About California University of Pennsylvania

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The University lies within the borough of California, a community of approximately 6,800 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 one 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 98-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.

The University has six residence halls on the main campus, where students live in suites of two or four students, 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 university housing complex, Vulcan Village, that can accommodate more than 760 students. Vulcan Village residents live in attractive, furnished garden-style apartments, most with individual baths, living room, dining area, completely furnished kitchen including dishwasher and microwave, and full-size washer and dryer.

The geographic location of the University gives the resident student opportunities to explore and pursue a wide variety of activities. Located on the Appalachian Plateau, an area of rolling hills, the University is a short drive from camping, hiking, fishing, hunting, white-water rafting, canoeing and skiing. In addition to varied cultural activities on campus, the student has 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 multipurpose 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, was established in the recently founded community of California, Pa.

1865: The academy obtained a charter as a normal school for its district and became a teacher-preparatory institution.

1874: The institution was renamed the South-Western Normal School.

1914: The commonwealth acquired the institution and renamed it the California State Normal School. The curriculum became exclusively a two-year preparatory course for elementary school teachers.

1928: The institution became 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 were introduced and the college became California State College.

1962: A graduate program was introduced.

1974: The college developed a special mission in science and technology.

1983: On July 1, 1983, the college became a part of the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education and changed its name to California University of Pennsylvania.

1983: The College of Science and Technology became fully operational.

1992: Angelo Armenti, Jr. was appointed President of California University. He served until 2012.

1996: The College of Science and Technology was renamed the Eberly College of Science and Technology in honor of the Eberly Foundation for its philanthropic generosity.

1997: Cal U Southpointe Center in the Southpointe Technology Center in Canonsburg, Pa., opened, offering a variety of courses and programs.

1998: The University formally adopted three core values: integrity, civility and responsibility.

2002: The University Council of Trustees formally adopted a list of rights and responsibilities.

2004-2007: The University responded to the needs of today's students and completely redesigned the concept of residence life. Six suite-style residence halls were constructed on the main campus, and an apartment complex now known as Vulcan Village was constructed on the upper campus.

2009: After a major renovation and expansion project, Herron Recreation and Fitness Center was re-dedicated.

2011: The Phillipsburg Soccer Facility was dedicated.

2012: Geraldine M. Jones was named acting President of the University. In 2013 she became the interim President.

2013: In May the former Residence Hall A was 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 was renamed Ivan '41 and and Adelaide Ivill '38 Guesman Hall in honor of the philanthropic alumni couple.

(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.)