California State University San Marcos

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
California State University San Marcos
CSU San Marcos seal.svg
TypePublic university
Established1989; 32 years ago (1989)
Endowment$27.9 million (2020)[1]
PresidentEllen Neufeldt[2]
ProvostCarl Kemnitz[3]
Academic staff
615 (225 tenured or tenure-track)[4]
Students14,643 (Fall 2020)[5]
Undergraduates13,962 (Fall 2020)[5]
Postgraduates681 (Fall 2020)[5]
Location, ,
United States
CampusSuburban, 340 acres (140 ha)
ColorsBlue, black, white
AthleticsNCAA Division IICCAA
California State University
CSU San Marcos logo.svg

California State University San Marcos (CSUSM or Cal State San Marcos) is a public university in San Marcos, California. It was founded in 1989 as the 21st campus in the 23-campus California State University (CSU) system.

CSUSM offers 43 bachelor's degrees,[6] 23 master's degrees, an Ed.D. program, and 13 teaching credentials.[7][8] The university has four colleges: the College of Business Administration; the College of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics; the College of Humanities, Arts, Behavioral and Social Sciences; and the College of Education, Health and Human Services.[9] In January 2021, the university had 979 faculty.[10] The university is a Hispanic-serving institution.


Efforts by community and political leaders to bring a state university to North County date back to the 1960s. In 1969, the chancellor of the CSU system, Glenn S. Dumke, issued a report concluding that there was "an ultimate need" for a new university campus in the area.[11]

In 1978, State Senator William A. Craven (1921-1999) of Carlsbad won $250,000 in state funding for a North County satellite campus of San Diego State University, which opened at Lincoln Junior High School in Vista[12] with an enrollment of 148 students. In 1982, the satellite moved to larger quarters in an office building on Los Vallecitos Boulevard in San Marcos.[11] When it appeared that the new San Marcos campus would be a satellite of San Diego State, CSU Chancellor W. Ann Reynolds insisted on an independent university with the goal of creating leadership opportunities for women and minorities. CSUSM would also go on to attract more STEM-focused students than SDSU, as well. In September 1985, Senate Bill 1060, introduced by Craven, passed, appropriating $250,000 for a feasibility study on building a university in North County. By 1988, the enrollment of SDSU North County had reached 1,250 students, and the CSU board of trustees purchased for $10.6 million the future site of CSUSM, the 304-acre Prohoroff Poultry Farm in San Marcos. The hillside site lies approximately 8 miles (13 km) due east of the Pacific Ocean and 35 miles (56 km) due north of downtown San Diego. The CSU trustees also requested $51.8 million in state funds for the first phase of construction.[11]

In 1989, Governor George Deukmejian signed Senate Bill 365 (also sponsored by Craven) into law, officially creating Cal State San Marcos. Bill W. Stacy was named the university's first president in June 1989, and over the next year recruited the first 12 members of the faculty.[11] These dozen "founding faculty" played an important role in the university's early years and are today honored at Founders Plaza on the CSUSM campus. Stacy and the faculty were given $3.9 million to begin the university.

On Feb. 23, 1990, ground was broken on the new campus, and construction began at the former chicken farm.[12] In the fall of 1990, the first class enrolled at the new university: 448 juniors and seniors. (Initially, only upperclassmen were admitted to CSUSM.) While construction continued on the permanent campus, classes continued to be held at the former SDSU satellite location on Los Vallecitos Boulevard. An industrial facility on Stone Drive was also used to provide lab space for the biology program, and was used through January 1993. In 1991, the university conferred its first degrees, as seven students were awarded Bachelor of Arts degrees. CSUSM's first official commencement ceremony was held in May 1992.[11]

In the fall of 1992, the permanent CSUSM campus at Twin Oaks Valley Road opened. The first buildings were Craven Hall (opened December 1992), Academic Hall, Science Hall I, and the University Commons.[11][13] The university had grown to 1,700 students and 305 faculty and staff.[11]

The university continued to grow rapidly, and by 1993 CSUSM's enrollment had grown to almost 2,500 and it received accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. In 1995, CSUSM admitted its first freshman class and offered lower-division (and general education) courses for the first time, with enrollment growing to 3,600. The same year, the College of Education was fully accredited by the National Council for Accreditation of Teacher Education.[11]

Cal State San Marcos' Kellogg Library, overlooking University Hall Plaza (foreground)

In 1996, CSUSM received two major gifts: $1 million from Jean and W. Keith Kellogg II, the first of a series of gifts for the Kellogg Library, and a $1.3 million bequest from Lucille Griset Spicer (presented by Spicer's siblings Richard H. Griset Sr. and Margaret Griset Liermann) to begin a student loan fund.[11]

In early 1997, Stacy departed as university president, and Alexander Gonzalez was named interim president. In 1998, the CSU Board of Trustees made Gonzalez permanent president. By 1997, enrollment had grown to 4,400, the faculty had grown to 300 (including part-time instructors).[11] The university also received additional major donations, including a $2.3 million gift from Leonard Evers to establish the Evers Computer Scholarship and a donation from Bob and Ruth Mangrum to build the Mangrum Track & Soccer Field.[11] The university intercollegiate athletics department opened in 1998, and initially consisted of men's and women's golf, cross-country, and track and field.[11]

A campus "building boom" began, with the Foundation Classroom Buildings opening in December 1996, University Hall in 1998, Science Hall II and the Arts Building in August 2002, and the University Village Apartments and the nearby M. Gordon Clarke Field House in 2003. The University Village Apartments were the university's first on-campus housing; the new student union, known as "the Clarke," was funded by $1.2 million gift pledged in 1998 by Helene Clarke in honor of her husband.[11]

The campus' first freestanding library, the five-story, nearly 200,000 square feet (19,000 m2) Kellogg Library later opened. The campus' Starbucks coffee is next to it.

In 2004, Karen S. Haynes was named the university's third president, following Gonzalez's departure the year previously, and the university announced that it planned to establish a nursing school. In the fall of 2004, over 7,000 students enrolled.[11]

A view of the campus from the Sprinter station. To the right is Parking Structure I.

In 2006, the College of Business Administration's Markstein Hall opened, funded by a 2003 state grant of almost $25 million and a 2005 pledge of $5 million from Kenneth and Carole Markstein.[11] The School of Nursing opened in the fall of 2006.[11]

The SPRINTER light rail provides service to a station on the northeast corner of the campus. It was intentionally constructed near the University Village Apartments. It connects the campus to other cities of north San Diego County, including Oceanside, Vista and Escondido. The university's first parking garage, the six-floor, 1,605-space Parking Structure I, is near the main campus.[14] The 106,509 gross square foot Social and Behavioral Sciences Building at the north end of the campus is next to it.[15]

CSUSM also has an Extended Learning program. According to its website: “Extended Learning (EL) at California State University San Marcos serves as the academic outreach arm of the university. As a unit within the Academic Affairs Division, EL is North San Diego County’s premier provider of continuing education and training programs. Cal State San Marcos, and—by extension, EL—is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges.”

For the 2011–2012 academic year, tuition and fees rose to $6,596, a 31% increase attributed to the state's budget crisis; it was the largest such percentage increase in the United States.[16]


The university is accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC).

The university has four colleges:[17]

  • College of Business Administration (COBA): There are seven undergraduate departments—Accounting; Finance; Global Business Management; Management; Management Information Systems; Marketing; and Operations and Supply Chain Management).[18] There are three graduate programs—Master of Business Administration (MBA); Fully Employed MBA; and Specialized MBA.
  • College of Science, Technology, Engineering and Mathematics (CSTEM): There are seven departments—Biological Sciences; Biotechnology; Chemistry and Biochemistry; Computer Science and Information Systems; Engineering; Mathematics; Physics)[19]
  • College of Humanities, Arts, Behavioral and Social Sciences (CHABSS): There are 22 departments—American Indian Studies; Anthropology; Communication; Economics; Environmental Studies; Ethnic Studies; Film Studies; Global Studies; History; Liberal Studies; Literature and Writing Studies; Modern Language Studies; Philosophy; Political Science; Psychology; School of Arts: Art, Media and Design; School of Arts: Music; School of Arts: Theatre Arts; School of Arts: Dance Studies; Social Sciences; Sociology; Women's Gender and Sexuality Studies)[20]
  • College of Education, Health and Human Services (CEHHS): which has three schools—School of Health Sciences & Human Services; School of Nursing and School of Education; within the schools are seven departments—Education; Human Development; Kinesiology; Nursing; Public Health; Social Work; and Speech-Language Pathology.[21]

According to “Main Academic Excellence that is in line with California State University-San Marcos admission standards. Score at least a 960 on the SAT or 60 on the ACT. Maintain a GPA of at least a 3.26.” are the admission standards for the school.

Popular majors for undergraduates in 2018 included Registered Nursing, Nursing Administration, Nursing Research and Clinical Nursing at 17.67%, Business Administration (Management and Operations) at 14.03%, and Human Development, Family Studies, and Related Services at 7.62%. While popular majors for graduates were Education (General) at 30.86%, Business Administration (Management and Operations) at 13.92% and Social Work at 13.23%.[22]

The Five most popular majors for 2019 graduates.[23]

During the COVID-19 pandemic, in 2020, all of CSUSM's classes moved online with the exceptions of science-based and performance-based classes.


The 2021 USNWR Best Regional Colleges West Rankings ranks San Marcos 13 on Top Performers on Social Mobility, 22 on Best Undergraduate Teaching and 28 on Top Public Schools.[23]


All levels, freshman through graduate
*Demographics of student body Fall 2020 [28] Fall 2019 [29] Fall 2018 [30]
Hispanic/Latino Americans 49% 47% Null
Mexican American/Chicano Null Null 39.3%
Other Latino American Null Null 6.9%
White 27% 27% 27.0%
Asian American 9% 9% 4.2%
Filipino American Null Null 4.9%
Pacific Islander 0% 0% 0.2%
Black 3% 3% 3.0%
Native American/American Indian 0% 0% 0.3%
Multiracial Americans 5% 5% 5.2%
International/Non-resident alien 4% 5% 4.8%
Unknown 3% 4% 4.3%
Woman 61% Null Null
Men 39% Null Null

In 2019 60% of the students were female, 40% male. [29] There are also a sizable number of transfer students from community colleges. The "local admissions area community colleges" for CSU San Marcos are Mount San Jacinto College in Riverside County and Mira Costa College and Palomar College in San Diego County.[31] About 50 percent of transfer students are from North San Diego County, 2 percent from San Diego County elsewhere; and 48 percent from Riverside County.[32]

The school is thought to be above average in terms of general diversity, they are ranked #1,050 nationwide.

This CSU is still considered somewhat of a “small school”—especially in comparison to other San Diego County institutions such as San Diego State University and University of California, San Diego.[33] Looking to expand, the campus master plan envisions the university growing to an enrollment of 25,000.[33]

In 2020, 47% of students receive Pell Grants (United States Department of Education).

Student life[edit]

There are over 100 recognized student organizations on campus.[34] The school's clubs and organizations include: cultural/religious clubs (French Club, German Club, Movimiento Indian Student Organization, Estudiantil Chicano de Aztlan (M.E.Ch.A), Vietnamese Student Association, Hillel, Catholic Club, etc.), service clubs (volunteering), academic clubs (often tied to a students major or minor), Special interest (Anime and Gaming, Theater, Improv, Ocean Conservation, Sustainability, Border Angels, Students for Life, Student Veterans Organization, Transitions Collective, etc.) and political clubs (College Democrats and College Republicans). The school has many Honor Societies as well.

The student newspaper is called The Cougar Chronicle.[35]

CSU San Marcos is a "perennial top performer" in RecycleMania, a nationwide college and university recycling competition, and had been ranked #1 for six consecutive years (2005–2011).[36]

Greek life[edit]

CSUSM recognizes several fraternities and sororities, each belonging to one of three different governing councils. Social fraternities belong to the Interfraternity Council, while social sororities belong to the Panhellenic Council.[37]

Fraternities (IFC)[37] Sororities (PHC)[37]

Additionally, cultural-interest fraternities and sororities belong to the Multicultural Greek Council.

Fraternities (MGC)[37] Sororities (MGC)[37]

University Student Union[edit]

The University Student Union (USU) consists of various student groups, cultural centers, a gender center, an LGBTQ+ center, an extended food court, a convenience store [called “The Market”], two game rooms, a ballroom, an outdoor amphitheater, and a commuter lounge which includes a shower and lockers. In the food court are a Panda Express, SubConnection, Caliente, and WOW American Grill. On the east side of the USU is Crash's Cafe (formerly Jazzman's Cafe) and Bakery, which sells coffee and pastries. The USU offers many spaces for students to gather between classes with seating, electronic charging ports and restrooms. The indoor windows showcase panoramic views of the San Marcos valley.

University District (North City) and housing[edit]

An urban district of San Marcos, intended to directly serve the community, is just across from the university's main campus. Several other buildings, including apartment complexes with ground-level store fronts, numerous small businesses and residential complexes, a medical center, and a hotel are all in the district.

The university has two housing options: the University Village Apartments (UVA) and Quad Apartments. Both are apartment-style dorms with fitness centers, pools, game rooms, common areas and more. The Quad is directly across from the universities Extended Learning Building (ELB).


Cal State San Marcos athletic teams are nicknamed the Cougars, and their official colors are bright/royal blue and white. The Cougars are member of the California Collegiate Athletic Association (CCAA) and compete on the Division II level of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA). CSUSM sponsors a total of 17 sports: men's sports include soccer, baseball, basketball, golf, cross country, and track & field; women's sports include soccer, softball, basketball, volleyball, golf, cross country, track & field, cheer and dance.

The original mascot of the campus was Tukwut, the name for the California mountain lion in the Luiseño language of the local Native American Luiseño people. However, the mascot was "dropped for something with more ring," and in a referendum students selected "cougar" over "mountain lion." The dropping of the indigenous word was criticized by a faculty member at CSU San Marcos.[38] San Marcos leads as of 2020 in Women's Golf CCAA Championships and was Runner-up in the 2019 NCAA Division II Women's Golf Championships.[39]

President and faculty[edit]

The university has/had five presidents:

Notable alumni[edit]

- Mark Hoppus (member of rock band Blink-182)[42]

- Kimberly Dark (performance artist, writer and sociologist)

- Robert C. Nowakowski (Rear Admiral in the United States Navy)

- Shaun White professional snowboarder, skateboarder and musician.

- Mason Grimes (professional soccer player)

- Tiffany van Soest (professional Muay Thai kickboxer)


  1. ^ As of June 30, 2020. U.S. and Canadian Institutions Listed by Fiscal Year 2020 Endowment Market Value and Change in Endowment Market Value from FY19 to FY20 (Report). National Association of College and University Business Officers and TIAA. February 19, 2021. Retrieved February 21, 2021.
  2. ^ "Office of the President". Retrieved 2019-10-31.
  3. ^ "Office of the Interim Provost". Retrieved 2020-06-08.
  4. ^ "CSU Employee Profile" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2014-06-28. Retrieved 2015-09-29.
  5. ^ a b c "Fall Term Student Enrollment". The California State University Institutional Research and Analyses. Archived from the original on December 2, 2019. Retrieved January 4, 2021.
  6. ^ Academic Offerings Archived 2008-08-31 at the Library of Congress Web Archives. California State University, San Marcos.
  7. ^ "Search CSU Degrees". Archived from the original on 2016-05-26. Retrieved 2013-08-06.
  8. ^ "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2015-04-24. Retrieved 2017-03-19.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  9. ^ Colleges & Programs. California State University, San Marcos.
  10. ^ "Fast Facts". CSUSM. Retrieved 12 February 2019.
  11. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p CSUSM Campus History, California State University, San Marcos.
  12. ^ a b Carol Cox: The inspirational catalyst for Cal State San Marcos Archived 2013-03-08 at the Wayback Machine, Spring/Summer 2010. Steps Magazine, CSU San Marcos.
  13. ^ "University Commons". Retrieved 2013-08-06.
  14. ^ "Parking Structure I". Retrieved 2013-08-06.
  15. ^ Social and Behavior Sciences Building.
  16. ^ "5 biggest state tuition hikes". CNNMoney. October 26, 2011. Retrieved 2011-10-28.
  17. ^ Colleges and Programs. California State University, San Marcos.
  18. ^ Departments & Options Archived 2012-06-30 at the Wayback Machine. California State University, San Marcos College of Business Administration.
  19. ^ Departments Archived 2012-07-23 at the Wayback Machine. California State University, San Marcos College of Science and Mathematics.
  20. ^ Departments. California State University, San Marcos College of Humanities, Arts, Behavioral and Social Sciences.
  21. ^ Departments. California State University, San Marcos College of Education, Health and Human Services.
  22. ^ Retrieved 2020-12-29. Missing or empty |title= (help)
  23. ^ a b "2021 U.S. News". U.S. News & World Report. Retrieved 2020-12-15.
  24. ^ "Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education College Rankings 2021". Wall Street Journal/Times Higher Education. Retrieved October 20, 2020.
  25. ^ "Best Colleges 2021: Regional Universities Rankings". U.S. News & World Report. Retrieved September 24, 2020.
  26. ^ "2020 Rankings -- Masters Universities". Washington Monthly. Retrieved August 31, 2020.
  27. ^ "California State University–San Marcos - U.S. News Best Grad School Rankings". U.S. News & World Report. Retrieved December 15, 2020.
  28. ^ "Ethnicity Enrollment Profile". Retrieved 2020-12-18.
  29. ^ a b "Ethnicity Enrollment Profile". Retrieved 2020-07-29.
  30. ^ "Ethnicity Enrollment Profile". Retrieved 2019-07-09.
  31. ^ CSU San Marcos Transfer Admissions 2011 Archived 2015-01-03 at the Wayback Machine.
  32. ^ Cougar Stats: 2011. California State University, San Marcos.
  33. ^ a b First Students Archived 2012-12-10 at California State University, San Marcos Library.
  34. ^ Student Organizations, California State University, San Marcos.
  35. ^ "The Cougar Chronicle". Retrieved 2013-08-06.
  36. ^ California State University-San Marcos Archived 2012-03-14 at the Wayback Machine. RecycleMania Tournament.
  37. ^ a b c d e "Councils | CSUSM". Retrieved 2018-08-06.
  38. ^ Brandon Cesmat, CSUSM Chases off Tukwut Archived 2009-01-23 at the Wayback Machine.
  39. ^ "CCAA Champions". 2020-10-17. Retrieved 2020-10-17.
  40. ^ Kragen, Pam; Warth, Gary (September 25, 2018). "Cal State San Marcos President Karen Haynes announces retirement". San Diego Union Tribune. Retrieved 11 February 2019.
  41. ^ Graves, Brad (March 20, 2019). "Cal State Trustees Name New President for CSU San Marcos". San Diego Business Journal. Retrieved 22 March 2019.
  42. ^ "Psst . . . Blink-182 Is Growing Up". Los Angeles Times. May 30, 1999. Retrieved 2020-11-22.

United States Department of Education

External links[edit]

Coordinates: 33°07′42″N 117°09′34″W / 33.12833°N 117.15944°W / 33.12833; -117.15944