CSU, Chicos nickname, Wildcats, was established in 1924 by a vote of the student body. Maxon Mellinger, who was a fan of the Northwestern Wildcats, submitted the winning name. The schools newspaper was also called The Wildcat until the mid 1970s. A live wildcat mascot, donated to the school by athlete and 1925 alum E.R. Deering, first arrived on campus in 1928. The cats first appearance at a basketball game included his nipping the leg of a referee and nervously answering the call of nature on the basketball court. Despite this somewhat embarrassing beginning, the Wildcat has endured as a symbol and mascot for the institution, whose students and alums proudly refer to themselves as Wildcats. The current version of the Wildcat symbol (below right) was designed by
a student, Anna Giacometti, in 1989.
Colusa Hall, built in 1921, is the oldest building on campus and the only building that remains of the original State Normal School. It has been completely renovated to meet seismic building codes and will eventually house the Janet Turner and University Art Collections, art gallery, and a conference facility.
In general, most buildings on campus are named after the counties in our service area: Butte, Colusa, Glenn, Lassen, Modoc, Plumas, Sierra, Siskiyou, Shasta, Sutter, Tehama, Trinity, and Yuba Halls. A few are named after their primary function or activity: the Center for Regional and Continuing Education, the Performing Arts Center, the Physical Science Building, Plant Operations, the Student Health Center, the Residence Halls Recreation Center, the University Center, and the University Housing and Food Service.
One residence hall is named after Mt. Whitney (because its the tallest and next to Shasta and Lassen Halls), and three halls after the local Indian tribes of Esken, Konkow, and Mechoopda.
Several buildings and places are dedicated to faculty, alumni, or friends of the university for their outstanding service. These individuals contributed significantly to the history and traditions of our university.
The 1937 basketball team won the first Far Western Conference
championship for Chico, giving Coach Art Acker the championship
he had sought for fourteen years. The gymnasium is named for
Mr. Acker, who, until his death in 1991 at the age of 99,
attended every game.
Albert E. Warrens
The former presidents home is named in honor of Albert
Warrens and was originally designed by the distinguished architect,
Aymer J. Hamilton
This building is dedicated to Dr. Aymer J. Hamilton, president of Chico State College from 1931 to 1950. The building was then a teacher training school, and today houses classrooms.
This building is dedicated to John C. Ayres, painter and art historian, professor of art, and department chair from 1946 to 1967.
Bell Memorial Union
The student union was dedicated in 1969 and is named after Dr. Hugh M. Bell, professor of psychology and dean from 1928 to 1967, who, through his leadership and counsel, made special contributions to student life and well being.
The amphitheatre adjacent to Childrens Playground, was built as a WPA project in 1938. It is part of the legacy of John and Annie Bidwell, who left Bidwell Park and Childrens Playground to the City of Chico.
Completed in 1868 and now a historic monument and part of the California Parks System, Bidwell Mansion was once owned by the university and used as a womens residence hall for many years, when it was named Bidwell Hall
George Petersen Rose
The George Petersen Rose Garden was named for the original owner of the Christian and Johnson floral company. Mr. Petersen, whose father was the gardener for John and Annie Bidwell, donated all of the rose bushes here.
Gus Manolis Bridge
This bridge between Kendall and Holt Halls
was dedicated in 1961 to Gus Manolis, football Coach of the Century, who had a 23-12-1 win-loss record from 1954 to1957, and died while participating in a search for a lost boy.
Harlen Adams Theatre
This theatre complex in the Performing Arts Center has been the setting for many outstanding theatrical performances as well as the office for Dr. Harlen Adams, a distinguished teacher, scholar, university administrator, community leader, and friend of the performing arts.
This building is dedicated to the memory of a truly distinguished teacher and scholar, Dr. Vesta Holt (1892-1970), professor of biology, department coordinator, and division chair.
Old Hutchs Plaza is named in honor of W.H. Hutchinson, a distinguished professor of history and yarn spinner who often held court on the bench in this location.
In recognition of his outstanding leadership and service to the university and northeastern California, this building is dedicated to Dr. Glenn Kendall, campus president from 1950 to 1966.
This building is dedicated to Dr. Herbert F. Langdon, who established the engineering program at Chico State. He was a distinguished professor of engineering and division chair from 1946 to 1965.
Larry Wismer Theatre
This theatre is dedicated to Dr. Lawrence H. Wismer, outstanding teacher-director, founder of The Court Theatre, and professor of drama from 1963 to 1980.
This building is dedicated to Dr. C. Robert Laxson, professor of music from 1946 to 1968.
Meriam Library honors both a father and son: Morrison E. Meriam, professor of psychology from 1902 to 1934, and Theodore Ted Meriam, community leader, alumnus, and friend of the university, a member of the California State University Board of Trustees from 1961 to 1971, and its chair from 1968 to 1969.
This building is dedicated to John Francis OConnell, student body president in 1936, member of the Board of Trustees of the California State University from 1977 to 1984, and board chair from 1981 to 1984.
Paul L. Byrne University
Farm, Agricultural Reaching and Research Center
The 800-acre University Farm is dedicated to former State
Senator Paul L. Byrne.
The Roth Planetarium was made possible by a gift from James
F. and Betty Jane Roth in 1976.
This recital hall is named in honor of Ruth Rowland-Taylor,
professor of music and head of the music department from 1929
The Alumni House was dedicated on Homecoming Day, 1992, to
Ella Caroline Sapp, alumna, Chico Normal School class of 1916.
For her unsurpassed contributions to physical education and
womens athletics, this gymnasium is named for Jane Wells
Shurmer, teacher, scholar, and coach from 1938 to 1968.
Dedicated to A diamond in the rough, the café
is named after John Selvester, the Associated Students director
of food services and assistant general manager from 1951 to
This building is dedicated to Dr. Alva P. Taylor, a distinguished
scholar, professor of English, and department chair from 1929