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California Western University

San Diego, California


E-Travel has five Loma Del Mar yearbooks from the 1962-70 period.  The San Diego Union covered some school events.  Captain Dennis Cole, who maintains  the website, kindly allowed me to use the logo (right) and his photo (below) from the website.


California Western University traced its roots to Balboa Law School (later Balboa University), founded by Leland Ghent Stanford in 1924.  Balboa University was a small commercial day/night school that operated on student fees.  Wanting to broaden the academic and cultural focus and to attract financial support, President William C. Rust effected a name change and brought in denominational support—specifically of the Southern California-Arizona Conference of the Methodist Church.  The new entity opened in 1952.


According to the Union, when Balboa University morphed into California Western University, enrollment stood at 212. President Rust believed a C.W.U. goal would be “to do significant, worthwhile work on a limited basis,” meaning small classes taught by a highly qualified faculty. He stated, “We do not plan ever to have more than 800 undergraduate and 400 graduate students,”   The Education Directory shows that enrollment actually topped one thousand in the fall of 1958 and approached 2,000 by fall of 1963. 


A review of the graduating class of 1963 shows that about 80% of those students were from California, and that about 80% were either traditional arts and sciences majors or education majors.


Most student organizations and activities shown in Loma Del Mar appear to be typical of those in a liberal arts college of a similar size.  Some were related to the mission of the school. As a Methodist-affiliated school, C.W.U. sponsored a Wesley Club, a Circle K service club and a Golden Key honor society. Some activities were unique to the Point Loma location with its “year-round surfing and sunning.”  The on-campus Greek theater allowed drama performances to include Antigone.  Among the formal dances enjoyed by C.W.U. students was Harbor Lights, a shipboard dance cruise in the Pacific harbor.


In 1966 President Rust began plans for a seven-campus federation of schools. In addition to the law school, California Western would become the undergraduate College of Arts and Sciences. Other campuses of the projected United States International University would be located in Kenya, England, and Mexico—as well as Colorado and Hawaii.


In 2002 U.S.I.U. merged with two other schools to form Alliant International University.

Bricks and Mortar

With the name change to C.W.U., the school purchased the Theosophical Institution buildings at Point Loma.  C.W.U. renovated Cabrillo Hall as its administration/classroom building and library and the 220-seat Lomaland Hall for meetings and dinners. To help offset the cost of the campus, C.W.U. sold the Spalding House to World Council of Churches.


One other campus landmark saved was the Greek Theater.  Begun by Katherine Tingley in 1901, this first Greek theater in the United States had the stoa and tessellated floor added in 1911


In 1967 C.W.U. purchased property at the Scripps Ranch in San Diego and began building the Elliott Campus there.  By 1973 all campus activities of Point Loma campus had been transferred to Elliott.  Since 1973 the Point Loma campus has been home to Point Loma Nazarene University.  


            Team name: C.W.U. teams were called Westerners.                                     U.S.I.U. teams were called Gulls

            Colors: Blue and Gold.


President Rust stated that C.W.U. would never field big time football teams and hoped that the focus would be on lifetime sports.  However the 1963 yearbook shows that C.W.U. had become a NAIA District III member with teams in five sports.  The school played football from 1956 through 1979. The 1964 Westerners were District champions with a 7-2 record.  The 1979 U.S.I.U. team won eight games in an 11 game schedule. Early on, the team played home games in Balboa Stadium.


Basketball teams qualified for the national tournament in Kansas City in 1963, 1965, and 1966, and 1975 (as U.S.I.U.).  The 1963 baseball team qualified for nationals in St. Joseph, MO.


U.S.I.U. later became a NCAA D-1 member.  The softball Gulls qualified for the national tournament in 1982, winning two games. 

Dennis Cole, a three-year starter for USIU, won first-team NAIA honors in 1970.  He helped USIU to a 14-6 record in 1969-70.

Note: Images are used in accordance with their “terms of use” as I understand those terms.  Recopying or republishing these images may be restricted or forbidden.

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