San Jose State experiences an explosion in enrollment, celebrates its centennial and feeds the comic talent of the Smothers Brothers. NATO is formed and the Cold War begins. While the United States fights the Korean War, Watson and Crick discover the double helix and television thrives.

SJSU Facts: 1940 to 1959

Women's swimming club

1941 - The talented members of the Women's Swimming club pose during the annual swim extravaganza. The production runs for two nights in the college pool, presented by the Women's Physical Education department.

SJSU servicemembers

1941 - SJSC football team is in Honolulu during Pearl Harbor bombing, December 7. They assist city police in enforcing a blackout and guarding the city water supply. Wartime enrollment plummets from 4,053 to 2,960. The faculty is also reduced, as many teachers enter military service or wartime employment. 4,200 students and alumni serve in World War II; 182 give their lives.

Spartan mascot

1942 - By 10 votes, the student government decides that "Spartans," not the "Golds," will be the official university mascot. Go Spartans!


1955 - Obtaining accreditation by the Association of American Universities in 1942 paves the way for national fraternities and sororities after World War II. The 1950s and early 1960s are times of considerable stability and prosperity for Greek organizations. Most occupy homes in the surrounding area and membership in Greek organizations is a sizable component of campus involvement.