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<Master Plan for Higher Education in California. The original 1960 plan and subsequent reviews authorized by the Legislature or state agencies.

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Last updated 02/25/10



The Master Plan was unanimously approved in principle at a joint meeting of the Regents of the University of California and the State Board of Education on December 18, 1959. The completed report was transmitted to the California Legislature on February 1, 1960. Governor Edmund G. (Pat) Brown called a special session of the Legislature in early 1960 to consider the Master Plan recommendations. The Master Plan report recommended adoption of a constitutional amendment containing many of its key provisions, but the Legislature opted instead to adopt a statute incorporating many of the Master Plan's main provisions. Senate Bill 33 by Senator George Miller was signed into law by Governor Brown on April 27, 1960. He called it "the most significant step California has ever taken in the planning for the education of our youth." Read April 27, 1960 news accounts from the San Francisco Examiner, the Los Angeles Times (pdf), and the Sacramento Bee. It appears from the news accounts and other sources that the signing ceremony may have occurred on April 26th but the official legislative history and chaptered bill show that the Governor signed the bill on April 27, 1960.

Assemblywoman Dorothy Donahoe, chair of the Assembly Education Committee, passed away on April 4, 1960. She had authored the resolution (ACR 88) calling for the creation of the Master Plan and had been instrumental in the subsequent negotiations leading to its successful adoption. Thus, the Legislature honored her memory by renaming the Master Plan legislation the Donahoe Higher Education Act.

In should be noted that a number of key features of the Master Plan were never enacted into statute and that many of the current provisions of the Donahoe Higher Education Act are not thought of as being part of the Master Plan.

However, a main feature of the Master Plan are the functions and responsibilities assigned to the segments of higher education in their mission statements: