Efforts by community and political leaders to attract a state university to North County date back to 1968. In
1978, state legislator William A. Craven (1921-1999) won state funding for a North County satellite campus of San Diego State University. In 1989, Gov. George Deukmejian signed another
Craven bill which established a CSU campus in San Marcos.The state purchased land in San Marcos, including the former Prohoroff Poultry Farms chicken ranch. The hillside site lies
approximately 8 miles due east of the Pacific Ocean and 25 miles (40 km)
due north of downtown San Diego. Today the campus comprises 304 acres (1.2 km²).Bill Stacy was appointed president in June 1989. During the 1989-1990 academic year, Stacy hired 12 "Founding Faculty," who
played an important role in the university's early years and today are memorialized in Founders Plaza.CSUSM admitted upper division students and held classes from September 1990 through August 1992 in rented facilities in a San
Marcos industrial park, alongside the North County campus of San Diego State. Groundbreaking for the permanent campus occurred on
February 23, 1990. Classes began at the current campus in August 1992; Craven Hall was the third building opened in December 1992.