President Clinton will tour Cal State Northridge and speak there Tuesday morning--the first presidential visit in the campus' 38-year history--to mark the one-year anniversary of the Northridge earthquake, White House officials said Thursday.
The event will be part of Clinton's broader Southern California trip that will include visits to a Martin Luther King Jr. Day event in south Los Angeles on Monday, and possibly a tour of flood-damaged areas later Tuesday, White House officials said.
Clinton's Northridge visit "is really an event to honor the heroes of the earthquake . . . and to honor the incredible resiliency of the people of Southern California. And there are probably few better examples of that than Cal State Northridge," said John Emerson, deputy assistant to the President.
The university had originally invited Clinton to campus in mid-February for its anniversary event celebrating the campus reopening only one month after the quake struck. But Emerson said White House staffers instead wanted to come to the campus on the quake's actual anniversary.
"We're delighted. We're ecstatic. We'll take such a visit any time we can get it," said Bruce Erickson, CSUN's director of public relations. "The more the President understands about our situation, the more support we're going to have in getting the resources to finish the recovery job," he said.
CSUN suffered an estimated $350 million in damage in the Jan. 17 temblor, making it one of the costliest natural disasters ever to a university. The campus' quick reopening shortly thereafter, using hundreds of portable bungalow classrooms in place of damaged buildings, has been widely praised.
White House officials Thursday gave few details of what Clinton plans to do or say during the CSUN visit. But he is expected to tour parts of the campus prior to delivering a speech in front of Delmar T. Oviatt Library, wings of which remain closed due to earthquake damage.
The event will be open to the public and will take place regardless of rain, White House officials said. Those planning to attend are urged to arrive on campus by 7:30 a.m. Tuesday for the 8:30 program.
Officials suggested visitors enter the campus from Nordhoff Street by turning onto Darby Avenue. The crowd will be checked by metal detectors and will stand in front of the library for the speech.
The campus Thursday began issuing flyers and commemorative tickets that listed a 9:30 a.m. arrival time. But the actual event was moved up to give the President more time later in the day for the possible flood damage tour, aides said.