Oral Histories of CSU Channel Islands Employees


In 1996, J. Handel Evans became CSUCI's first President (Planning President), tasked with the notable assignment to "build a campus in Ventura County". In 1997, Senator Jack O’Connell authored SB 623, which approved the transfer of the Camarillo State Hospital into the CSU system and in July of 1999, the CSUN Ventura Off-Campus Center moved to its new location. 1,740 students officially began classes in the Bell Tower Building in August, while faculty located their offices in the Professional Building, across from Parking Services and the Library and IT departments, flanking the Bell Tower, opened their doors. The swimming pool, now occupied by the Science Building, was frequented by YMCA swimming classes and on-campus fire department personnel. The CSH bowling alley still retained its balls, pins, and shoes, while the hospital morgue’s walls were painted black and green, courtesy of a rock band video for MTV. There were no dorms on campus, so the library, now the Student Center, became a popular hangout. Renovation on the Bell Tower fountain began, while staff and students eagerly gathered around the only source for caffeine on campus, a coffee cart, located in one of the courtyards. In 2001, the Honorable Robert J. Lagomarsino Archives held its grand opening and, in April of the following year, Richard R. Rush was inaugurated as the second and founding President of California State University Channel Islands. In October, the campus held its official CSUCI opening ceremony, the very first CSUCI/CSUN students graduated in the spring of the following year, and the university’s first Dolphin freshmen class were admitted in the Fall of 2003!

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