History

A Heritage of Excellence in Christian Higher Education

On September 18, 1950, the Los Angeles Southern Baptist Association opened the doors of California Baptist College in El Monte. The college began operations with 42 students in Fall 1950; 120 were enrolled during the 1950–51 academic year. In 1955, after four years of continued growth, the college relocated to larger facilities in Riverside.

Today, the Spanish-style buildings, which include classrooms, campus housing, a library, offices, maintenance and athletic facilities, are located on the 160-acre campus. In the midst of dynamic growth, California Baptist University continues the tradition of liberal arts education in a Christian environment.

To read about CBU's athletics history, please refer to our Lancers Athletics Legacy page. 

Historical Events and Milestones 

1920s

1921 Building that currently houses the Annie Gabriel Library constructed


1927 Administration Building constructed


 

 

1930s

1934 W. E. James Building constructed


 

 

1950s 

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1950 P. Boyd Smith named first President


1950 On September 18, classes began for 42 students at First Southern Baptist Church El Monte, CA


1951 Olie T. Brown named first dean of students


1953 California Baptist Convention assumes full responsibility for California Baptist College


1953 First Angelos yearbook published


1954 College chartered by the State of California


1954 Eight students become first to earn undergraduate degrees from CBC


1954 CBC We'll Love You, composed by Dr. S.E. Smith, adopted as the official Alma Mater


1955 CBC moved to Riverside campus


1955 Magnolia Avenue Baptist Church organized by faculty, staff, and students


1955 Lancer Mascot named


1956 Dewey H. Jones organized the first competitive basketball team


1958 Dr. Loyed Simmons named second President


 

 

1960s

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1960 Annie Gabriel Library dedicated


1960 The Roundtable became the official campus publication for alumni


1961 CBC receives full regional accreditation granted by the Western College Association


1964 First Candle Lighting ceremony takes place


1964 Lancer Arms Apartment buildings constructed


1964 CBU enrollment reaches 500


1968 Simmons Hall and Smith Hall constructed and dedicated


1968 Van Dyne Field House constructed and dedicated


1968 Dewey H. Jones appointed first academic dean


1969 California Chapter of Beta Alpha Chi installed


 

 
1970s

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1971 Dr. James R. Staples named third President


1971 Annie Gabriel Library adds 100,000th volume


1973 The Wallace Book of Life Building dedicated


1975 Physical Plant/Maintenance building constructed


1979 $800,000 note for the Riverside campus paid


 

 
1980s

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1984 Dr. Russell R. Tuck named fourth president


1984 First graduate degree granted


1984 Accreditation granted by National Association of Schools of Music


1986 Board of Trustees voted to create the California Baptist College Development Foundation


1987 S.E. Boyd Smith contributed P. Boyd Smith Hymnology Collection to the Annie Gabriel Library


1989 Bob and Dorothy Pentz Tennis Center constructed


 

 
1990s

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1990 First Evening College classes offered in High Desert


1994 Dr. Ronald L. Ellis named fifth president with enrollment at 808


1995 First students enrolled in Master of Education degree program


1995 Enrollment reached 1,000


1996 California Baptist University becomes first college on West Coast to receive accreditation by Association of College Business Schools and Programs


1996 Metcalf Art Gallery opened


1996 Enrollment reached 1,500


1997 Mission Hall, Fitness Center, Training Room, and Athletic Offices constructed


1997 Enrollment reached 2,000


1998 Lambeth House purchased


1998 Willow Wood Apartments, Pine Creek Villas purchased


1998 California Baptist College officially became California Baptist University


1998 The U.S. News and World Report listed California Baptist University among the top five regional liberal arts college for student-faculty ratio


1998 Aquatic Center constructed


 

 
2000

50th Anniversary celebrated


 

 

2001

Willow Wood Apartments and Pine Creek Villas officially became University Place Apartments


  

 

2003

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Eugene and Billie Yeager University Center completed


Graduate students participate in Inaugural Graduate Commencement (separate from undergraduate exercises)


 

 

2004

Phase I of The Cottages completed


First "Spirit of Excellence" gala held


  

 

2005

Music Bldg Music Bldg Entrance


Woodman of the World Building purchased


Royal Rose and Rose Garden Apartments purchased


Evening College Program officially became Adult Degree Completion Program


First Adult Degree Completion Program classes offered in Beaumont


School of Nursing established


Van Dyne Gym renovation completed


Adams Villas Apartments purchased


Phase II of The Cottages completed


James Complex North Wing/Garrett Room renovation completed


JoAnn Hawkins Music Building completed


CBU named "Business of the Year" by Greater Riverside Chambers of Commerce


 

 

2006

Magnolia Hacienda Apartments purchased


Lutheran Church of the Cross purchased


Adams Plaza purchased


 

 

2007

Sports Complex ROTC


Lancers Outdoor Sports Complex completed


School of Engineering established


Organic Chemistry lab renovation completed


Army ROTC program added


 

 

2008

Lambeth House (School of Nursing) renovation completed


 

 

2009

Bourns Engineering Lab established


1,000 students graduated in a single year for the first time in school's history


 

 

2010

60th Anniversary celebrated


Surpassed 400 participant-mark and 200th team for International Service Projects since 1997 founding of program


College of Allied Health established


Division of Online and Professional Studies established


Enrollment reached 4,715


CBU is named for the fifth straight year as a top-ranked university by U.S. News & World Report and is listed as a 2011 "Best Regional University"


Membership approved in NCAA Division II, Pacific West Conference


Inaugural "Block Party" added to homecoming


 

 
2011

Cottages Colony


Wellness Center opened


Adams Plaza renamed “Lancer Plaza”


First-ever 10-year reaffirmation of accreditation received from Western Association of Schools and Colleges


Parkside Village Apartments renamed "The Colony @ CBU"


College View Apartments renamed "Lancer Palms Apartments"


Groundbreaking for School of Business building


Enrollment reached 5,413


For the sixth straight year, CBU is named as a top-ranked university by U.S. News & World Report and is listed as a "Best Regional University"


First certificate program (Autism Spectrum Disorder) offered


ISP celebrates 15th anniversary


CBU became inaugural collegiate division of the CSBC disaster relief program


Microbiology and general chemistry lab renovations completed


New classrooms added to the Village, Mission Hall and the School of Engineering


Discovery U summer academic camp program introduced


Campus expanded to 128 acres


1000 parking spaces added


100 undergraduate majors and concentrations offered


College of Architecture, Visual Art & Design established


School of Engineering becomes College of Engineering


Fall and spring commencement combined yielded 1,147 graduates—the largest number of graduates in a single year


Approved for 2nd year candidacy in NCAA Division II


  

 
2012

Business Bldg Inside Business Bldg


The class of 2012 numbers 1,365, the largest in the 62-year history of CBU.


CBU sends out 300th ISP team


Approved for 3rd year candidacy in NCAA Division II


School of Business Building dedicated


  

 
2013

Rec Center 727


Recreation Center dedicated


FedEx donates Boeing 727 to Aviation Science program


For 8th straight year, CBU is listed as one of the "Best Regional Universities" by U.S. News & World Report


CBU honors 1,117 graduates at spring commencement


Online and Professional Studies ranked #25th in the nation for Best Online Bachelor’s Programs by U.S. News and World Report


Online and Professional Studies ranked #10 in best online programs for veterans


CBU granted full membership in NCAA Division II


Fall enrollment exceeds 7,100 students


Aviation science program opens flight school


CBU is ranked #13 in the West among America's Best Colleges for Veterans by U.S. News & World Report


 

 

2014

Nursing Annex 1 Nursing Annex 2


CBU honors 1,335 graduates at spring commencement


Online and Professional Studies ranked #13 in best online bachelor's degree programs for veterans by U.S. News & World Report


CBU's campus newspaper, The Banner, repeats its first place award at the National College Journalism Convention


CBU sends out 400th ISP/USP team


CBU advances in U.S. News & World Report rankings for ninth straight year


School of Nursing Annex and Prayer Garden dedicated


Enrollment reaches 7,957


CBU honors Dr. Ronald L. Ellis' 20th year as president


CBU listed on President's Higher Education Community Service Honor Roll


 

 

2015

Health Science Campus Cafeteria food


CBU food ranks #3 among California universities by Niche.com


CBUOnline advances among online bachelor programs in U.S. News & World Report rankings 


Doctor of nursing practice degree (CBU's first doctorate) launches in fall


College of Allied Health renamed to College of Health Science


Fall enrollment reaches 8,541, eclipsing “8080 by 2020” enrollment goal five years ahead of schedule


Construction begins on 153,000 sq. ft. CBU Events Center


CBU Health Science Campus opens


 

 

2016

Anonymous $10 million gift announced; first eight-figure gift in CBU history to help fund new 100,000 sq. ft. building to house Gordon and Jill Bourns College of Engineering


Class of 2016 has 2,218 applications for graduation—tops 2,000 for the first time


CBU hosts inaugural Courtyard Shakespeare Festival


School of Nursing becomes College of Nursing


Fall enrollment 9,157 students—tops 9,000 for the first time


CBU receives third consecutive top-40 ranking for “Best Regional University” by U.S. News & World Report


CBU breaks ground for new 100,000 sq. ft. Gordon and Jill Bourns College of Engineering building


 

 

2017

Events Center Lancer Statue


CBU announces acceptance into Western Athletic Conference (WAC) and transition to NCAA Division I


$15.5 million-plus revitalization of the College of Health Science campus receives a beautification award in the category of “Exterior Reconstruction with Landscaping” from the Keep Riverside Clean and Beautiful program


CBUOnline ranked No. 8 nationally among “Top Online Education Programs” by U.S. News & World Report


“Mounted Lancer” sculpture installed at CBU Events Center


CBU dedicates Events Center


School of Behavioral Sciences becomes the College of Behavioral and Social Sciences


Inaugural commencement ceremonies at CBU Events Center


Drumline added to CBU Pep Band


 

 

2018

Engineering Bldg Habit Ribbon Cutting


CBU Homecoming activities return to spring semester


Wellness Center moves to 3626 Monroe St., adjacent to College of Health Science campus


Dennis and Carol Troesh Engineering Building opens for fall semester


CBU conducts inaugural summer commencement ceremonies


2,848 candidates for graduation make Class of 2018 largest ever at CBU


“Inspiration” sculpture unveiled at CBU


The Habit Burger Grill opens as newest eatery at CBU


CBU Lancers begin competing in NCAA Division 1, Western Athletic Conference


Fall enrollment at CBU surges past 10,000 for first time (10,486)


CBU receives fifth consecutive top-40 ranking as “Best Regional University” by U.S. News and World Report


Chronicle of Higher Education ranks CBU No. 8 among fastest-growing U.S. colleges (2006–2016)