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Our History

A black and white photo of Old Main

California was founded as an academy in 1852. In the late 19th century it became a normal school, with the goal of training teachers for the region’s public schools.

In 1928 the former South Western Normal School became California State Teachers College, initially granting degrees in both elementary and secondary education. The school’s top administrator was no longer a principal, but a president. Read about previous leaders LINK to Past Leadership page

In 1959, state legislation changed the name to California State College, reflecting the school’s role as a multipurpose institution offering a variety of liberal arts degrees.

Master’s degrees were introduced in the 1960s, and in 1974 the college developed a special mission in science and technology.

In 1983, Pennsylvania’s State System of Higher Education came into being under the auspices of Act 188, and California University of Pennsylvania became one of the commonwealth’s 14 public universities.

In 2015, Cal U introduced its first doctorate, a Doctor of Health Science in Health Science and Exercise Leadership.

California today

The Princeton Review has listed Cal U among the best colleges and universities in the Northeast for 12 consecutive years.

California University now serves more than 7,700 undergraduate and graduate students in its College of Education and Human Service, College of Liberal Arts, Eberly College of Science and Technology, and School of Graduate Studies and Research.

Students in all four Colleges may study on campus or through Cal U Global Online.

Read fast facts about Cal U