State to Long Beach: We’ll Give You A College If You Give Us the Land to Build It On (Apr. 6, 1950)

Posted: February 2, 2011 in colleges

Above scene:  Industrial arts students are required to build a patio shelter to earn a grade.  Free labor for grades?  It’s now called “internship.”  (photo from the totally obscure 1953 Prospector).

In April 1950, the Long Beach Chamber of Commerce began to campaign voters to sign off on city funds being used to purchase of a site for the four-year Long Beach State College because California Public Works Board decided to accept Long Beach’s offer of the 320-acre site located east of Long Beach Naval Hospital.  Only problem:  it wasn’t the city’s land to give away.  They had to buy it first and that took money…approximately $1 million in uplands oil money to purchase the site for the state on condition that this action is approved by the voters at the June 6 election.

“The selection of Long Beach as the site for the four year state college is a welcome and wise decision,” said the CofC leader. “This college will constitute a tremendous cultural asset to Long Beach and also will strengthen the city’s economy.  And further, blah, blah, blah”

He pointed out that $10 million already has been appropriated for buildings and said it is anticipated that the state will spend $10 million in establishing the college.

buildings under construction

"in the welter of building activity, students found the dust, muck and debris a formidable obstacle to education."

State educational leaders had predicted that the school would accommodate 5000 students by 1956. Inasmuch as enrollment at the temporary college established in Long Beach has passed the 670 mark, it is expected that this peak will be reached sooner.

The school eventually will have a staff of 350, representing a payroll of $2 million annually. Expenditures by students coming to Long Beach from other areas also is expected to bolster the local economy…not to mention the slave labor as pictured above.  Just kidding about the slave part…meant to call it intern-supplied labor…uh, class credits.


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