SACRAMENTO, Calif. (KTXL) — Thursday will mark the 75th anniversary of Sacramento State welcoming students to its campus. 

The university plans to celebrate the milestone with a campus party at the school’s main quad in the area where the River Front Center is located. Shasta, Lassen and Del Norte halls are also nearby. 

According to the university, the festivities start at 10 a.m. and the campus community will gather for the yearly “Swarm” photo, an annual picture that includes students, faculty and staff. 

“What has not changed in 75 years is our focus on being a student-centered university and on being Sacramento’s university,” University President Robert S. Nelson said on Sac State’s website. 

Sacramento State’s first class

According to the university, the school opened in 1947 and was then known as Sacramento State College. At the time, Sac State had five-full time faculty members and 235 students, most of whom were returning soldiers from World War II. 

In the first semester of classes in the fall of 1947, Sac State students were enrolled in 44 classes and held its first graduation ceremony the following spring, according to an archived article from the university. 

The ceremony was held for a history major named John J. Collins, who had transferred from UC Berkeley. 

When Sacramento State opened its door, it shared a campus with Sacramento Junior College (now known as Sacramento City College) and didn’t get its own campus until 1953.

After the proposed sites for a permanent location were rejected, the university officially moved to its current location in 1953. 

Sites that were rejected were on 5th Street and Broadway, Fruitridge Road and Stockton Boulevard, and in the Pocket Area. The current location on J Street was chosen in 1949 despite some concerns it was too close to a railroad. The site was purchased for $1,650 to $1,800 an acre. 

How the university has changed over the years

After moving to its current location in 1953, a lot has changed for the university, most notably its enrollment and size. 

When the site was purchased, it was at 244 acres and has since expanded to 305 acres. 

One of the school’s notable structures, the Guy West Bridge, opened in 1967. The bridge has served as a walkway for students who live nearby, as the structure connects to apartments in the Campus Commons neighborhood.

For the fall 2021 semester, Sac State had an enrollment of 28,904 undergraduate students, according to U.S. News and World Report. The university had a total enrollment of 31,573 for fall 2021, according to the California State University website. 

Sac State reported that 9,453 students earned degrees last year from the university. 

“Our growth over the past 75 years has been tremendous, not just in the size of our campus or the number of students that we serve, but also in the diversity of our student body,” Nelson said. 

How Sacramento State compares to other universities 

Recently, U.S. News & World ranked Sacramento State as the 16th best public university in the Western Region and is No. 5 for best undergraduate teaching. 

Sac State was also ranked as the 16th best college for veterans and was ranked No. 14 on social mobility. 

U.S. News & World also ranked Sac State at No. 38 in the category of regional universities in the west.