50th anniversary logo + archive images of students in CCS from 70s and 80s

50 Years of History-Making


  • With the recent creation of Chicano Studies centers at key universities in California, Chicana/os meet with President Malcolm Love to discuss a Chicano Studies center. The individuals present include: Marta Sotomayor Schlatter, professor in the School of Social Welfare; Juan Gómez-Quiñones, lecturer in the Department of History; Bert Rivas, director, Educational Opportunities Program; and, Alurista, Jorge Gonzalez, and Gus Chavez, SDSU Mexican American Youth Association (MAYA) students.

  • These same individuals form a committee to develop a Centro de Estudios Chicanos and courses in Chicana/o Studies.

  • Students Carlos and Linda LeGerrette and Richard Saiz found the community newspaper La Verdad featuring the struggles of Cesar Chavez and the United Farm Workers as well as Chicana/o movimiento events in San Diego.


  • Chicanos from SDSU (then San Diego State College) participate in the drafting and signing of the historic Plan de Santa Bárbara that establishes the blueprint for Chicana/o higher education. They include René Núñez and Jorge Gonzalez. Among the originators of the Santa Bárbara conference that resulted in the Plan de Santa Bárbara are Juan Gómez-Quiñones (now at UCLA) and René Núñez.

  • Chicano Studies courses and program of study are submitted to the University Senate for approval by ad hoc committee on Chicano Studies and MAYA. Program approved but with name of Mexican American Studies. Professor Gustavo V. Segade explained that, rather than delay, the proponents of the program had temporarily and unwillingly accepted the change in title from “Chicano Studies” to “Mexican American Studies” to conform to usage by the Chancellor’s office.

  • Movimiento Estudiantil Chicana/o de Aztlán (MEChA) students including Enriqueta Chavez, Felicitas Nuñez, Olivia Puentes Reynolds, Delia Ravelo, and Vivian Sermeño participate in the Chicano Youth Liberation Conference (March 27-31) organized by Rodolfo “Corky” Gonzales and the Crusade for Justice in Denver, Colorado. Dr. Adelaida R. Del Castillo a high school student at this time, attends as a member of Lupe Saavedra’s El Teatro Chicano, which performed at the conference.

  • During the fall semester, the first class enrolls in the Mexican American Studies program, one of the first of its kind in the nation because undergraduate MAYA/MEChA students were involved in programmatic decision-making and were allowed to team-teach with lecturers of record. Dr. Gustavo V. Segade serves as first interim chair. Instructors include Alurista, Juan Gómez-Quiñones, Jorge Gonzalez, René Núñez, Bert Rivas, and Carlos Vélez-Ibáñez.


  • Mexican American Studies becomes a department with Dr. Carlos Vélez-Ibáñez as its first chair. Instructors include Alurista, Evangelina Bustamante, Rafael Estupinian, Ruth Robinson, and José “Pepe” Villarino and, in 1972, Sonia A. Lopez. The historians David Weber and Juan Gómez-Quiñones also teach for the program.

  • The Chicano Collection, initially comprised of published sources on Mexican-origin populations in the United States, is established and housed on the premises of El Centro de Estudios Chicanos on Hardy Avenue, until it becomes part of SDSU’s Love Library. Sources for the collection were at first donated from private and public collections. Presently, the Chicana/o Collection continues to serve as “a culturally supportive and meaningful space for Chicana/o and Latina/o and other students of color at SDSU.”

  • Ruth Robinson, who worked with Cesar Chavez and the United Farm Workers (UFW), teaches teatro classes and together with her students creates Teatro Mestizo, which performs the plays of Luis Valdez of the UFW.

  • The community newspaper Inside the Beast is established by Chicano Studies faculty and students, among them Evangelina Bustamante and Cesar Lopez.

  • Students and faculty participate in the fight for and founding of Chicano Park, among them Guillermo Aranda, Rico Bueno, Cesar Lopez, Salvador Torres, and Dr. Pepe Villarino.

  • Faculty and a contingent of MEChA students attend the August 29 Chicano Moratorium held in East Los Angeles. Among them are Dr. Pepe Villarino, René Núñez, Arturo Cásares, Enriqueta Chavez, Cesar Lopez, Sonia A. Lopez (now at Sacramento State), and Juan del Rio. Dr. Adelaida R. Del Castillo (from East Los Angeles) attends as well.


  • The department sets up Barrio Station in Barrio Logan and in San Ysidro. Barrio Station is considered “the community arm of the department,” because it allows for a reciprocal flow of information and resources. Barrio Station offers non-credit courses of practical use for community members. For example, Bert Corona teaches a course on immigration and naturalization for both lawyers and immigrants. Arturo Cásares serves as its first director.

  • Reflecting the strong emphasis on the arts that are part of the broader Chicano Movement, José “Pepe” Villarino and others establish the Rondalla Amerindia de Aztlán, which includes Chunky Sanchez. The Rondalla is active in supporting the United Farm Workers in the Imperial Valley.

  • Teatro de las Chicanas is founded by students Felicitas Nuñez and Delia Ravelo.


  • MEChA and the department participate in the formation of the Third World Coalition that fights against anti-affirmative action legislation like the Bakke decision.


  • The department considers the border as an important focus and faculty develop courses, a minor, and certificate. Shortly thereafter, Dr. Bill Vega, department chair, receives a $1 million National Institute of Mental Health (NIMH) grant to study the mental health of Mexican migrants.


  • The department, led by Dr. Isidro Ortiz as chair, and with support of MEChA, survives austere budget cuts and continues to attract students and develop an intellectual tradition characterized by an emphasis on the border, community activism, and working-class history.

  • The course Mexican Women in Historical Perspective: Pre-Columbian to 1848 becomes part of the department’s standard course offerings and the first of its kind to address gender. Dr. Adelaida R. Del Castillo creates the course. In 1972, a survey course on Chicanas was offered, but not integrated into the standard curriculum. This course was created and taught by Sonia A. Lopez.


  • The department changes its name from Mexican American Studies to the Department of Chicana and Chicano Studies (CCS) and addresses gender studies and the recruitment of tenure-track women faculty. Dr. María Ibarra is hired for her expertise in immigration and migrant women workers.


  • The department, with chair Dr. Richard Griswold Del Castillo, initiates one of three existing Chicana/o graduate programs in the nation. The CCS master’s program is the only one with an emphasis on borderlands and gender studies.


  • Dr. Adelaida R. Del Castillo becomes first woman elected chair of the department, and a record number of women are tenured and hired as tenure-track faculty during this decade. The following year, she also creates CCS340A: Mexican Women in Historical Perspective: Pre-Columbian to 1848 and 340B: Chicano Women’s History: 1848-Present, further integrating gender issues into the Department’s course offerings.

  • Gracia Molina de Pick endows the department with the Gracia Molina Enriquez de Pick Endowed Scholarship for Chicana/Latina/Indigenous Feminist Research and Programming. The gift is intended “to support action research for the development of feminist, community-oriented, socially responsible, engaged scholars and leaders.”

  • The Chicana/o Archive at SDSU’s Love Library is established to house the personal papers, art, and other materials of civil rights activists, especially from San Diego. This is an invaluable resource for students and scholars who want to tell the story of Chicana/o activism for social change. Meetings by CCS faculty and community members to establish the archive begin in the fall of 2007.


  • The department formalizes the inclusion of transborder content and practices in graduate and undergraduate courses, including inviting guest artists and speakers from Tijuana to SDSU and giving courses in Tijuana in collaboration with Mexican universities, cultural centers, and non-governmental organizations. Some examples of these courses include CCS 375: US/Mexico Border History, CCS 310: Mexican and Chicano Music, CCS 498: Internship in US-Mexico Border, and CCS 595: US/Mexico Border Field Experience.


  • Dr. Norma Iglesias Prieto, CCS Chair, continues to develop a borderlands emphasis and initiates the U.S.-Mexico Borderlands Visiting Scholar Program.


  • Members of The National Association for Chicana and Chicano Studies file amicus curiae brief in support of Ethnic Studies in Arizona and CCS faculty member, Dr. Roberto Hernández, helps to draft it.

  • The course Gender, Sex and Politics in Colonial Mexico is offered as counting toward the LGBTQ major. CCS faculty member Dr. Victoria González-Rivera creates it.


  • Students in Dr. Norma Iglesias Prieto’s Special Topics course CCS 499: Border Exigencies. Art, and Activism, develop and produce the multimedia art project “Otro Mundo Nos Espera/Another World Awaits Us.” This project is developed jointly with the Cognate Collective and the Museum of Contemporary Art in San Diego and exhibited at the Museum of Contemporary Art in January of 2018.

  • Dr. Michael Domínguez initiates applied research in local elementary schools through the course CCS 480: Chicanas and Chicanos and the Schools, exemplifying the department’s emphasis on practices for social change.


  • Dr. Roberto Hernández initiates a new collaborative relationship between the department and the Centro Cultural de la Raza, including teaching a course there and collaborating on CCS 50th anniversary activities.

  • Dr. Adela de la Torre is the first Chicana elected as President of SDSU. She chooses the Department of Chicana and Chicano Studies as one of her home departments.


  • Dr.  María Ibarra serves as chair – and with support of faculty – leads department in new era of growth characterized by academic and social justice-oriented concerns, emphasizing life on the borderlands, the expressive arts, and community service.

Since 1969, thousands of students have taken classes, and many have gone on to careers serving our communities or to graduate programs. Some examples include Allison Bernardino, Thomas Carrasco, Miguel Angel Castañeda, Guadalupe Corona, Elvia Estrella, Hugo Gonzalez, Gibran Guido, Valentina Hernandez, Ady Huertas, Ron Gochez, Maria Mendez, Jesus Mendez Carbajal, Ricardo Lara, Mara Osuna, Laura Padilla, Gregorio Pantoja, Aurelio Salazar Jr., Sara Solaimani, Nancy Valdivia, Tiana Vargas, Celinda Vazquez, Paula Timmerman Romero, and Holly Utsunomiya.


Please join the community as we celebrate all year long with presentations by civic activists, academics, writers, poets, and artists.

As we embark on this anniversary celebration, your input is appreciated.

Were you a CCS student? What are you doing now and how did Chicana/o Studies help you get there? Do you have pictures or memorabilia associated with the CCS department?

Please share your story and photos with us at [email protected].