1849 The newly approved California Constitution, stating that "the Legislature shall encourage by all suitable means the promotion of intellectual, scientific, moral, and agricultural improvement," calls for the establishment of a University of California. Twenty years will pass before classes begin.
1851 Santa Clara College (now Santa Clara University) opens.
* The California Supreme Court, itself in its first year of existence, charters California Wesleyan College in Santa Clara. The first class is enrolled the next year.
1852 Mills College is founded as the Young Ladies Seminary in Benicia. School moves to Oakland in 1866.
1855 University of San Francisco opens with three students.
1858 The West Coast's first medical school opens at Wesleyan. (In 1961 the college becomes known as University of the Pacific.)
1861 Chapman University is founded (as Hesperian College) in Northern California. It moves to its present location in Orange in 1954.
1862 Minns' Evening Normal School, established in 1857 as a training facility for elementary school teachers by the San Francisco Board of Education, becomes California Normal School. The school moves to San Jose in 1871 and today is San Jose State University.
1869 At last, the University of California opens with 38 students on the grounds of the former College of California in Oakland.
1873 The University of California, now with 191 students, moves to Berkeley.
1880 The University of Southern California opens with 53 students and 10 teachers.
1885 Southern California's first school of medicine opens at USC.
1887 Pomona College is founded 35 miles east of Los Angeles and opens its doors the next year.
* Chico State University begins as a state Normal School.
1891 Stanford University, created by Leland and Jane Stanford in memory of their late son, opens in Palo Alto after six years of planning and building.
* Pasadena philanthropist Amos Throop rents the Wooster Block building in Pasadena for the purpose of establishing Throop University, the forerunner of Caltech. In November, Throop University opens its doors to 31 students and a six-member faculty.
1897 San Diego State University begins as the San Diego Normal School, another training facility for elementary school teachers.
1899 Azusa Pacific University starts life as a Bible college geared toward training students for service and missionary endeavors.