The need for another general campus of the University in northern California was first indicated publicly in 1957. The "South Central Coast" counties were designated as the appropriate region and were approved by the Regents in October, 1957. In March, 1961, the 2,000-acre Cowell Ranch site overlooking Monterey Bay was chosen. The following July, Dean E. McHenry was appointed chancellor and the campus received a general allocation of functions in the University-wide academic plan.
In February, 1962, a physical master planning design team, headed by John Carl Warnecke, architect, and Thomas D. Church, landscape architect, was selected. The resulting long range development plan was accepted by the Regents in September, 1963.