History, Mission & Vision

Campus History

CSUDH was founded in 1960; however, the campus sits on land that has a long and rich history. The university's 346 acres were once a section of the first private land grant in Southern California—the Rancho San Pedro. Juan José Dominguez (1736-1809), a Spanish soldier, received the original grant of 75,000 acres in 1784 from King Carlos III of Spain. While much of the acreage has been sold and developed, portions remain in the possession of Dominguez descendants. The site chosen for the university was known as the Dominguez Hills, named after the family.

The California State Legislature authorized the establishment of the "South Bay State College" and Governor Edmund G. (Pat) Brown signed it into law on April 29, 1960. The need for a campus in the South Bay region of Los Angeles County became apparent in response to a rising population in the 1950s influenced by the growth of families of World War II veterans, and by emerging aerospace and defense industries.

Innovative modernist architect A. Quincy Jones created a campus physical master plan in 1964 and oversaw the design of buildings and development of the campus until his death in 1979.

In 1965, the university held its first classes at a temporary location in the California Federal Savings Bank in Rolling Hills Estates. The college was renamed California State College at Palos Verdes, and approximately 40 students enrolled and were taught by 11 faculty members, as well as administrators.

In 1965, the Watts Rebellion devastated a community and awakened the nation, bringing longstanding grievances and inequalities into the spotlight. The Watts Uprising is considered by many to have been one of the key turning points in the African American Civil Rights movement, and has served to shape scholarly and public understanding of race rebellions and the development of race relations in the United States.

Following the Watts Rebellion, Gov. Pat Brown visited the area and determined that the Dominguez Hills site in the soon-to-be City of Carson would provide the diverse, mostly minority population in nearby urban neighborhoods with the best accessibility to a college education.

CSC Palos Verdes became CSC Dominguez Hills in 1966 and was moved into a temporary location known as the Watt Campus, after its developer Ray Watt, that stood across the street from the future permanent site of the college.

The opening of the permanent campus occurred in October 1968.


California State University, Dominguez Hills provides transformational educational experiences grounded in culturally sustaining practices, innovative research, creative activity, and community engagement for undergraduate and graduate students.

Strategically located in Carson in response to the 1965 Watts Rebellion, CSUDH was designed to bring educational opportunities to underserved communities in South Los Angeles. CSUDH sustains its commitment to social, environmental, and educational justice by providing a high-quality education that leads to personal and professional success, economic and social mobility, and mutually beneficial and reciprocal relationships with the surrounding communities and the local K-12 and community college systems.


CSUDH will be a model urban university responsive to and engaged as partners in addressing the most pressing challenges in our local and global communities. To do this, we will create a campus where:

  • Students experience an equitable education that builds upon their strengths to foster critical inquiry, career readiness, and a passion for lifelong learning.
  • Students, faculty, staff, alumni, and the community collaborate to create dynamic cocurricular opportunities, a vibrant campus life, and lasting relationships.
  • Students, faculty, staff, and alumni engage in local partnerships for community-based development, business growth, and career opportunities.
  • Innovative and sustainable financial development and resource management ensure our self-determination as a university.
  • The campus as a whole commits to addressing issues of social, educational, and environmental justice through resource management, advocacy, research, teaching, and innovative practices.


Academic Excellence and Intellectual Curiosity.

We are a community of lifelong learners dedicated to discovery and personal growth and the ongoing development of skills and talents, cutting-edge research, and artistic contributions that serve to strengthen the cultures and communities of which we are all a part.

Justice, Equity, Diversity, and Inclusion.

We are committed to addressing the historical injustices in education faced by marginalized students by working to provide all students with sufficient access to culturally sustaining programs, services, and resources.

We honor, prioritize, and value the diversity of perspectives and backgrounds of our students, faculty, staff, alumni, and community, whose equitable inclusion is fundamental to the success of our university.

We recognize that students are agents in their own education and have the right to have their voices heard, their experiences validated, their concerns addressed, and to be treated as partners in their educational experiences.


We recognize and live up to our responsibility to our campus community, and the community at large, through the sustainable and equitable stewardship of our natural, social, and economic resources.

Communication and Collaboration.

Through transparent communication, we actively seek and build strategic partnerships in order to facilitate student success and healthy communities.

Shared Governance.

We are committed to transparency, inclusion, joint decision making, and collaborative approaches in our daily operations and long-term planning.