War II and were used as bachelor quarters for a Marine Hospital in Klamath Falls, Oregon. They were brought to Chico State in sections and reconstructed in the spring of 1948. The two-story barrack-like structures had 36 rooms, each occupied by 4 students. North Hall later became a girls dormitory. The speech and debate team was founded by Herbert Rae, Speech & Drama Department Chair.

In 1950, California's governor allowed state colleges to grant Master of Arts degrees. In 1951 the college reorganized from 18 departments into seven divisions with chairmen. Then in 1956 a new flagpost and sign in front of Kendall Hall was donated by the class of 1956. In the following year, 1957, a new cafeteria was built and the rose gardens were planted. In 1958 the first "telecourse" was taught, Psychology 51.

KCSC, a student-run radio station, launched, broadcasting old-time radio dramas on the campus public address system in 1951.

In 1972, Chico State College became California State University, Chico as a result of legislation passed in 1971.

In 1975, broadcasts of classes through closed circuit TV were used for the first time by residents in Oroville, Marysville and Colusa. Also in 1975, The Orion, the campus student newspaper, published its first issue. In 1977, the other campus paper, The Wildcat, changed its name to Chico News and Review and moved off campus to become an independent publication. In 1978 bike riding was restricted on campus.

Chico State's library was renamed for Ted Meriam in 1981. Notably, the 75th Pioneer Days was held in 1985, but the event was canceled in 1987, ostensibly because of a riot.

In 1987, Chico State was ranked as the number one party school by Playboy [6] and has subsequently been ranked as a party school by other publications.[6][7] Chico State was not included on Playboy's most recent list of party schools.[8]

CSU Chico opened its first sub-campus in Redding, affiliated with Shasta College, in 2007.

In 2005, student Matt Carrington was hazed to death at the Chi Tau house, which had previously been expelled from the university in 2001 due to violations.[9] Carrington died as a result of water intoxication during a hazing session involving the victim being forced to exercise and drink large quantities of water.

In 2007, CSU, Chico was awarded the grand prize in the National Wildlife Federation’s Campus Ecology Chill Out contest, recognizing the campus's innovative programs to reduce global warming pollution. [10]

In 2010, the President of the Associated Student body, Joseph Igbineweka, was stabbed in a racially motivated attack. [11]

In 2011, CSU, Chico received a Civic Learning Initiative Grant from the W.M. Keck Foundation extend its efforts to establish civic engagement as a key component of students’ academic success. [12]


Chico State is known for academic excellence in engineering, science, computing, business, technology, environmental studies, Theatre Arts [13] and communication.[citation needed] Chico State has more than 50 Departments[14] and offers more than 150 undergraduate degrees.[15] It is organized into seven colleges and four schools.


  • College of Agriculture
  • College of Behavioral & Social Sciences
  • College of Business
  • College of Communication & Education
  • College of Engineering, Computer Science, & Construction Management
  • College of Humanities and Fine Arts
  • College of Natural Sciences


  • School of Communication
  • School of Education
  • School of Nursing
  • School of Social Work

The school has several libraries, including Meriam Library, which has several special collections of Native American and Californian history.[16]



Chico State campus: Laxson Auditorium
  • 6th Best Public Master's Level University in the West (2011) from U.S. News & World Report.[17]
  • 6th Best Public Master's Level University in the West (2009) from U.S. News & World Report.[18]
  • 6th Best Public Master's Level University in the West (2008) from U.S. News & World Report.[18]
  • 4th Best Public Master's Level University in the West (2007) from U.S. News & World Report.[19]
  • 4th Best Public Master's Level University in the West (2006) from U.S. News & World Report.[19]
  • 3rd Best Public Master's Level University in the West (2005) from U.S. News & World Report.[19]
  • 3rd Best Public Master's Level University in the West (2004) from U.S. News & World Report.[19]
  • 4th Best Public Master's Level University in the West (2003) from U.S. News & World Report.[19]
  • 3rd Best Public Master's Level University in the West (2002) from U.S. News & World Report.[19]


The California State University, Chico campus consists of a 119-acre (48 ha) main campus and a 1,040-acre (420 ha) university farm.[20]

Early construction

The construction of the normal school building was begun in September, 1887. It was a large brick building, consisting of three stories and full basement. It was of Romanesque design with Elizabethan gables and artificial stone trimmings. The building was destroyed by a fire in 1927. The current administration building Kendall Hall was built on the site of the normal school in 1929.[21]

Chico State's Kendall (Administration) Hall

Colusa Hall, completed in 1921 is the oldest building on campus. It was used for purposes related to the industrial arts, but now it serves as an art gallery and public events facility.[21]

Residence halls

Currently, there are seven on-campus residential halls. Sutter, Whitney, Shasta and Lassen halls are on the main campus, while Esken, Mechoopda and Konkow are near the athletic fields about a block and a half away from the main campus. Whitney, Shasta and Lassen are the names of major mountains in Northern California, and the others are named after Indian tribes which used to inhabit the area. Most buildings that make up the campus are named after counties in California. University Village or "UV" is a university-owned dorm about a mile off campus. The university opened its newest dorm, Sutter Hall, for the Fall 2010 semester. It is located between Whitney and Shasta and Lassen halls. For much of the Fall 2010 semester, Sutter Hall's dining area remained closed. However, it opened in the Spring 2011 semester, featuring new dining options for students.

Recent construction

The Wildcat Recreation Center (WREC), approved by a 2005 student ballot initiative, opened in August 2009. It has received a LEED rating of Gold for its sustainable and environmentally conscious features.[22] Sutter Hall, a five-story residence hall, complete with a state-of-the-art dining hall completed in 2010, received LEED Gold certification for energy efficiency in 2011. [23]

Student life

Associated Students, Chico

Associated Students, Chico is the student government at California State University, Chico. Associated Students, Chico owns and operates several student services on-campus including all vending machines, and foodservices, as well as the campus bookstore. The students of CSU, Chico also own their own student union building named the Bell Memorial Union which houses the Marketplace Cafe, the Chico State Wildcat Store, and the student government offices. Student officers are elected annually from among and by the students. Students are assessed a mandatory Activity Fee at registration which funds the student government and other programs.

The AS is generally divided into three areas, each the responsibility of one of three Associated Students standing committees. The AS' role as a government is manifested in the Government Affairs Committee. The student union is administered under the original authority of the Bell Memorial Union Committee. The administration of the businesses is under the original authority of the Business Committee. All of these areas are under the ultimate authority of the AS Board of Directors.


Demographics of student body
African American 2%
Asian American 5%
White American 60.9%
Hispanic American 15%
Native American .08%
International 3.6%
Ethnicity unreported/unknown 9.4%

Male to Female Percentage: Male 48% - Female 52%[24]

Student media

In 1951, KCSC Radio became the newest media outlet belonging to the Associated Students at Chico State. KCSC remains the university's lone student-owned and operated radio station. The music philosophy is very broad, including everything except the most popular Top 40. Featuring a number of student DJ's, KCSC broadcasts a variety of musical genres including electronic, drum and bass, indie, alternative rock, reggae and much more. In addition, KCSC features a sports talk show and a sex talk show, adding to the variety of the station's content.

The university's student-run weekly newspaper, The Orion first began publishing in 1975.[25] In 1989, The Orion won the National Pacemaker Award, the first of nine times the paper has won the top prize in college journalism. In 2009, The Orion won the National Pacemaker Award for the 11th time at the College Media Convention. The Orion is the only newspaper to win the award, considered the highest honor in college journalism, four consecutive years.

In 1997 Wild Oak Music Group, an independent record company, was founded and is run by the Music Industry students within the College of Humanities and Fine Arts.


Chico State Wildcats

The school sponsors soccer, basketball, cross country, golf, and track and field for both men and women. The school sponsors softball and volleyball for women, and baseball for men.

The school's athletic director is Anita Barker. The school competes in Division II of the National Collegiate Athletic Association in the California Collegiate Athletic Association.[26] The Chico State baseball team plays at Nettleton Stadium and has won the NCAA Division II World Series in 1997 and 1999 and appeared in the title game in 2002, 2006.[27]

The school finished third in the 2004-2005 NACDA Director's Cup. In 1997 Chico State ended its football program citing rising insurance costs.[28][29]

CSU Chico won the NCAA Division II national championships in men's swimming and diving in 1973, 1974 and 1976. The program was eliminated several years after the 1976 national championship season. The men's soccer program lost in the title game in 2003.

In 2001 the women's rugby team won a Division I national championship.

Since 1998, Chico State’s athletic teams have won 99 NCAA Championship berths, 40 CCAA titles, 24 West Region titles, and 15 National titles.[30]

Fight song

Chico State Fight Song

Hail to Chico State
She's our dear old alma mater
Where our teams so great
lead us on to victory
Rah Rah Rah
Where our men are square
and our fair coeds are fairer
Come let us give a cheer
for dear old Chico State

Service and recognition

Kendall Hall

CSU, Chico was once again designated as a member of the President’s Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll. The 2010 honor roll, sponsored by the Corporation for National and Community Service, highlights the University’s civic engagement activities during 2009.[31]

In 2006, the year the community service honor roll program was launched, CSU, Chico was one of 10 schools to be a finalist for President George W. Bush’s Higher Education Community Service Award for Excellence in General Community Service.[32] In 2006-07 CSU,

CSU, Chico is the four-time collegiate champion in raising money on behalf of St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital for children’s cancer research, and the fastest school to reach $1 million.[33]

CSU, Chico has set records for the number of volunteers taking part to raise money (2,021) and the number of letters sent out requesting support (in excess of 37,000).

Among the civic engagement programs at CSU, Chico are Community Action Volunteers in Education (CAVE) and Community Legal Information Center (CLIC).[2][34] CAVE student volunteers help more than 30,000 clients annually, and CLIC student volunteers provide free referrals and legal information to more than 13,000 clients.

The Orion is Chico State's nationally acclaimed school newspaper, and has been named (on several occasions) the number one weekly collegiate publication.[35] The newspaper was inducted into the Associated College Press Hall of Fame in 2005.[36]


The Chico State Motto, "Today decides tomorrow"

CSU, Chico has received a number of honors for its leadership role in sustainability and environmental awareness and education. CSU, Chico’s Green Campus Program won the Best Practices award for Student Energy Efficiency in the CSU in April 2008. In 2007, the University was awarded the Grand Prize by the National Wildlife Federation for efforts to reduce global warming.

The University was ranked on a list of 15 colleges and universities around the world cited for their leadership in sustainability and environmental programs. Grist Magazine, a well-known Web-based environmental news and commentary publication, has placed CSU, Chico on its list of “15 Green Colleges and Universities.”[37] The DailyGreen, a popular Web site that bills itself as “The consumer’s guide to the green revolution,” has featured CSU, Chico in a list of 10 top colleges and universities that includes Harvard University, Duke University, Middlebury College and Oberlin College.[38]

Chico Professor Jeff Price, shared in the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize as a lead author of the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change,[39] and is also Senior Fellow for Climate Change and Biodiversity at the United Nations Environment Program – World Conservation Monitoring Center (UNEP-WCMC).

CSU, Chico University Printing Services has been awarded Forest Stewardship Council chain-of-custody certification by Scientific Certification Systems (certificate number SCS-COC-001517), supporting CSU, Chico’s campuswide commitment to sustainability. CSU, Chico is one of the first universities in the country to receive this certification.

CSU, Chico's executive director of the Institute for Sustainable Development is Scott McNall.[40] Complete information on the University's involvement in sustainable issues is listed on the Sustainable News Web site.

Chico State made The Princeton Review’s 2011 "Guide to Green Colleges," honoring campuses that "demonstrate a strong commitment to sustainability in their academic offerings, campus infrastructure, activities, and career preparation." [41]

Noted people

Notable alumni

Name Known for Relationship to Chico
Annette Abbott Adams First female Assistant Attorney General of the United States
Matthew Axelson United States Navy SEAL killed in Afghanistan
Big Poppa E Professional slam poet Attended 1994-2000 (Journalism)
Al Borges Football coach BA, 1981
Nelson Briles Former Major League Baseball Player
Donald J. Butz United States Air Force Major General
Don Carlson Former National Basketball Association player
Doug Chapman Actor BA, 1994
Raymond Carver Author
Amanda Detmer Actress
Clair Engle United States Senator BA, 1930
Horace Dove-Edwin Olympian MA in Exercise Science, 1999
Ken Grossman Co-founder Sierra Nevada Brewing Company
Joseph Hilbe Statistician and philosopher BA in Philosophy
Dominik Jakubek Goalkeeper for Major League Soccer BA Liberal Studies 2009
Mat Kearney Columbia Recording Artist Attended Chico State for 2 years
Adnan Khashoggi Saudi businessman
Sandra Lerner Co-founder of Cisco Systems
Michael Messner Sociologist, Professor at the University of Southern California BA, 1974; MA, 1976
Bob Mulholland Political Strategist
Matt Olmstead Writer and television producer
Kathleen O'Neal Gear Historian and archaeologist BA and MA
Maureen O'Toole Olympic silver medalist
Lubna al Qasimi Minister for Economy and Planning of the United Arab Emirates BS in Computer Science
Ed Rollins Political Strategist BA, 1968
Thom Ross Artist degree in fine arts, 1974
Carolyn Shoemaker Astronomer
Mike Thompson Member of the United States Congress
David M. Traversi Author B.S. in Business Administration, 1981
Mark Ulriksen Painter
Patrick Vaughan Historian
Bill Wattenburg Radio host, author, inventor
Chris Wondolowski Midfielder for Major League Soccer
Don Young Member of the United States Congress BA, 1958


Name Known for Relationship to Chico
John Gardner (novelist) Author Professor of English
Michael Gillis Historian Lecturer in history
Janja Lalich Sociologist Professor of Sociology
Harold Lang Dancer and actor Professor of dance, 1970–1985
Peveril Meigs Geographer Professor of geography, 1929–1942
Nicholas Nagy-Talavera Historian Professor of History, 1967–1991
Michael Perelman Author Professor of Economics
Jeff Price Shared in the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize[39] Professor of Geological and Environmental Sciences
Ivan Sviták Philosopher, Critic, Poet Professor of Philosophy, 1925–1994

University presidents

  • Edward Timothy Pierce, 1889–1893
  • Robert F. Pennell, 1893–1897
  • Carleton M. Ritter, 1897–1899
  • Charles C. Van Liew, 1899–1910
  • Allison Ware, 1910–1917
  • Elmer Isaiah Miller, 1910, 1917–1918
  • Charles Osenbaugh, 1918–1930
  • Clarence Knight Studley, 1930–1931
  • Rudolph D. Lindquist, 1931
  • Aymer Jay Hamilton, 1931–1950
  • George Glenn Kendall, 1950–1966
  • Robert Eugene Hill, 1966–1970
  • Lew Dwight Oliver, 1970–1971
  • Stanford Cazier, 1971–1979
  • Robert L. Fredenburg, 1979–1980
  • Robin Wilson, 1980–1993
  • Manuel A. Esteban, 1993–2003
  • Scott McNall, 2003–2004
  • Paul Zingg, 2004–present


  1. ^ "CSU, Chico 2009-2011 Catalog". Retrieved 2011-5-22. 
  2. ^ "2010 NACUBO Endowment Study" (PDF). National Association of College and University Business Officers. Retrieved October 7, 2011. 
  3. ^ a b "Chico Facts - Public Affairs and Publications - CSU, Chico". Retrieved 2011-11-01. 
  4. ^ "CSUMentor - Explore Campuses - Comparative View". Retrieved 2011-11-01. 
  5. ^ Bailey, Mary Ellen. "University Archives: Chico State Normal School (1887-1921)". Retrieved 2008-01-06. 
  6. ^ a b "Playboy's Party Schools". 2008. Retrieved 2007-05-17. 
  7. ^ . 
  8. ^ "'books, Babes, Beer'". Associated Press. April 5, 2006. Retrieved 2007-05-17. 
  9. ^ Morrison, Keith (June 26, 2006). "Hazing death at Chico State". MSNBC. Retrieved 2009-01-18. 
  10. ^ "California State University, Chico Wins Grand Prize for Fighting Global Warming - CSU, Chico News - CSU, Chico". 2007-04-16. Retrieved 2011-11-01. 
  11. ^ "Confronting the killer of your loved one". CNN. 2008-07-22. 
  12. ^ "Civic Learning Initiative Receives Grant from W. M. Keck Foundation - CSU, Chico News - CSU, Chico". 2011-01-31. Retrieved 2011-11-01. 
  13. ^ "Welcome To - Theatre Department - CSU, Chico". Retrieved 2011-11-01. 
  14. ^ "Colleges and Departments". Chico State. 2008. Retrieved 2007-01-04. 
  15. ^ "Program Search". Chico State. 2008. Retrieved 2007-01-04. 
  16. ^ "Library Collections". Meriam Library. 2008. Retrieved 2007-01-04. 
  17. ^ "National Honors for CSU, Chico: Ranked Sixth Among Western Master’s Level Public Universities by U.S. News; In Forbes’ Top 100 List". California State University, Chico. September 13, 2011. Retrieved 2011-10-7. 
  18. ^ a b "National Honors for CSU, Chico: Ranked Sixth Among Western Master’s Level Public Universities by U.S. News; In Forbes’ Top 100 List". California State University, Chico. August 21, 2009. Retrieved 2010-03-17. 
  19. ^ a b c d e f "CSU, Chico Ranked Fourth Among Top Master's Level Public Universities from the West". California State University, Chico. August 22, 2006. Archived from the original on 2007-03-20. Retrieved 2007-05-17. 
  20. ^ "CSU, Chico - 2009-2011 University Catalog". Retrieved 2011-11-01. 
  21. ^ a b "University Archives - Campus Buildings". Retrieved 2011-11-01. 
  22. ^ "CSU, Chico News » Blog Archive » Wildcat Recreation Center Receives Gold Rating for Green Building Standards". 2010-08-09. Retrieved 2011-11-01. 
  23. ^ "CSU, Chico Residential Complex Wins LEED Gold Award - CSU, Chico News - CSU, Chico". 2011-07-27. Retrieved 2011-11-01. 
  24. ^ "Chico Facts - Public Affairs and Publications - CSU, Chico".}. Retrieved 2011-11-01. 
  25. ^ "About". The Orion. Retrieved 2011-11-01. 
  26. ^ "Wildcat Athletics". California State University, Chico. 2006. Retrieved 2007-01-04. 
  27. ^ "Taylor takes the reins at Chico State". Chico Enterprise-Record. July 26, 2006.,1131CFB300BEDB60.html. Retrieved 2007-01-04. 
  28. ^ "Chico State football: 10 years gone, and not likely to...". Chico Enterprise-Record. February 3, 2007.,11716ACED7985820.html. Retrieved 2007-01-04. 
  29. ^ Murphy, Sean (February 3, 2007). "Final coach looks back at the end". Chico Enterprise-Record.,11716C4DEE632EE0.html. Retrieved 2007-01-04. 
  30. ^ "Competing with NCAA Elite - Best of Chico State - CSU, Chico". Retrieved 2011-11-01. 
  31. ^ "CSU, Chico Once Again Receives National Honor for Civic Engagement - CSU, Chico News - CSU, Chico". 2011-05-18. Retrieved 2011-11-01. 
  32. ^ "2006 President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll". Corporation for National and Community Service. 2006. Retrieved 2007-03-01. 
  33. ^ "CSU, Chico Reaches $1 Million for St. Jude Hospital - CSU, Chico News - CSU, Chico". 2010-04-16. Retrieved 2011-11-01. 
  34. ^ [1][dead link]
  35. ^ "The Orion Captures Fifth Straight National Excellence Award - CSU, Chico News - CSU, Chico". 2011-03-21. Retrieved 2011-11-01. 
  36. ^ impact report
  37. ^ "15 Green Colleges and Universities". Grist Magazine. July 2007. Retrieved 2008-12-28. 
  38. ^ "15 Green Colleges and Universities". The DailyGreen. July 2008. Retrieved 2008-12-28. 
  39. ^ a b "Noted CSU, Chico Biologist Named to World Environmental Organization". California State University, Chico. March 5, 2008. Retrieved 2006-12-28. 
  40. ^ "Letter from the Director - Our Sustainable Future - CSU, Chico". Retrieved 2011-11-01. 
  41. ^ "Topping the Green List - Best of Chico State - CSU, Chico". Retrieved 2011-11-01. 

External links

Coordinates: 39°43′54″N 121°50′58″W / 39.73167°N 121.84944°W / 39.73167; -121.84944

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