Founding Act

In 1900, Warren M. John from San Luis Obispo was elected to the Assembly. He joined Senator Smith in a massive legislative effort. It is thought that the Southern Pacific Railroad quietly used its political muscle in support of the enabling legislation. David Starr Jordan, President of Stanford University, joined tn the support. On March 8, 1901, Governor Henry T. Gage signed the bill establishing the California Polytechnic School to be effective January 1, 1902. Fifty-thousand dollars was appropriated for site purchase and building construction.

The Founding Act, effective January 1, 1902, was exceedingly liberal regarding the curricular offerings the institution might provide. The first section reads; "The purpose of the school is to furnish young people of both sexes mental and manual training in the arts and sciences, including agriculture, mechanics, engineering, business methods, domestic economy, and such other branches as will fit the students for nonprofessional walks of life. This act shall be liberally construed, to the end, that the school established hereby may at all times contribute to the industrial welfare of the State of California.1 Dr. Leroy Anderson, professor of Animal and Dairy Husbandry at the University of California was appointed the administrative head beginning June 1, 1902. Since "to train boys and girls for country life" was his interpretation of the new school's mission, he secured funds to travel to areas which had some experience in doing that. He went to visit schools and colleges and consult with educational leaders in Nebraska, Ohio and New York. The first recommendation he accepted was to establish dormitories. Next, he sought faculty to help in curricular development. The first faculty hired consisted of Mr. Heald from Throop Institute (now California Institute of Technology), Mr. Twombly from the University of Maine and Miss Steward from Stanford University.

Index | Next > >