The California state legislature established Stanislaus State College in 1957 as the fifteenth campus of the California State University (CSU) system. Classes commenced in September 1960 in temporary quarters located at the Stanislaus County Fairgrounds in Turlock. The college moved to its permanent 228-acre site in 1965 following construction of its first major facilities. The Classroom Building housed facilities for art, music, drama, and the sciences in addition to providing classrooms for lectures. The library, a companion project to the Classroom Building, was later named the Vasche Library in memory of the university's founding president, Dr. J. Burton Vasche. In 1985, the college was officially renamed California State University Stanislaus by action of the State Legislature and the Board of Trustees of the California State University.
During its early growth, the college evolved to serve the increasing needs of the Central Valley. A physical education field house was constructed in 1969 to adjoin outdoor athletic facilities. Subsequent construction included the Performing Arts Complex, which provided the first permanent facility for art, music, and drama (1970); the Science Building for undergraduate instruction in the sciences and mathematics (1972); the University Dining Hall (1975); the University Union Building (1978); a Gymnasium (1978); the Aquatic Facility (1979); and the Student Health Center (1981). Over the years, Stanislaus State has developed into a major presence in the region and continues to play a prominent role in the economy of the Central Valley.
Vasche Library II, an addition to the existing library facility, was completed in 1989 and a major addition to the University Union Building was completed in 1992. Residential Life Village, Phase I opened in September 1993, Phase II was completed in September of 1996 and Phase III, together with an adjoining dining facility, was completed in fall 2004. The housing complex currently accommodates a total of 655 student residents.
Demergasso-Bava Hall, completed in 1998, provides instructional space and departmental offices for disciplines in all the colleges. The Mary Stuart Rogers Educational Services Gateway Building was completed in February 2002. This important facility consolidates student services and administrative support functions in a “one-stop” environment. The 12,000 square foot John Stuart Rogers Faculty Development Center opened in January 2003 and the 320-seat Bernell and Flora Snider Music Recital Hall was completed in May 2003.
The Nora and Hashem Naraghi Hall of Science, completed in 2007, is a three-story 110,000 square foot building that accommodates 692 FTE in laboratories and classrooms. This facility also contains group study spaces and a state-of-the-art observatory dome on the roof and was awarded LEED Silver status in 2008. The 12,800 square foot University Bookstore opened in October 2008 and a 19-acre Student Recreation Complex, completed in May 2009, provides a 2,300 seat sports stadium and 18,600 GSF fitness center. A major renovation to the Science I Building was completed in 2013 and now houses state of the art nursing laboratories and classrooms.
Just over 1,000 full-time and part-time faculty and staff serve a diverse student body of approximately 9,000 students (7,710 FTES, Fall 2014). The university’s primary service area is a 10,000-square-mile region encompassing Stanislaus, San Joaquin, Merced, Mariposa, Tuolumne, and Calaveras Counties. Stanislaus State is regionally accredited by Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) and has earned 12 specialized accreditations, including the College of Business Administration, College of Education, Kinesiology and Social Work, and nursing, art, theater, and music programs. Stanislaus State has an off-campus center at University Park in Stockton.
In March 2009, the Board of Trustees approved the new Campus Master Plan Revision and certified the Final Environmental Impact Report, which had not been reevaluated since 1968. The new master plan envisions the future growth of the campus to serve 12,000 FTE students, while maintaining the quality and character of the campus environment.
Stanislaus State has an off-campus center at University Park in Stockton, with current enrollment of almost 400 students. In 1997, 103 acres of the former Stockton Developmental Center hospital was transferred to the CSU in what would become the Stanislaus State, Stockton Center. In 2000, a joint powers agency was formed between the CSU and the City of Stockton, known as the Stockton Center Site Authority (SCSA), to be responsible for the development, operations, management, and finance of the site. In 2004, SCSA entered into a Master Ground Sublease agreement with Grupe Commercial Company to lease out existing structures not occupied by the CSU with a focus on office, retail, health care, education, and residential uses.
Presently, the campus occupies the Acacia Court facility where academic programs and services are located. The Stockton Center currently offers courses in four colleges leading to baccalaureate, master’s degrees, and credentials with additionally programs offered through extended education.