In fall 1956, the San Fernando Valley campus of the Los Angeles State College of Applied Arts and Sciences (later Cal State Los Angeles) was established on the present Northridge site. Soon after, the state Legislature passed Assembly Bill 971, which provided for the campus to separate from its parent college. On July 1, 1958, the founding date of the present university, the institution became San Fernando Valley State College, with about 3,300 students and 104 faculty. On June 1, 1972, the college was renamed California State University, Northridge, by action of the state Legislature and the Board of Trustees of the California State University.
Ralph Prator was the institution's founding president from early 1958 to fall 1968. James Cleary served from 1969 to mid-1992. Blenda J. Wilson was president from September 1992 through mid-1999. Louanne Kennedy served as acting president during 1999-2000. In November 1999, the CSU Board of Trustees appointed CSU Sacramento Provost Jolene Koester as CSUN's fourth president in July 2000.
Include former Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Chairman/CEO Alex Yemenidjian, Hilton Hotels CEO Stephen Bollenbach, Hawaii Gov. Linda Lingle, CNBC anchors Bill Griffeth, Ron Insana and Sue Herera, Curb Records Chairman/former California Lt. Gov. Mike Curb, actor/producer Richard “Cheech” Marin, and former space shuttle astronaut Scott Horowitz.