In 1957, Orange County State College became the 12th state college in California to be authorized by the state legislature as a degree-granting institution. The following year, a site was designated for the campus to be established in northeast Fullerton. The property was purchased in 1959. This is the same year that Dr. William B. Langsdorf was appointed as founding president of the school.
Classes began with 452 students in September 1959. The name of the school was changed to Orange State College in July 1962. In 1964, its name was changed to California State College at Fullerton. In June 1972, the final name change occurred and the school became California State University, Fullerton.
The choice of the elephant as the university’s mascot, dubbed Tuffy the Titan, dates to 1962, when the campus hosted “The First Intercollegiate Elephant Race in Human History.” The May 11 event attracted 10,000 spectators, 15 pachyderm entrants, and worldwide news coverage.
See also: California State University, Fullerton, massacre
The campus has seen two significant instances of violence with people shot and killed. On July 12, 1976, Edward Charles Allaway, a campus janitor with paranoid schizophrenia, shot nine people, killing seven, in the University Library (now the Pollak Library) on the Cal State Fullerton campus. At the time, it was the worst mass shooting in Orange County history. On October 13, 1984, Edward Cooperman, a physics professor, was shot and killed by his former student, Minh Van Lam, in McCarthy Hall.
2000s: Modern growth
The university grew rapidly in the first decade of the 2000s. The Performing Arts Center was built in January 2006, and in the summer of 2008 the newly constructed Steven G. Mihaylo Hall and the new Student Recreation Center opened. In fall 2008, the Performing Arts Center was renamed the Joseph A.W. Clayes III Performing Arts Center, in honor of a $5 million pledge made to the university by the trustees of the Joseph A.W. Clayes III Charitable Trust. Since 1963, the curriculum has expanded to include many graduate programs, including multiple doctorate degrees, as well as numerous credential and certificate programs.
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