The town of Chico, California was founded in 1887, when General John Bidwell, pioneer and statesman, donated eight acres of cherry orchard for the construction of Chico State Normal School.
In 1889, when the campus opened it had 90 students and five faculty members. The first graduating class of teachers was in June 1891.
Chico State Normal School became Chico State Teachers College, in 1921. The legislature converted the teachers colleges in the state to state colleges in 1935, and that is when Chico State Teachers College became Chico State College.
In 1972, the College became California State University, Chico.
The Bidwell family contributed more of their land and, eventually, their mansion, which was turned into a female dormitory in 1922. The Wildcat was chosen as the mascot, in 1924.
The university is still commonly known as Chico State. Cal State Chico offers more than 100 undergraduate majors, concentrations, and degree options. It is ranked in the top four public regional universities in the west.
The university is divided into two broad categories: the humanities (liberal arts and sciences) and professional studies. Liberal arts colleges include Behavioral & Social Sciences, Humanities & Fine Arts, and Natural Sciences. Professional studies colleges include Agriculture; Business; Communication & Education; and Engineering, Computer Science, & Technology.