California University of Pennsylvania lies within the borough of California, a community of approximately 6,300 residents located on the banks of the Monongahela River, less than an hour's drive south of Pittsburgh. It is accessible via Interstate 70 Exits 15 (PA 43), 16 (Speers) or 17 (PA 88, Charleroi) or via U.S. 40 (PA 43 or 88). The Mon Valley Fayette Expressway (PA 43) links California to the federal Interstate Highway System. The University is approximately 30 minutes from Exit 8 (New Stanton) of the Pennsylvania Turnpike, and an hour from Pittsburgh International Airport.
The main campus consists of 98 acres, including the Phillipsburg annex. The 98-acre recreation complex, George H. Roadman University Park, is located just over a mile from campus. This complex includes a football stadium, an all-weather track, tennis courts, a baseball diamond, a softball diamond, soccer and rugby fields, a cross country course, areas for intramural sports and picnic facilities.
Adjoining Roadman Park is the 94-acre SAI Farm, purchased in 2010. The parcel includes a cross country course, recreation space and a farmhouse that has been renovated for student meetings. Together, Roadman Park and the SAI Farm comprise the University's upper campus.
In the University’s award-winning residence halls, students enjoy the comfort and convenience of on-campus living, usually sharing a bathroom with no more than one other person. All residence halls are air-conditioned and have state-of-the-art sprinkler and security systems.
Roadman Park is the site of an upper-campus housing complex, Vulcan Village, whose residents live in attractive, furnished garden-style apartments owned by the nonprofit Student Association Inc. Most Vulcan Village apartments have individual baths, living room, dining area, completely furnished kitchen (including dishwasher and microwave) and full-size washer and dryer. Vulcan Flyer shuttles make it easy for Vulcan Village residents to ride to and from the main campus.
The geographic location of the University gives the resident student opportunities to explore and pursue a wide variety of activities. The University is a short drive from scenic locations for camping, hiking, fishing, hunting, white-water rafting, canoeing and skiing. In addition to varied cultural activities on campus, students have easy access to the Pittsburgh metropolitan area, located only 35 miles north of the campus. This provides an opportunity to enjoy the Pittsburgh Symphony Orchestra; the Pittsburgh Ballet; the Civic Light Opera; the David L. Lawrence Convention Center; the Pittsburgh Steelers, Penguins and Pirates; various museums; and all of the excitement and attractions of a major metropolitan area.
The institution that is now California University of Pennsylvania began as an academy in 1852. It has evolved over the years into a comprehensive university, one of the 14 state-owned institutions that comprise Pennsylvania's State System of Higher Education.
1852: A two-story academy, offering education from kindergarten through college, is established in the recently founded community of California, Pa.
1865: The academy obtains a charter as a normal school for its district and becomes a teacher-preparatory institution.
1874: The institution is renamed the South-Western Normal School.
1914: The commonwealth acquires the institution and renames it the California State Normal School. The curriculum becomes exclusively a two-year preparatory course for elementary school teachers.
1928: The institution becomes California State Teachers College, returning to its previous status as a four-year-degree-granting institution, concentrating on industrial arts and special education.
1959: Liberal arts curricula are introduced and the college becomes California State College.
1962: A graduate program is introduced.
1974: The college develops a special mission in science and technology.
1983: On July 1, 1983, the college becomes part of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education and changes its name to California University of Pennsylvania.
1983: The College of Science and Technology becomes fully operational.
1996: The College of Science and Technology is renamed the Eberly College of Science and Technology, honoring the Eberly Foundation for its philanthropic generosity.
1998: The University formally adopts three core values: integrity, civility and responsibility.
2002: The University Council of Trustees formally adopts a list of rights and responsibilities.
2004-2007: The University responds to student needs and completely redesigns the concept of residence life. Six suite-style residence halls are constructed on the main campus, and an apartment complex now known as Vulcan Village is constructed on the upper campus.
2009: After a major renovation and expansion project, Herron Recreation and Fitness Center is re-dedicated.
2010: The Student Association Inc. purchases SAI Farm and begins developing the location as a site for student recreation, learning and meetings.
2011: The Phillipsburg Soccer Facility is dedicated.
2012: Geraldine M. Jones is named acting President of the University; she is named interim President the following year.
2013: In May, the former Residence Hall A is renamed the G. Ralph Smith II Honors Hall in recognition of a former English professor whose bequest to the University is the largest in its modern history. In October, the former Residence Hall C is renamed Ivan '41 and Adelaide Ivill '38 Guesman Hall in honor of the philanthropic alumni couple.
2015: Natali Student Center is re-dedicated after a two-year renovation and expansion project.
2016: Geraldine M. Jones is inaugurated as California’s seventh President.
2018: The largest gift in the institution’s history establishes the Rutledge Institute for Early Childhood Education, named for donors Karen and Tom ’77 Rutledge.
2019: Coover Hall, which houses applied engineering and technology programs, plus courses in art and graphic design, is rededicated, following a two-year renovation.
2021: Robert Thorn is named interim President of the University, following the retirement of President Geraldine M. Jones.
(Additional information about the University and its history may be found in the book California University of Pennsylvania: The People's College in the Monongahela Valley, by Regis J. Serinko, published in 1992.)