One thing that makes Cal State Monterey Bay different from any other campus in the country is our location. Not only are we just one mile from the beach, we are on the site of a former Army base.
Going to school on an old Army base can be pretty cool. For example, the Visual & Public Art Department has made an amazing studio and gallery space out of old airplane hangars. And the residence hall rooms are much bigger than the average dorm room because they are in remodeled officers quarters. You'll find many bits and pieces of this history all over campus – unique and surprising reminders of Monterey Bay's military past.
On the down side, there are old, unused Army buildings along the roads just off campus that have not yet been demolished. Getting rid of these buildings is a top priority for us, but these things take time and money. Rest assured, the university leadership is working hard on it.
What was Fort Ord?
In its heyday, Fort Ord was the primary facility for basic training for the Army. Approximately 1.5 million men and women – including such luminaries as Clark Gable, Clint Eastwood, and Jimi Hendrix – had received their basic training at Fort Ord. At its peak, more than 35,000 people lived and worked on the base.
If you are interested in more of Fort Ord's history, check out Fortording.com.
The continued legacy
When the base closed, a group of military veterans formed the Fort Ord Alumni Association to support the university's mission while preserving the memory of Fort Ord. They provide scholarships to current students, particularly veterans, among other activities, and we're grateful for their support.