A Chico State of Mind

How CSU Chico came to be…and all it offers today

It’s hard to imagine Chico without California State University, Chico. The school and its students are woven into the fabric of life in Chico, from their contributions to the arts, workforce, culture and vibe, sporting events, and more. 

But before 1887, there was no university or college in Chico.

It wasn’t until John Bidwell donated eight acres of cherry orchards for the Northern Branch State Normal School of California that the dream of this kind of educational institution became a reality. It opened in 1889 as an instructional school for teachers, and was renamed Chico State Teacher’s College in 1921. After the California legislature converted teaching schools to state schools, it became Chico State College in 1935.

And finally, in 1972 it evolved into the California State University, Chico, which we know today. 

Today, Chico State welcomes not just teachers but also students who can choose from more than 300 degree programs. Over 17,500 students attend the university. 36% are Latinx, 44% are first-generation students, 2% are international students, and 100% are full of school pride!

CSU Chico brings an immeasurable contribution to the community in Chico.

It draws a wealth of visiting artists to its on-campus theaters, print museum, and art galleries. Budding scientists are inspired by the science museum, along with students of humanity at the museum of anthropology. The CSU Wildcats provide countless hours of thrilling sports moments in golf, baseball, track and field, and more. 

In turn, Chico offers a safe haven of walkable and bikeable streets where students can live and play close to campus.

A wide variety of eateries and activities keeps students nourished in mind, body, and spirit. There are ample opportunities to get outdoors and explore some of the many parks and trails located in Chico. California sunshine and fun go hand in hand with a welcoming small-town atmosphere.

And this relationship doesn’t have to end at graduation.

Many CSU grads filter into permanent residence in Chico, bringing their skills, enthusiasm and ideas with them.

Chico gives them a home, and in turn, these post-grads give back with their time, enjoyment of the area and commitment to the community. Many notable CSU grads have started successful businesses, like ChicoBag or Sierra Nevada, or they’ve gone on to make history in politics, sports, arts, and sciences. It’s just one of the many examples of the great relationship between Chico State and Chico the city we love and call home.

Photo courtesy of Chico State University.

Read more about Chico State here.