California State University San Marcos

California State University San Marcos (CSUSM or Cal State San Marcos) is a public university in San Marcos, California. It is one of the 23 campuses of the California State University system.[6] It was founded in 1989 as the 20th CSU campus and the first class of students was admitted in 1990.

California State University San Marcos
Endowment$24.9 million (2018)[1]
PresidentDr. Ellen Neufeldt[2]
ProvostKamel Haddad (interim)[3]
Academic staff
615 (225 tenured or tenure-track)[4]
Students14,519 (Fall 2019)[5]
Undergraduates13,879 (Fall 2019)[5]
Postgraduates640 (Fall 2019)[5]
Location, ,
United States
CampusSuburban, 340 acres (140 ha)
ColorsBlue, black, white
AthleticsNCAA Division IICCAA
California State University

CSU San Marcos offers 62 bachelor's degrees,[7] 15 master's degrees, an Ed.D. program, and 13 teaching credentials.[8][9] The university has four colleges: the College of Business Administration; the College of Science and Mathematics; the College of Humanities, Arts, Behavioral and Social Sciences; and the College of Education, Health and Human Services.[10] In the fall of 2018, the university had 1009 faculty, of which 284 (or 28 percent) were tenured or on the tenure track.[11]


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.[12]

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[13] 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.[12] 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.[14] 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 CSU San Marcos, 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. Today the campus comprises 340 acres (140 ha). The CSU trustees also requested $51.8 million in state funds for the first phase of construction.[12]

In 1989, Governor George Deukmejian signed Senate Bill 365 (also sponsored by Craven) into law, officially creating CSU 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.[12] These dozen "founding faculty" played an important role in the university's early years and are today honored at Founders Plaza on the CSU campus. Stacy and the faculty were given $3.9 million to begin the university, which at first offered nine majors.[12]

In February 23, 1990, ground was broken on the new campus, and construction began at the former chicken farm.[13] In the fall of 1990, the first class enrolled at the new university: 448 juniors and seniors. (Initially, only upperclassmen were admitted to CSU San Marcos.) 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. CSU San Marcos' first official commencement ceremony was held in May 1992.[12]

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.[12][15] The university had grown to 1,700 students and 305 faculty and staff.[12]

The university continued to grow rapidly, and by 1993 CSU San Marcos' enrollment had grown to almost 2,500 and it received accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges. The university then offered 17 bachelor's degrees, nine teacher credentials, and six master's degrees.[12] In 1995, CSU San Marcos admitted its first freshman class and offered lower-division 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.[12]

In 1996, CSU San Marcos 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 (present by Spicer's siblings Richard H. Griset Sr. and Margaret Griset Liermann) to begin a student loan fund.[12]

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), and the university offered 19 bachelor's degrees, 15 teacher credentials, and eight master's degrees.[12] 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.[12] The university intercollegiate athletics department opened in 1998, and initially consisted of men's and women's golf, cross-country, and track and field.[12]

A campus "building boom" began, with the Foundation Classroom Buildings opening in December 1996,[16] 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 / University Student Union in 2003.[12] 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.[12]

In January 2004, the campus' first freestanding library, the five-story, nearly 200,000 square feet (19,000 m2) Kellogg Library, opened.[12][17] The same year, 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.[12]

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.[12] The School of Nursing opened in the fall of 2006.[12] The university added baseball, softball, and men's and women's soccer teams the same year.[12]

The Sprinter (light rail) provided service to a new station on the northeast corner of the campus in 2008. It connects the campus to the major 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, opened in 2010.[18] In May 2011, the 106,509 gross square foot Social and Behavioral Sciences Building at the north end of the campus opened.[19]

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.[20]

Academics and students

Fall freshman statistics[21][22][23]

Freshman applicants 11,40210,8489,9789,9369,7349,705
Admits 7,6046,7175,8414,0566,9537,088
% admitted 66.761.958.540.871.473.0
SAT composite 946963971971967988
*SAT out of 1600 points

The university has four colleges:[24]

  • College of Business Administration (three departments: Accounting and Finance; Information Systems and Operations Management; Management and Marketing)[25]
  • College of Science and Mathematics (six departments: Biological Science; Biotechnology; Chemistry and Biochemistry; Computer Science and Information Systems; Mathematics; Physics)[26]
  • College of Humanities, Arts, Behavioral and Social Sciences (thirteen departments: Anthropology; Communication; Economics; History; Liberal Studies; Literature and Writing Studies; Modern Language Studies; Philosophy; Political Science; Psychology; Sociology; Visual and Performing Arts; Women's Studies)[27]
  • College of Education, Health and Human Services (two schools: the School of Nursing and School of Education, as well as two departments: Kinesiology and Human Development)[28]

Through summer 2010, the university has conferred a total of 24,529 degrees in its history: 13,559 Bachelor of Arts, 6,327 Bachelor of Science, 1,235 Master of Arts, 691 Master of Business Administration, 157 Master of Science, and 37 Doctor of Education degrees.[29]

In 2011, around 53 percent of students were in the College of Arts and Sciences, 20 percent in the College of Business Administration, 6 percent in the College of Education, 6 percent in the School of Nursing, and 5 percent undeclared.[29] The ten most popular undergraduate majors are business administration (2,056 students, including pre-business), liberal studies (670), psychology (624), nursing (621 including pre-nursing), communication (549), human development (444), criminology (423), biology (324), sociology (321) and kinesiology (315).[29]

Fall 2018 Demographics of student body[30]
* All levels, freshman through graduate
African American 3.0%
Asian American 4.2%
Filipino American 4.9%
Pacific Islander 0.2%
White European Americans 27.0%
Native American/American Indian 0.3%
Mexican American/Chicano 39.3%
Other Latino America 6.9%
Multiracial Americans 5.2%
Non-resident alien 4.8%
Unknown 4.3%

In 2011, the university had a total enrollment of 9,722.[29] This is an increase from the university's historic size. The first class in 1990–1991 had 448 students (only upper class students were initially admitted). The first freshman students entered in 1995, when enrollment has grown to 3,642, and by 2002 the university had around 7,700 students.[31] The campus master plan envisions the university growing to an enrollment of 18,000 students by 2020, and eventually to 25,000.[31]

Currently, CSU San Marcos trends heavily female: 62 percent of students are women, and 38 percent men.[29] In 2011, some 48 percent of incoming freshmen were from North San Diego County, 12 percent from elsewhere in San Diego County, 28 percent from Riverside County, and 7 percent from Orange County.[29]

There are 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.[32] 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.[29]

Around 45 percent of students are white, 28 percent Latino, 11 percent "other," 10 percent Asian/Pacific Islander, 3 percent African American, and 3 percent multiple races.[29] The university has been accredited by the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) since 1993.[33]

The university has around 157 international and exchange students, of which the largest numbers come from China (19 percent), Japan (18 percent), and Korea (10 percent).[29]

The university has around 232 tenured and tenure-track professors, of which all except three have a terminal degree.[29]

Student life

There are over 100 recognized student organizations on campus.[34] 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

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

CSUSM opened its new University Student Union (USU) in January 2014. The cost of construction totaled $44 million. The union includes various student groups, cultural centers, leadership centers, an extended food court, a convenience store, two game rooms, a ball room, an 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 Jazzman's Cafe and Bakery, which sells coffee and pastries. The USU offers many spaces for students to gather between classes with panoramic views of the San Marcos valley.[38]

University District (North City)

A new urban district of San Marcos, intended to directly serve the university community, is currently under construction just across from CSUSM on Barham Drive. Several buildings, including apartment complexes with ground-level store fronts, are completed and currently open. Once the North City development is complete, it will incorporate numerous small businesses and residential complexes, a medical center, and a hotel.


Cal State San Marcos athletic teams are nicknamed the Cougars, and their official colors are bright/royal blue and white. In the early years, burgundy was used sparingly as an accent. 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) since 2015. CSUSM sponsors a total of 15 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, and track & field. Cheer and dance were also added under athletics in 2017.

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.[39]

President and faculty

The university has had four presidents:


  1. As of June 30, 2018. "U.S. and Canadian Institutions Listed by Fiscal Year (FY) 2018 Endowment Market Value and Change in Endowment Market Value from FY 2017 to FY 2018" (PDF). National Association of College and University Business Officers and Commonfund Institute. 2018. Retrieved 2019-07-11.
  2. "Office of the President". Retrieved 2019-10-31.
  3. "Office of the Interim Provost". Retrieved 2019-10-31.
  4. "CSU Employee Profile" (PDF).
  5. "Fall Term Student Enrollment". The California State University Institutional Research and Analyses. Retrieved November 18, 2019.
  6. "Campus Homepages". California State University. Retrieved 2008-11-07.
  7. Academic Offerings Archived 2008-08-31 at the Library of Congress Web Archives. California State University, San Marcos.
  8. "Search CSU Degrees". Archived from the original on 2016-05-26. Retrieved 2013-08-06.
  9. "Archived copy" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2015-04-24. Retrieved 2017-03-19.CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  10. Colleges & Programs. California State University, San Marcos.
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  12. CSUSM Campus History, California State University, San Marcos.
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  14. Jenkins, Logan (2 May 2013). "On San Marcos campus, PC police can be clothes-minded". San Diego Union Tribune. Retrieved 21 October 2016.
  15. "University Commons". Retrieved 2013-08-06.
  16. "Foundation Classroom Building". Retrieved 2013-08-06.
  17. "Kellogg Library Map". 2011-03-14. Retrieved 2013-08-06.
  18. "Parking Structure I". Retrieved 2013-08-06.
  19. Social and Behavior Sciences Building.
  20. "5 biggest state tuition hikes". CNNMoney. October 26, 2011. Retrieved 2011-10-28.
  21. "Common Data Sets". Retrieved 2013-08-06.
  22. "CSU APPLICATIONS AND ADMISSIONS REPORTS, FALL 2012". 2013-05-14. Retrieved 2013-08-06.
  23. "News" (PDF).
  24. Colleges and Programs. California State University, San Marcos.
  25. Departments & Options Archived 2012-06-30 at the Wayback Machine. California State University, San Marcos College of Business Administration.
  26. Departments Archived 2012-07-23 at the Wayback Machine. California State University, San Marcos College of Science and Mathematics.
  27. Departments. California State University, San Marcos College of Humanities, Arts, Behavioral and Social Sciences.
  28. Departments. California State University, San Marcos College of Education, Health and Human Services.
  29. Cougar Stats: 2011. California State University, San Marcos.
  30. "Ethnicity Enrollment Profile". Retrieved 2019-07-09.
  31. First Students Archived 2012-12-10 at California State University, San Marcos Library.
  32. CSU San Marcos Transfer Admissions 2011 Archived 2015-01-03 at the Wayback Machine.
  33. Statement of Accreditation Status – California State University San Marcos Archived 2012-05-10 at the Wayback Machine. Western Association of Schools and Colleges.
  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. "Councils | CSUSM". Retrieved 2018-08-06.
  38. "University Student Union". Retrieved 15 October 2015.
  39. Brandon Cesmat, CSUSM Chases off Tukwut Archived 2009-01-23 at the Wayback Machine.
  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.

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