Hail Montezuma! The Hidden Treasures of San Diego State

Aztec Timeline: A Chronology of All Things San Diego State > 1970




Cleavon Little (class of 1965) receives a Tony award for best actor in the musical play Purlie. 

San Diego State founds the nation’s first Women’s Studies program.


San Diego State officially becomes a university.


Lee Ramage, who taught boxing at San Diego State for many years, is inducted into the San Diego Sports Hall of Fame.  He receives a congratulatory telegram from legendary heavyweight champion Joe Louis that says: “You gave me my toughest fight.”

Thirty SDSU students, upset over cuts in the Education Opportunity Program (EOP) and frustrated by the school’s purportedly weak affirmative action program, storm the administration building.  In protest, they throw rocks and break 75 windows, light smoke bombs, soak offices with fire hoses, tear ashtrays off the walls, and smash numerous pieces of furniture. (May 3, 1972)


Alumna Laurel Brassey is the first female to play on a men’s varsity team in college athletics.  After being a member of the men’s volleyball team at State, she will twice make the U.S. Women’s Olympic Volleyball Team.


Marion Ross (class of 1950) begins her most famous television role as Mrs. Cunningham on Happy Days.  It will run for 11 seasons.

Ted Giannoulas (class of 1976) makes his debut as radio station KGB’s mascot—the KGB Chicken.  The mascot’s popularity explodes; Giannoulas leaves KGB in 1979 and goes out on his own as “The San Diego Chicken.” (April 1974)


The Gay Student Union is established at SDSU.

Herman Edwards (class of 1975) returns a fumble—the “Miracle at the Meadowlands”—to win a legendary 1978 NFL game for the Philadelphia Eagles against the New York Giants.

Earl Gilliam (class of 1953) becomes the first African-American judge in the San Diego County and local federal courts; U.S. President Jimmy Carter nominates him for the United States District Court for the Southern District of California in 1979.


Alumnus Arnie Robinson wins Olympic gold in the long jump.

Carl Weathers (attended 1970) stars alongside Sylvester Stallone in the movie Rocky, winner of the Oscar Award for Best Picture.  His role as Apollo Creed is reprised in multiple sequels in 1979, 1982, and 1985.


California voters approve Proposition 13, which limits tax on real estate.  This legislation, along with the California Supreme Court ruling in Serrano v. Priest, greatly transforms the state financing of California public schools, including SDSU.


SDSU again expands with a satellite campus; this time in the north county.  By 1991, this campus evolves into its own entity, CSU San Marcos.