In 1957, legislature approved the plan to establish California State University in Fullerton as the 12th state college in the state. Dr. William B. Langsdorf was the university’s first president.
In 1959, the founding president selected the university’s first staff and finalized the plan for opening the new school. The original name of the university was Orange County State College. In 1959, the university had 452 full and/or part-time students. Instructors held their classes in the quarters leased in the Fullerton Union High School campus. The following year the college offered classes on its own campus that had twelve temporary buildings.
In 1962, the university’s name changed to Orange State College. In 1962, the campus hosted The First Intercollegiate Elephant Race in Human History. The university’s first permanent building was the McCarthy Hall and ready for classes in 1963. In 1964, the university’s name changed again to California State College at Fullerton. In 1968, the university’s name changed to California State College, Fullerton.
In 1971, Dr. L. Donald Shields, became the school’s second president. In 1972, the school’s name changed to California State University, Fullerton. In 1990, Dr. Milton A. Gordon became the university’s fourth president.
As of 2015, the university is growing rapidly. It features many new buildings and has over 36,000 students. Since its establishment, the university has expanded its curriculum to include lower division work. It also offers a number of graduate, credential and certificate programs.