Cain, Leo F.

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Dr. Leo F. Cain was the founding President of California State University, Dominguez Hills. Previously he was a Vice President of San Francisco State College. He graduated from Chico State College and Stanford University after having earned both his M.A. and Ph.D. He holds a school psychologists' credential, an administrative credential, and a California Life Diploma granted on general secondary and general elementary credentials. He began his professional career in the Oroville City Schools as an elementary school teacher and principal, then moved to the San Francisco Schools as a counselor and teacher of English and Social Science, and later taught at San Francisco Junior College as an instructor in Psychology. He then became a research associate with the American Council on Education, and served one summer at San Jose State College as a Professor of Psychology. Later he went to the University of Maryland as Assistant Professor and Lecturer in Educational Psychology, with emphasis on the problems of exceptional children, and from there moved into the Department of Justice in Washington D.C., as Director of Education in the National Training School for boys.

In the years 1943 and 1944 he was a Classification Officer with the United States Maritime Service. From 1944 to 1946 he was a training officer in the Corrective Services Division of the Bureau of Naval Personnel.

Following the war he returned to the University of Maryland as a lecturer; moved on to the University of Oklahoma, becoming Professor of Special Education and Educational Psychology, and from there was invited to come to San Francisco State College in 1947 as Director of Special Education. He then became Dean of Educational Services for the summer sessions of that institution, and in 1957 was elevated to the position of Vice President.

Dr. Cain has a distinguished list of associations with other colleges and universities, professional organizations, and community activities, and is the author of numerous publications.

As a psychologist, Cain created educational programs for teachers of both gifted and disadvantaged children. Cain was tapped in 1962 to head a design team for a new state college, originally planned for the Palos Verdes Peninsula. The campus opened in the fall of 1965 anticipating 400 students. Classes were held in Rolling Hills Estates bank building and the faculty was so small that Cain taught some courses.

Land values continued to soar on the peninsula, and the budget-strapped California State College University Board of Trustees soon settled on a 346-acre campus in Carson, overlooking, oil wells and tract housing. Cain fashioned a curriculum and administrative system stressing individuality and participation of students in planning, with flexible schedules enabling full-time employees to get college educations at night and on Saturdays. He also made provisions for accelerated completion of degrees and developed job-related programs leading to employment at graduation. By the time Cain retired in 1976, his new campus was a permanent fixture in the state university system, with 7,000 students. The enrollment today is 14,000.

From the guide to the Cain (Leo F.) Writings, 1948-2001, (1948-1997), (California State University, Dominguez Hills Archives and Special Collections)

Archival Resources
Role Title Holding Repository
creatorOf Cain (Leo F.) Writings, 1948-2001, (1948-1997) California State University, Dominguez Hills Archives and Special Collections
referencedIn California State University Dominguez Hills Master Planning / Site Selection Collection, 1958-1984 California State University, Dominguez Hills Archives and Special Collections
creatorOf CSUDH President's Office - Record Group: 20, Subgroup 1: Leo F. Cain Papers, 1962-1976 Department of Archives and Special Collections. University Library. California State Library, Dominguez Hills.
referencedIn California State University Archives Oral History Project Collection, 1987-2001 California State University Historical Archives California State University, Dominguez Hills
Role Title Holding Repository
Relation Name
associatedWith AAMD publication corporateBody
associatedWith Bustamante, Cruz M. 1953- person
associatedWith California State University, Dominguez Hills corporateBody
associatedWith California State University Historical Archives corporateBody
associatedWith California Teachers Association corporateBody
associatedWith Chamber of Commerce corporateBody
associatedWith Colorado State College corporateBody
associatedWith Consortium for International Cooperation in Higher Education corporateBody
associatedWith Council for Exceptional Children corporateBody
associatedWith El Camino College corporateBody
associatedWith Labani, Jafar person
associatedWith San Francisco State College corporateBody
associatedWith SREB conference (local) corporateBody
Place Name Admin Code Country
Palos Verdes Peninsula (Calif.)
San Francisco Bay Area (Calif.)
Washington (State)
Dominguez Hills (Calif.)




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