INSTITUTION: AN OVERVIEW
California State University, San Bernardino was born on April 29, 1960, when legislation was enacted to found San Bernardino-Riverside State College. The California State College system’s board of trustees selected a 430-acre site in north San Bernardino in 1963 to build the campus, and the college’s official name was changed to California State College at San Bernardino.
In 1997, Albert K. Karnig took the reins as the university’s third president. During the Karnig presidency, the campus constructed and expanded more than 1.5 million square feet of facilities, including the education building, social and behavioral sciences, chemical sciences, several corporation yard facilities, the enlarged student union, an expanded health center, the student recreation and fitness center, two parking structures, a new nursing laboratory, a privately funded water conservation demonstration garden, the privately funded Murillo Family astronomical observatory, the Veterans Success Center, and three new apartment complexes to accommodate 1,500 students.
The university also developed more than a dozen highly active research and service centers, including the Watson and Associates Literacy Center, the William and Barbara Leonard Transportation Center, Inland Empire Entrepreneurship Center, Palm Springs Center for a Sustainable Environment, and others focused on issues as diverse as water, economics education, developmental disabilities, global economics, hate and extremism, Middle Eastern and Islamic studies, child development, indigenous peoples, health disparities, criminal justice, learning, public opinion, recidivism, and many more.
CSUSB achieved records in enrollment, diversity of faculty and students, grant and contract funding, overhead funds, fundraising, and international program development. In fact, by 2011, the university’s first-to-second year student retention rates reached record levels, as nearly 90 percent of all CSUSB first-time freshmen returned to the university—a level that was, at the time, among the three best in the 23-campus California State University system.
CSUSB established a successful cybersecurity program, becoming a national leader in cybersecurity education in 2008, which led to a Center of Academic Excellence designation from the National Security Agency and Department of Homeland Security (in cyber defense/information assurance) through 2021.
In 2012, CSUSB was one of only four U.S. institutions and 18 in the world designated as Most Innovative Business Colleges by European CEO Magazine. Additionally, The Chronicle of Higher Education named CSUSB as one of the nation’s “Best Colleges to Work For.” The university was also one of just five recipients of The Washington Center’s prestigious 2012 Higher Education Civic Engagement Award.
Tomás D. Morales, who was previously president at the College of Staten Island, the City University of New York, became Cal State San Bernardino’s fourth president on August 15, 2012. Morales was officially invested on June 14, 2013.
Under President Morales’s leadership, CSUSB experienced the most profound philanthropic growth in university history. Upon his arrival in August 2012, the university’s endowment stood at roughly $19 million. By the winter of 2018, the endowment had grown to $40+ million. In September 2016, President Morales launched the public phase of the $50 million Campaign for CSUSB, the largest single fundraising initiative in university history. Just 20 months later, the campaign had raised 93 percent of its goal ($46.5 M).
President Morales led the acquisition of the single largest cash gift in CSUSB history, $10 million from grocery titan Jack H. Brown of Stater Bros. The gift led to the first college naming in campus history, the Jack H. Brown College of Business and Public Administration.
In 2013, CSUSB’s satellite Palm Desert Campus welcomed its first freshman class. The graduation rate of that cohort finished at 20 percent, which would be among the highest in the CSU system if it was an independent campus.
The university has continued to be recognized by a number of prestigious organizations, including U.S. News & World Report, which ranked CSUSB among the top colleges and universities in the western U.S.; Princeton Review, which named CSUSB one of the “Best in the West”; and Forbes magazine, which named CSUSB one of “America’s Top Colleges.” The university has also continued to receive recognitions for being a Military Friendly School and being one of the leading institutions for Hispanics in the nation. In addition to being designated a Hispanic Serving Institution, CSUSB is also a designated Minority Serving Institution.
CSUSB began expanding its main campus with the groundbreaking of a new student housing and dining complex in 2016. At $95.8 million and 164,000 square feet, the project represented the single largest development project in CSUSB history. In addition, CSUSB broke ground for the Center for Global Innovation in late 2017, and introduced the Faculty Center for Excellence, Staff Development Center, and the student study lounge dubbed The Cave. The student-approved 100,000 square feet expansion of the San Manuel Student Union is scheduled to open in fall 2021, following the university’s switch from a quarter system to semesters in fall 2020.