In the Beginning
Its Presbyterian roots. Its early financial struggles. The fire that destroyed its Boyle Heights campus. The perseverance of a school to realize its destiny. Occidental’s early history has the makings of a graphic novel—and who better to tell that story than Oxy’s oldest inhabitants?
The date was September 20, 1887. The time: 10 a.m. As the Los Angeles Times reported, “The exercises attendant upon the laying of the cornerstone of the new Occidental University—an institution of learning founded under the direction of the Presbyterian Church—took place at Boyle Heights … upon the site selected for the proposed new edifice. A large number of persons were present at the ceremonies, which were of an extremely solemn and impressive nature.”
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