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College of San Mateo
San Mateo, California
United States
Coordinates 37°32′10″N 122°20′10″W / 37.53611°N 122.33611°W / 37.53611; -122.33611Coordinates: 37°32′10″N 122°20′10″W / 37.53611°N 122.33611°W / 37.53611; -122.33611
Type Public Community College
Established 1922
School district San Mateo County Community College District
President Michael Claire
Number of students 12,000
Campus Buildings
Color(s) Blue and White
Mascot Bulldog or Fighting Tongan or their leader; Exodia
Newspaper The San Matean

College of San Mateo (commonly referred to as CSM) is a community college in San Mateo, California. It is part of the San Mateo County Community College District.[1]

Founded in 1922, CSM serves about 11,000 students each semester.[2] The college offers 99 majors, 82 A.A./A.S. degree majors, 91 certificate programs, and several hundred transfer areas.[3]


Location and environment

College of San Mateo is located on a 153 acres (62 ha) campus in the hills of San Mateo, about 30 minutes south of San Francisco and about the same distance north of San Jose. Two major highways, U.S. Route 101 to the east and Interstate 280 to the west, sandwich CSM. Both intersect with and feed Highway 92, which provides a direct exit to the college at West Hillsdale Boulevard.[4] The campus was primarily designed by John Carl Warnecke, a Stanford- and Harvard-educated architect. His use of pillars and jutting, sloped roofs give CSM buildings a classic look. From its perched vantage point, the community college features views of the peninsula to the north, east and south.

Through a capital improvement program, funded by $675 million worth of bonds approved by voters in 2001 and 2005, major new construction, renovation, seismic-retrofitting and improvements to the infrastructure have taken place at CSM. New facilities include the state-of-the-art Science Building and planetarium and the Regional Public Safety Center, which is home to the county’s police academy. Many classrooms have been upgraded with new technologies and converted into what are called “Smart” classrooms. Funded by local redevelopment agency funds, the school’s athletic fields and complex are new, featuring synthetic turf fields. Over the next several years, more construction and renovation will take place, with the construction of a new multi-use building that will house the bookstore, food service, administrative, student support services, faculty offices and meeting rooms.

Historical timeline

1922 to 1996:[2]

  • 1922 With 35 students, San Mateo Junior College opens in several rooms of San Mateo High School on Baldwin Avenue.
  • 1931 Charles S. Morris takes over as the new dean (and later becomes president) of the college. He transforms the institution from a “junior” to a “community” college.
  • 1947 Enrollment skyrockets after the war. The college leases old U.S. Merchant Marine Academy buildings at Coyote Point. Classes are now held there, at Baldwin and at a $350,000 science building on Delaware Avenue completed in 1939.
  • 1954 Students vote to change name from San Mateo Junior College to College of San Mateo (CSM) in part to honor Charles S. Morris.
  • 1956 Innovative educator Julio Bortolazzo begins a 12-year tenure as college president and district superintendent, initiating a plan for a new campus site.
  • 1963 Present-day CSM hilltop campus opens with 15,000 students.
  • 1968 Racial discontent leads to a student protest and riot on campus.
  • 1979 Lois A. Callahan becomes the first woman president of CSM.
  • 1980 Vice presidential candidate George H. W. Bush speaks to faculty and students at CSM.
  • 1980 Monday Morning Blues first published.
  • 1989 The 7.2 Loma Prieta earthquake leads to significant earthquake retrofitting on campus, including work done on the college’s library in 1996.

2000 & Beyond:

  • 2001 San Mateo County voters approve a $207 million bond measure for the repair and restoration of CSM, Skyline College and Cañada College.
  • 2002 CSM celebrates its 80th anniversary with a Book Fest featuring guest speakers including noted authors and speakers.
  • 2005 San Mateo County voters approve another bond measure, this one for $468 million for continued construction, repair and restoration for CSM, Skyline College and Cañada College.
  • 2005 CSM hosts the first-ever community college football bowl game in San Mateo County.
  • 2006 CSM’s new Regional Public Safety Center opens on June 14.
  • 2006 CSM’s state-of-the-art science building opens for classes on August 16.
  • 2007 CSM’s state-of-the-art planetarium opens for classes and the public in January.
  • 2007 Michael Claire becomes one of CSM’s youngest presidents, succeeding President Emerita Shirley J. Kelly.

Notable alumni

Academic divisions

CSM has six academic divisions: Business/Technology; Creative Arts/Social Science; Language Arts; Math/Science; Physical Education/Athletics/Dance; and Coastside/Special Projects.

Many students go on to transfer to University of California or California State University. CSM's first student to graduate with an Associate of Arts degree before obtaining a high school diploma was in 1998 at the age of 17 (transferred to the Wharton School, University of Pennsylvania).

Student services

CSM’s student services include admissions & records, counseling, financial aid, health services, disabled students programs and services, transfer center, extended opportunity programs and services, study abroad and international student programs, psychological services, student activities, student employment and cooperative work experience programs.


CSM is accredited by the Accrediting Commission for Community and Junior Colleges of the Western Association of Schools and Colleges, an institutional accrediting body recognized by the Commission on Recognition of Postsecondary Accreditation and the U.S. Department of Education.


CSM offers students the opportunity to participate in the following team sports: men’s baseball, football, track & field, cross country and swimming and women’s softball, basketball, track & field, cross country, water polo and swimming. The school’s mascot is the bulldog.


KCSM’s television and radio stations, licensed to the San Mateo County Community College District, made their broadcast debuts in 1964. Both were originally established as student broadcast training facilities. Today, the stations have professional staffs operating full service public television and radio stations and continue to serve as learning laboratories for students enrolled in the College of San Mateo Broadcasting Arts Department.

KCSM is located in the San Francisco Bay Area, the heart of the fifth largest television and radio market in the United States with the potential of reaching an audience of more than 6 million people. KCSM TV broadcasts 24 hours a day and is a member of PBS. Its programming is oriented exclusively towards adult viewers, with early morning and day programming consisting entirely of college-level telecourses. Prime time and weekend hours are devoted to PBS programs and locally produced programs. KCSM’s 1.5 million watt broadcast signal has a coverage area that includes San Mateo, San Francisco, Santa Clara, Santa Cruz, Alameda, Contra Costa, Marin, Solano, Sonoma and Napa counties. Additionally, KCSM is carried on 60 cable systems in the Bay Area and nearly half a million viewers tune in each week.

KCSM Jazz 91 also broadcasts 24 hours a day and has a growing audience that currently numbers more than 200,000. According to Arbitron, the station is among the top 35 "most listened to" non-commercial stations in the United States. An affiliate of Public Radio International and National Public Radio, KCSM is the only station in the Bay Area with a 24-hour jazz format. Hosts of the various programs KCSM produces include veteran jazz musicians, educators, seasoned jazz broadcasters and often a combination of the three.


The College of San Mateo Library[6] was originally located in The Merchant Marine chapel at Coyote Point in 1947, and moved to its current location in 1963. The CSM Library was one of the first 10 buildings constructed at the hilltop campus. According to "Class Act: College of San Mateo. A History" by Michael Svanevik and Shirley Burgett, architecturally and educationally, the dominant building on the new campus was the 49,402-square-foot (4,589.6 m2) library. The building was designed by John Carl Warnecke Students studying for exams or researching course assignments can refocus their eyes on breathtaking views of the San Mateo sky or the San Francisco Bay and the San Mateo Bridge far below.

Music and drama programs

The college established the nation's first college jazz band in 1946, under the direction of Bud Young, who was succeeded by Dick Crest. The college's choral groups were led from 1931 to 1964 by Fred Roehr, who was succeeded by Galen Marshall (born 1934 in Greensburg, Kansas). Marshall founded the Masterworks Chorale in September 1964, a community organization that continues to this day. Roehr retired in 1968, after 37 years on the faculty.

The college maintained an active drama department for many years, presenting plays such as Oedipus Rex and Waiting for Godot, before Cañada College took over drama productions for the San Mateo County Community College District.

See also


  • San Mateo: A Centennial History; M. Postel; 1994; ISBN 0-942087-08-9

External links

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