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1949 - 1955

A College is Born

Gov. Earl Warren signs Assembly Bill No. 8 on January 1949, authorizing the building of a new state college to serve the booming population of Los Angeles and Orange counties.

Since no one knew the definitive location of the college's campus, the college was initially named Los Angeles-Orange County State College. 

First President Arrives

Dr. P. Victor Peterson is named president of the new college.

During the first week an assembly was held in the quad. Dr. Peterson introduced his staff and spoke of the status and the future of the new school.
Dr. Peterson introduces his staff and speaks of the status and the future of the new school.

First Day of Class

On Sept. 29, 1949, Los Angeles-Orange County State College opens with 169 enrolled students and 13 full-time faculty in a converted apartment building at 5401 E. Anaheim Street.

Classes are only offered to junior and seniors consisting mostly of women and veterans. The college offers 29 classes with an emphasis on Teacher Education, Business Education, and the Liberal Arts.

The biggest classes are held in living rooms. Middle-sized classes take place in the dinning rooms and the smallest classes are taught in the kitchen. Music education students store their music and instruments in the bathroom. 

newly created apartment building
converted apartment building at 5401 E Anaheim St.

Associated Student Body Established

The Associated Student Body is created in 1949. Roger Bryson becomes the Student Body's first president.

Roger Bryson, first ASI president
Roger Bryson

first ASI committee
Bryson and staff

Printing Begins at The Daily 49er 

The first organization of the Daily 49er debuts on Nov. 11, 1949, making its initial appearance on newsstands in mimeographed form. 

early version of the daily forty-niner newspaper
early edition of the Daily 49er newspaper

First Spring Semester 

Spring 1950 brings over 600 students to the new college.

Extended-Day Classes 

February 1950 marks the start of extended-day classes, as students demand added class and study hours.

The First 49er Day

The first 49er Day is sponsored by the Women Students Organized for Service (WSOS). Classes are dismissed for the afternoon activities and both students and faculty dress in their 49er Day costumes.

Classes were dismissed for the afternoon activities and both students and faculty dressed in their 49er Day costumes.

A Permanent Home and First Renaming

The City of Long Beach, by vote of the people, authorizes the City Council to purchase a 320-acre tract of land in June 1950. The land is deeded to the State to be the future home of the new college. The college is renamed to Long Beach State College

Long Beach State College Seal
The LBSC seal.

Enrollment Doubles 

Enrollment increases to 971 students by Fall 1950.

School Traditions Emerge

Student body president Bill O’Neill gives the school its Gold Rush theme and adopts brown and gold as the school colors. Isabel Patterson, who goes on to teach at the college, decrees the school nickname the 49ers. 

Campus Welcomes Nugget the Mascot 

Nugget the mule becomes LBSC's first mascot. 

Nugget the mule, LBSC's first mascot

First Graduate Program Created

The first Graduate Program is introduced into the California State Colleges by legislative authority. At LBSC, the Master of Arts degree is designed for those in or about to enter the teaching profession.

Learning in Temporary Buildings

Spring 1951 begins with classes taught on temporary locations while plans are finished for the college's new home.

49er Day Becomes a Spring Tradition

The second 49er Day is an all-school event taking place during the spring semester, sponsored by Women Students Organized for Service (WSOS).

49er day activities

Alumni Association Founded

The Alumni Association is founded to sponsor and coordinate activities of interest to the graduates of the college. Eugene Amsberry serves as the first president.

Sports Come to Campus

Men's Basketball is the first sport to debut on campus. Later in the year the first Men's Golf team is formed.

first men's basketball team
1951 First Men's Basketball Team with Coach Herman Schwartzkopf.

First Master's Degree Recipients

Eleven candidates are the first to receive their Master of Arts degree from LBSC.

Construction Begins on Permanent Buildings 

Summer 1951 signals the start of construction on the permanent campus, while temporary buildings are still being formed to accommodate students for the upcoming Fall semester. Classes convene on the new campus in temporary buildings in September 1951. The parking lot is situated on the side of a hill, and when it rains, the vehicles slide down the hill, bumping into each other in the mud.

aerial rendering of the new campus
aerial rendering of the new campus

Construction for Student Facilities 

New student services are established to accommodate students, such as the library, a health office, The 49er Canteen, a lounge, bookstore, and placement office.

new library

Enrollment Continues to Expand 

By Spring 1952 enrollment more than doubles again to over 2,000 students with more than 80 instructional staff.

cthe in-between class rush at the 49er Canteen.
The 49er Canteen.

Student life revolved around the Quad, outside of the 49er Canteen.
Outside of the 49er Canteen.

Brown and Gold Day Dance

The Junior Class sponsors the inaugural Brown and Gold Day Dance during Fall 1952, honoring the basketball team. The dance becomes an annual favorite among the campus.

"Unrestrained Accreditation"

After a two-year probationary period, "Unrestrained Accreditation" is granted to LBSC by the Northwest Association of Secondary and Higher Schools, signaling the start of full academic standing at the rapidly expanding university. 

bird view of the permanent structures on the new campus
Air view of LBSC, taken during the Spring Semester, 1953, shows the completed temporary quarters. Initial work on the future campus can be seen in the upper-right corner of this photo.

Spring Registration Brings Growing Lines

Over 2,500 students enroll for the Spring 1953 semester on the first day of registration, 15 times as many as "the Pioneers" group of 1949.

New student enrollment on first day of spring semester registration, 1953
Enrollees are pictured as they line up to register for classes.

Groundbreaking Continues

A groundbreaking ceremony initiates construction on the hill for the Language Arts and Fine Arts Buildings, the Library, and the Little Theatre. Among the dignitaries taking part are Mayor Lyman B. Sutter, State Superintendent Roy E. Simpson, and ASB President, Jim Russell.

Introduction of Lower-Division Courses 

Long Beach State College begins offering lower-division classes, admitting its first class of freshman and sophomore students. The freshman class consists of 114 students.

1953, LBSC Seal
1953, LBSC Seal

Buildings in Progress

Construction of permanent buildings begins for the Fine Arts Buildings, the Library, classrooms, Physical Education and the Little Theatre.

building in progress
Fine arts unit

building in progress, library
Library

building in progress, office
Classroom office wing

building in progress,
Physical education unit

building in progress, theater
Little Theater

First Baseball Team

Long Beach State's first baseball team makes its debut for the Spring season with John J. McConnell as Head Coach.

First Baseball team

First Track & Field Team

Track & Field makes its debut under the coaching of Walter Crowe.

Coach Walter Crowe & Sprinters
Coach Walter Crowe & Sprinters

Enrollment Keeps Increasing at Long Beach

Enrollment continues to grow at LBSC, with over 3,000 students attending Fall 1954.

Students gathering in the shade on the lawn of the upper campus

First Permanent Classrooms Installed  

Jan. 1, 1955 marks the end of LBSC's emerging stages. The first permanent buildings are occupied after a two-year construction process.

First permanent buildings occupied.

First Football Team

A football team begins training under Coach Mike Delotto. Delotto prepares his eager players for their first upcoming season.