1935 to 1972: San Diego State College
In 1935, legislative enactment changed the campus name to San Diego State College and brought the campus its third president, Walter Hepner. During 1935-36 SDSC participated in the California Pacific International Exposition and gained national attention. Held in Balboa Park, the Exposition included slides of the campus, and departments in action. This included works of art, drama, music, and sports, the latter of which included Physical Education. In 1936 Aztec Bowl was dedicated with a football win over Occidental on October 6. At the time, there were 1608 students and 77 faculty members. Also, in 1936 Jessie Rand Tanner retired after an illustrious career. Additional changes took place on campus that included the building of the first dormitory in 1937 and in 1941 the Greek Bowl, now known as the Open Air Theater.
Student life was filled with campus organizations and attendance at intercollegiate sporting events. Football season became a campus focus and it was estimated that 75% of students attended these events. Game 1 of the season was always the most celebrated and included the lighting of the “S” on Cowles Mountain. During the 1930’s basketball and track and field emerged as successful sports as well. In fact, in 1941 SDSC was the national champion in basketball under the leadership of Coach Morris Gross.
World War II
The war brought many changes to campus including a reduction in both students and faculty. As a result, the campus returned to a predominantly female student population. Several Physical Education faculty went on military leave including Leo Calland, Esther Pease, Carl Young, and Florence Shafer. Intercollegiate sports were virtually eliminated and the “S” on Cowles Mountain was darkened.
One physical education student, Jean Landis, was a WASP pilot during WWII. She taught on the physical education faculty from 1968-1979. Later, she and other WASP pilots received the Congressional Gold Medal.
The curriculum was altered to de-emphasize liberal arts in favor of science and technology. In 1942 courses were added and in some cases became mandatory. These courses included first aid, water sanitation, fire protection, gas defense, and computational math. To prepare men for future wars, the Physical Education programs focused on conditioning and physical fitness. In addition, folk dancing was taught at USOs.
The end of the war brought significant changes to the campus. Student enrollment increased dramatically with half of the students returning as veterans of the war. Intercollegiate sports returned in basketball, football, and baseball.
For the first time faculty needed to have earned a doctorate or terminal degree to be hired. There was also an increase in money appropriated to research. Thus, the teacher/scholar model was put in place and continued to rise in importance over the next several decades with continued emphasis on scholarly activities.
In 1946-47, the Department of Physical Education was placed under the newly-formed Division of Health, Physical Education, and Recreation with Carl Young serving as both the Division Chair and Chair of Physical Education for Men. Sixteen new faculty were hired between 1946 and 1950, including five women. Another milestone occurred in 1950-51 with the offering of a Master of Arts degree in Teaching with a concentration in Health and Physical Education. In the following year the A.B. degree (Physical Education) in Arts and Sciences was offered.
In 1952, President Hepner retired and Malcolm Love became the fourth President. During this time period a nutrition lecture/laboratory course (Health Education 61-Nutrition) was offered for pre-nursing, pre-medical, and other pre-professional students under Health and Physical Education. In 1946-47 the course was offered in the Division of Health, Physical Education, and Recreation. The following year, this course was offered as Home Arts 61 in the Division of Fine Arts, along with two other food and nutritional science courses: Home Arts 5: Food Preparation and Home Arts 105: Family Meals as part of a home arts concentration for a general major. Margaret Pritchard served as Chair of the Home Arts department and Ruth Talboy was hired as an Assistant Professor in Home Arts. For the catalog year 1949-50 Home Economics (formerly Home Arts) courses were offered in the Division of Social Sciences as a Minor in Arts and Sciences and as a concentration in a general major. An additional nutrition course was also offered (Home Economics 62: Food and Nutrition). Ruth Talboy became the Chair of Home Economics and Norita Comin was hired as acting Assistant Professor in Home Economics.
This decade saw an increase in enrollment from 4,800 to 10,000 with 63% of the student population being men by 1955. In 1955, the California legislature approved both in-state and out-of-state tuition, although the majority of the student population was still local. The physical plant was enlarged from 255,434 square feet to 1,243,737 square feet. This expansion included funding for the building of the men’s gym and the swimming pool, which were influential in curricular offerings in Physical Education to come in the 1960’s. Another change during this decade was the establishment of the Faculty Senate in 1959.
President Love was a strong proponent of the importance of Athletics as a way to bring recognition to the campus. In fact, in 1956 a portion of student fees went to Athletics. In addition, there was community involvement in fund raising, which was done through the “Aztec Athletic Angels Club”.
Several sports experienced great success during this decade including basketball under Coach George Zigenfuss and track and cross country under Coach Charles (Choc) Sportsman. The baseball team finished at .500 every year during this decade. One of the players on the 1956 team, Doug Harvey, a physical education major, became a Major League Hall of Fame Umpire.
In addition, the golf and tennis teams won conference titles. Finally, the track team earned its second national championship. Football was not successful in large part because Coach Governali did not believe in recruiting players to the team, a decision that paved the way to the end of his coaching career at SDSC. He stayed on at SDSC as a physical education faculty member and served as Chair and Graduate Advisor. He had a long and productive faculty career until his death in 1978.
In 1955-56 a Home Economics major in Arts and Sciences in the Division of Fine Arts (pdf) was approved with additional courses in Advanced Foods and Advanced Nutrition and Dietetics. Mrs. Alice Thomas was hired as Assistant Professor in Home Economics.
In 1957-58 a new Home Economics building was completed and opened for use. These changes were foundational to important changes to come in 1959-60 with the approval of an emphasis in Food and Nutrition for the Major of Home Economics. This new emphasis required additional course work in food and nutritional sciences.
An important change came in 1960 when California’s Master Plan outlined the higher education system as consisting of community colleges, colleges, and universities. SDSC became part of the California State College system and was governed by a Board of Trustees.
In 1961, Peterson Gymnasium was opened and was named after C.E. Peterson, the long-time Men’s Director of Physical Education and Dean of Men. This building led the Men’s Program to move to that facility while the Women’s Program remained at the “Women’s Gym” facility. Also in 1961, Athletics was listed as a separate Department under the Division of Health, Physical Education, and Recreation but Athletics faculty (hotlink to listing of faculty including athletics) and intercollegiate sports courses remained listed under Physical Education in the SDSC catalog.
Football was so unsuccessful under Coach Governali that there was talk of reducing it to club status. Instead, President Love hired Don Coryell. He became the “winningest” football coach at SDSC. Over his tenure, he won 104 games, lost 19, and tied 2. He won 5 conference titles, 3 bowl games, and three national championships (1966-67-68).
The use of his advances in the game of football brought his offenses the nickname of “Air Coryell”. He surrounded himself with excellent assistant coaches (insert picture of the coaches). Two of his assistants, John Madden and Joe Gibbs (pdf), as well as Coach Coryell went on to achieve success at the professional level of coaching. Football became a Division I sport in 1969.
The Athletic Director during this decade was Al Olsen, a professor in Physical Education. He strongly believed in diversity in sports; thus, other sports found success. The swimming team won national championships in 1965 and 1966. The cross country team earned three national championships (1965-66-67) under Coach Tony Sucec, a faculty member in Physical Education. Finally, under Coach Sportsman the track and field team won national Division II championships in 1965 and 1966. The Athletics Department separated from the Physical Education Department in 1971-72. For additional information on sports legends, see “Sports Legends” (pdf).
An historic event for the campus was the Commencement Address given by President John F. Kennedy on June 6, 1963 just a few months before his assassination in Dallas on November 22, 1963. A plaque is located on campus near the lower entrance to “Aztec Bowl” memorializing President Kennedy’s address.
This decade also brought the beginning of a medically-supervised Cardiac Adult Fitness Program (AFP) in 1964 when Dr. John Boyer became the Medical Director and Dr. Fred Kasch, a physical education professor, founded the program. This program became the first cardiac rehabilitation program in San Diego and perhaps in the nation and served as teaching and research opportunities for faculty and graduate students. It was part of the larger Adult Fitness Program that Dr. Kasch established in 1958.
Long term research studies were conducted to determine the effects of exercise on fitness in middle-age men including those with cardiac disease. Their pioneering research showed that exercise plays an important role in improving and maintaining fitness and health. Dr. Kasch had a long and distinctive career and retired in 1981.
The community-based Aztec Gymnastics Program began in 1965 under the direction of Ed Franz, an Assistant Professor in Physical Education (link to Special Programs description). This program served community youth with supervised instruction and competition opportunities at various gymnastics meets.
The 1960’s also saw a surge in graduate education, with the first joint doctorate offered in Chemistry in 1966. Twenty-two percent of the student population were seeking graduate degrees. With this increased interest came an increase in research activity and research grant applications. There was also an increase in the physical plant with many facilities being built including the construction of the Annex building adjacent to the Physical Education building (“Women’s Gym”) in 1966. The annex eventually served as a classroom and two laboratories were located there as well.
For the Food and Nutrition emphasis this decade also brought important changes. Zoe (Anderson) Stout was hired in 1965-66 as an Assistant Professor in Home Economics and was the first person holding a doctoral degree to teach courses in nutrition. During the 1968-69 catalog year a Master of Science degree in Home Economics was approved with many options of courses, even at the graduate level, in food and nutritional sciences.
These changes were instrumental to the shift away from the “Betty Crocker” model of Home Economics to the emergence of nutritional and food sciences as applied science disciplines. Faculty hired in the late 1960’s and beyond had advanced degrees in the basic and applied sciences including biochemistry, nutrition, and food sciences. The focus changed to preparing students for professional careers in health care (as dietitians), food service (food management and production), and food industries (product development; quality assurance). Barbara Gunning was hired in 1969 and was the first Ph.D. R.D. on the faculty.
In the beginning of this decade a re-organization of campus resulted in the Department of Physical Education and the Department of Home Economics being placed under the newly-formed College of Professional Studies. This re-organization occurred so that professional schools could better achieve accreditations.