The Mechoopda Maidu Indians were the original inhabitants of the area issued as the Rancho Arroyo Chico land grant to William Dickey in 1845. General John Bidwell—pioneer, statesman, and founder of Chico—subsequently bought the grant. In 1887, Bidwell donated eight acres of cherry orchard, and construction began on Chico State Normal School. The campus opened in 1889 with 90 students and five faculty members. The first class of teachers graduated in June 1891. Chico State Normal School became Chico State Teachers College in 1921. The legislature converted its teachers colleges to state colleges in 1935, and Chico State Teachers College became Chico State College. In 1972, the college became California State University, Chico.
Art Galleries and Museums: The Turner Print Museum features a collection of over 3,000 fine art prints spanning six centuries, while the Jacki Headley University Art Gallery presents contemporary exhibitions featuring regional, national, and international artists. Student-centered galleries include the B-SO Space and the Master of Fine Arts Galleries. The Valene L. Smith Museum of Anthropology offers student-curated exhibits, lecture series, and summer camps, and the Gateway Science Museum creates educational programs to teach school children about the world around them.
Athletics: There are 13 Division II men’s and women’s athletic teams, with an all-weather track, putting green, jogging trails, two gyms, a soccer stadium, softball fields, Nettleton Stadium (for baseball), tennis courts, basketball courts, weight room, and other facilities.
Housing: The University provides 2,260 living spaces in six on-campus residence halls and one off-campus apartment complex (University Village).
Laboratories: Agriculture, Anthropology, Archeology, Art, Biology, Bio-Psychology, Chemistry, Child Development, Computer Science, Consumer Science, Counseling Psychology, Dietetics/Food Nutrition, Engineering, Exercise Physiology, Foreign Language, Kinesiology, Geosciences, Manufacturing, Physics, Physical Anthropology, Psychology, and Agriculture and Biology greenhouses are among the many labs on campus. In addition there are many student computing facilities (three University open-access labs, including a 24-hour lab; 40+ department labs; and seven residence hall labs).
Meriam Library: The University’s library is a four-story building housing close to a million print volumes, with complete Wi-Fi coverage on all floors. It also contains computer labs, private study rooms, and high-tech collaborative learning spaces. Through the Library ReSEARCH Station, users can access more than 100 electronic databases leading to full-text articles in over 41,000 journals and get help with their research online using Ask A Librarian. Special Collections houses the northeastern California collection of books, photographs, and manuscripts as well as the University Archives and the Rare Book Collection.
Performing Arts and Public Events: The University has three theatres, one auditorium, two gyms, and three athletic stadiums, attracting more than 150,000 people from the region to attend activities on campus each year. The School of the Arts presents an active calendar of student performances and art events of all kinds, including the North State Symphony; the annual spring musical; and galleries showcasing work of students, faculty, and invited artists. The Humanities Center hosts an eclectic calendar of speakers and faculty symposia. Chico Performances presents a variety of professional touring artists in music, dance, and theatre. It also hosts the President’s Lecture Series, which has included Mikhail Gorbachev, Desmond Tutu, Jane Goodall, and Shimon Peres.
Preserves: Chico State Enterprises manages several land preserves for the primary purposes of protection, enhancement, research, and education. These include the 3,950-acre Big Chico Creek Ecological Reserve, the 300-acre Butte Creek Ecological Preserve, and the 80-acre Eagle Lake Field Station.
University Farm: The 800-acre Paul L. Byrne University Farm offers lab experience in beef, swine, sheep, goat, and organic dairy production; meat lab; ag mechanics; orchard management; and crops, soils, and sustainable agriculture.