Brief Guide to the Master Plan

In the Spring of 1960, the California Legislature passed the Donahoe Act placing in statute a number of components of the California Master Plan for Higher Education -- a major effort to plan the future of the state's pioneering system of public higher education. But California's Master Plan is more than a single statute passed in 1960. As the following guide to historical documents outlines, the 1960 Master Plan is embodied in a series of documents:

1. A study completed by the Master Plan Survey Team in early 1960, and approved by the State Board of Education and the University of California Board of Regents
2. The Donahoe Act placing in statute a number of key components of the proposed plan
3. A constitutional amendment allowing for the establishment of the California State Colleges Board of Trustees (what was renamed the California State University by 1974)

The Master Plan also included some sixty agreements amongst the higher education community and with the state legislature and the governor's office. Each was intended to help guide the expansion of California's tripartite higher education system. By 1960, California was already the largest network of public higher education institutions in terms of enrollment, and had been a pioneer in creating a coherent network of public institutions. Today, this tripartite system includes the California Community Colleges, the California State University, and the University of California.

Heart of the Master Plan Chart
Biographical Glossary


Master Plan Survey Team
Credit: California State University Archives


Signing of the Donahoe Act
Credit: California State Library