San Jose City, view of the 280 highway and campus.

2000 to Present

The new millennium brings transformation to the university, from major changes to campus facilities to a fresh focus on the future that builds on SJSU's history. From a small institution dedicated to preparing teachers for the frontier to a dynamic comprehensive university in the heart of the global innovation economy, SJSU continues to change and evolve along with the needs of our students, our region and the world in which we live.

NCAA women's golf champion, Patty Sheehan.
NCAA champion Patty Sheehan, ’80 Kinesiology.

1980 to 1999

A hole in the ozone is found over Antarctica and the Internet expands with the World Wide Web. With the collapse of the Soviet Union in 1991, the Cold War ends. The Spartans excel in athletics and the campus becomes a model for diversity.

SJSU Students at the 1964 Freedom Protest.
Freedom Protest of 1964.

1960 to 1979

The nation feels the effects of the Civil Rights Movement, the Vietnam War and the assassinations of President John F. Kennedy and Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. Apollo lands on the moon and the personal computer becomes available. San Jose State College becomes California State University, San Jose in 1972, and then San Jose State University in 1974. SJSU gets its first female president—Gail Fullerton.

SJSU students gathered in the quad.

1940 to 1959

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.

Margaret Jenkins competing in the 1928–1932 olympics.
Margaret Jenkins, '25 Education.

1920 to 1939

The Normal School changes its name—twice. It becomes San Jose State Teachers College in 1921 and San Jose State College in 1934. Women get the right to vote and airmail delivery is expanded to include routes between New York and San Francisco. The nation struggles during the Great Depression, Adolf Hitler comes to power and World War II begins.

SJSU students in a domestic science cooking class.

1900 to 1919

Albert Einstein develops his Special Theory of Relativity and the Wright brothers fly the first airplane. During a tumultuous time at SJSU, President Morris E. Dailey leads the campus through a major earthquake, a flu epidemic and the beginning of World War I. After his sudden death in 1919, the faculty vote to name the new assembly hall after him to honor his achievements.

SJSU female students outside of Tower Hall.

1880 to 1899

Following the Civil War, the United States Supreme Court rules in favor of segregated school—"separate but equal" is legal. Meanwhile, the Normal School expands with the opening of the Los Angeles branch campus to accommodate California's growing population and the need for more trained teachers.

SJSU graduate and author Charles Edwin Markham.
Graduate and author Charles Edwin Markham.

1857 to 1879

As California expands with the Gold Rush and a divided nation fights the Civil War, SJSU begins to make its mark as Minns' Evening Normal School, training teachers first at its location in San Francisco and then in San Jose. While inventors Alexander Graham Bell and Thomas Edison move the world forward with communication and light, the Normal School graduates its first students.