These are a few of the universities that we have visited in Los Angeles and vicinity. Additional universities will be highlighted here over time, as this is by no means an exhaustive list.
Cal Poly, Pomona is located just south of the 210 Freeway in Pomona. Originally a satellite campus of what was known then as California Polytechnic School in San Luis Obispo – the two schools became separate entities in 1966. One tradition however did not separate – an annual entry in the Pasadena Rose Bowl Parade. Since 1949 both universities built a float for this annual event on January 1st – and they remain the only entry in the parade completely designed and built by students.
Cal Poly Pomona has strong programs in Hospitality Management and Civil Engineering. The campus is modern – and surprisingly surrounded by a fair amount of undeveloped land. Be sure to check out the Cal Poly Farm Store located on the south part of the campus – often fresh citrus and avocados are for sale (among other items grown on campus). Wine made from the Horsehill Vineyard is also sold at the store.
With decent traffic Cal Poly is located about 30 minutes from down Los Angeles. The university has one of the larger campus’s in the California State University System – which includes not only the main campus but several other properties selectively located in Southern California. The Classroom, Laboratory & Administration Building or just simply known as the CLA Building is one of the most prominent easily identifiable buildings on campus. When you drive in you can’t miss it – it is the tall pointed building behind the open air parking lots and parking garage (as seen to the in the photo below).
The university also offers several decent sports programs under NCAA Division II. Former Cal Poly alums have earned 7 Olympic gold medals (as of our latest update). Visit: www.cpp.edu
Caltech (California Institute of Technology) is located at 1200 East California Blvd in Pasadena and is primarily a science and technology School. It was founded in 1891 as a vocational school and was originally called Throop University (named after a local businessman). The current size of the campus encompasses 120+ acres.
Caltech continues to manage and operate NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (also in Pasadena) – we highly recommend taking a tour of this facility to see the rovers and robotic spacecraft created by some of brightest minds in today’s space program.
Albert Einstein visited the campus over a span of several years in the early 1930’s. In honor of his lifetime work, the Einstein Papers Project was created in the mid 1980’s and contains over 40,000 documents relating to Einstein’s work and since 2000 have been housed at Caltech.
In 2016 the college was voted as the top research university in the world by World University Rankings by the Times Higher Education magazine in London. For good reason to – consider this: while the college is extremely small, 35+ Caltech alumni and faculty have won more than 30 Nobel Prizes (including Linus Pauling) and over 70 have taken home the National Medal of Science or Technology. They also have an extremely high percentage of students who go on to earn their PhD’s.
For more information visit: www.caltech.edu
California State University, Long Beach was founded in 1949 by then Governor of California, Earl Warren (see the Earl Warren Showgrounds in Santa Barbara). Perhaps unfairly under rated from a name recognition standpoint, the campus is one of the most diverse colleges in the country. The college features the largest Physics department of any college in California, the largest publicly funded art program at a college west of the Mississippi and for the money, is one of the best value colleges in California. It is also among the most applied to colleges in the California State University system.
The campus is visually attractive – visitors will invariably be drawn to the Egyptian pyramid like looking building called the Walter Pyramid which houses a 5,000 seat indoor arena and is home to the men and women’s basketball program. Several sports fields and a all weather track surround the pyramid. Speaking of sports, Long Beach State has graduated a number of prominent athletes in a variety a sports. And prominent individuals from other walks of life including film director, Steven Spielberg.
The University Art Museum is worth visiting – open free to the public they often feature rotating works of art along with a sizable permanent art collection. Don’t miss the outdoor sculpture garden.
And on select days, the tiny but worth visiting Earl Burns Miller botanical garden is open to the general public. Features a Japanese styled space centered around a pond.
California State University, Northridge, or CSUN for short – is a 350+ acre campus located at 18111 Nordhoff St in Northridge (the heart of the San Fernando Valley) with close access from both the 118 and the 405 freeways. With an enrollment of over 40,000 students, this is the largest university in the California State system – and their alumni number over 200,000. This college was originally founded in the late 1950’s as the San Fernando Valley Campus of the Los Angeles State College of Applied Arts and Sciences.
Known for a number of academic programs including the Department of Cinema Television Arts, the Department of Music and their Engineering program. Also home to the National Center on Deafness.
A couple of highlights on campus include the botanical garden and remarkably a still thriving orange grove dating from the 1920’s (see our photo below) – a time when much of the San Fernando Valley was planted to citrus trees.
The college has seen some notable events throughout its 50+ years. The Northridge Earthquake of 1994 caused considerable damage to the campus and surrounding communities. US President at the time Bill Clinton visited the campus a year after the earthquake. For more information visit: www.csun.edu
Loyola Marymount University, Los Angeles or LMU for short, is located in the town of Westchester (within a short drive of LAX). This Jesuit and Marymount University was founded in 1911. From an architectural point of view, arguably one of the highlight buildings on campus is the Chapel of the Sacred Heart (accessible on the far northern part of the campus at the end of the green-way/sunken gardens). The campus also maintains a law school located in downtown Los Angeles.
LMU is one of the largest Catholic Universities on the West Coast (6,000 to 9,000 students). Not an inexpensive school, tuition is still less then one of the most expensive colleges in town, USC. Known for their School of Film and Television (founded only in 2003), the School of Communication & Fine arts and for their Law School.
And wine lovers take note – the annual LMU Wine Classic Fundraiser is always held at the end of January and features a number of California premium wineries (mostly from the world-famous Napa Valley) – offers the opportunity to meet the vintners and participate in their silent auction. This intimate event is held at the Gersten Pavilion on campus (has been used as a Los Angeles Lakers training facility and was home to some events during the 1984 Olympics).
Pepperdine University, Malibu is a private co-ed college situated in the hills above the Pacific Ocean near Malibu. Distracting views of the ocean are a common experience for students or visitors. So is the weather much of the school year. Founder and namesake, George Pepperdine began what soon became a national automobile supply company, called Western Auto Supply Company in 1909. Wildly successful, this company grew to 1200 stores across the country.
George was a man of strong faith his entire life – once he had the funds from Western Auto Supply Company he decided to build a university with the core principles wrapped around religious teachings and the Christian way of life. Originally opened in 1937 in South Central Los Angeles as the George Pepperdine University, it was later shortened to Pepperdine University.
The university sold its original location and by the early 1970s had moved to the site of the present day campus. The campus is 800+ acres – visitors should check in at one of the booths at the main entrance gates – as parking on campus is limited to those with permits. The Phillips Theme Tower is the iconic building on campus – towering 125 feet high, this cross visually represents the campus’s commitment to Christianity.
Known for their business school and school of law. A number of accomplished individuals who have enjoyed careers in the public eye have graduated from Pepperdine including a number of sports players, politicians and actors or actresses.
UCLA, part of the University of California system in California (University of California, Los Angeles) is one of Los Angeles’ more well known colleges. The “bruins” campus is located just east of the 405 freeway between Sunset & Wilshire Blvd’s. The campus is nestled in between the Bel Air mansions and the bustling Westwood village.
Highlights include garden paths, and the neat Spanish/Moorish styled tile work. The Fowler Museum of Art is also located on campus. Did you know there are a series of tunnels under this campus? A well kept secret unless you are in the know.
The campus is historical and kept in pristine conditions. Along with overall high standards of education (including a coveted film program) – the University also boasts a top medical center. One of the more picturesque campuses in Los Angeles. More information: www.ucla.edu
USC (University of Southern California) is probably the most expensive school in California to attend if you are not on scholarship. It is a private leading research university with its main Park Campus located just across from the Exposition Park and the LA Coliseum. USC is one of the oldest universities on the West Coast, having been established in 1880. It is not as picturesque as say UCLA, which is a newer school; many of the buildings on USC’s campus are new and more modern looking.
For walking onto the actual Campus consider parking on either side of Exposition Blvd. Parking on Campus is available for a fee – if you park on campus consider entering Parking Lot 1 from Vermont Ave, just around the corner from Exposition Blvd.
Note that USC also maintains their California Health Sciences Campus about 3 miles from downtown Los Angeles near where the 5 and the 10 freeways intersect. While not nearly as large as their primary campus, this satellite campus is quite impressive – and includes a number of prominent buildings (medical center, Keck Hospital etc).
USC is a university leader in research, and is always on the forefront of technology. They also have very well known business, film and music programs. Interested to see how USC has left its mark on the world, view: http://about.usc.edu/faculty Main website: www.usc.edu
Note: We will visit or re-visit the following LA based colleges as time permits:
California State University, Dominguez Hills
California State University, Los Angeles
East Los Angeles College
The Claremont College, Claremont