Skip to main content
It looks like you're using Internet Explorer 11 or older. This website works best with modern browsers such as the latest versions of Chrome, Firefox, Safari, and Edge. If you continue with this browser, you may see unexpected results.

University Origin Collections

at California State University, Dominguez Hills

Images from the Collections

Proposed site of CSC Palos Verdes campus overlooking Pacific Ocean

Proposed site for California State College at Palos Verdes

With 1960 Charter to establish South Bay State College, Board of Trustees looked to Palos Verdes as site. Site on Palos Verdes Peninsula was approved and college name changed to California State College at Palos Verdes. Plan was later abandoned. Site shown around 1964.

Campus architect's rendering of proposed Palos Verdes campus

Sketch of college campus on Palos Verdes Peninsula

Campus architect A. Quincy Jones's 1964 sketch for a campus on Palos Verdes Peninsula was scrapped when plans for a Palos Verdes campus were abandoned. However, many elements of the Master Plan were incorporated into Jones's design for the Dominguez Hills campus.

Rolling Hills bank building where first classes of new college held

Rolling Hills branch of California Federal Bank

While fate of Palos Verdes campus was determined, first classes held in California Federal Bank in nearby Rolling Hills, shown around 1965

Aerial view of Dominiguez Hills' Watt Campus

Aerial view of Watt Campus Complex

When Dominguez Hills site chosen as site for South Bay college, temporary campus built by contractor Ray Watt across the street from future permanent campus. Watt Campus housed school operations and classes for three years. Shown in late 1960s.

View of fields and roads bordering future Dominguez Hills campus

Dominguez Hills campus soon after groundbreaking.

Bleak, rainy view of open field and roads soon after construction official began on Dominguez Hills campus in 1968. View looking west toward Victoria Street.

campus library building

Leo F. Cain University Library

Leo F. Cain Library building, named for first college president, designed by campus architect A. Quincy Jones. Fifth floor of building also served as home of Campus Administration for early years of the campus, here shown in the early 1970s.

Three women and one man pose in graduation regalia in front of books

First four graduates of new Dominguez Hills college

First CSUDH graduates pose in regalia in library. The four represent the first graduating class of the new California State College at Dominguez Hills.

CSU Dominguez Hills Origin Collections

These collections document the history of the university, from the 1960 charter establishing the mandate for a college in Los Angeles County's South Bay region to planning and building of the campus at Dominguez Hills. Materials in the collection include correspondence, building and curriculum plans, operational specifications, city resolutions, petitions, newsclippings, and photographs. Photographs have been removed to the California State University Dominguez Hills photograph Collection.

  • CSUDH Master Planning/Site Selection Collection (1958-1984) contains reports, correspondence, legislative bills, studies, maps, photographs, and news clippings related to 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.
  • Ten Year History of California State University, Dominguez Hills Collection (1961-1986) contains Harry Nethery's personal account of California State College (later University), Dominguez Hills's founding and early years. In addition to the unedited manuscript, the collection includes a note on the collection transfer from Judson Grenier, memorandum from H.A. Nethery to CSUDH Library Staff and History Faculty, draft instructions, preface, introduction, nine drafted chapters, appendices, and sixteen audiocassettes.

Brief History of Origin of California State University, Dominguez Hills

In 1960, California Governor Edmund G. "Pat" Brown signed the charter to establish a college in Los Angeles County's burgeoning South Bay region. In 1962, the California State College Board of Trustees selected Palos Verdes to be the site of the campus, and soon thereafter the name of the prospective campus was changed to California State College at Palos Verdes, and a Master Plan for the college was designed by renowned architect A. Quincy Jones. Due to a delay in construction, the first classes of the new college were held in a bank building in nearby Rolling Hills Estates. These were the only classes held under the college's name as California State College at Palos Verdes.

When negotiations for a permanent  campus in Palos Verdes fell through, the search for a new site began. A number of possible sites were considered, with the final three sites being in Torrance, Fox Hills, and an unincorporated part of the South Bay called Dominguez Hills. the Dominguez Hills site was part of the historic Rancho San Pedro region, giving it a connection to one of the largest and most important of the great Southern California ranchos. Additionally, the Dominguez Hills site was close to the South Central area of Los Angeles, and could best serve the Board of Trustees's goal to provide a university for the underserved and underrepresented populations of the region. The site was selected in 1965, and the land purchased from the Dominguez family companies -- the heirs of the Rancho San Pedro.

A temporary campus was built quickly by famed contractor Ray Watt, and the first classes of California State College, Dominguez were held in 1966. The Watt Campus, as it was called, was located on the north side of Victoria Street in what would soon be incorporated as the city of Carson. The permanent campus began construction across Victoria Street, with the first classes held there in 1968. Classes continued to be held on both campuses until 1970, when all classes were held on the permanent campus.

In 1977, the Board of Trustees conferred university status on the institution, and the campus officially became known as California State University, Dominguez Hills.