Known for: A Sacramento native and California state senator, Earl Desmond pushed through legislation to authorize Sacramento State College in 1947.
Background: The son of a police officer, Desmond attended Christian Brothers and Sacramento high schools. In his first year at Santa Clara University, he left to enlist in World War I. He earned his degree in 1932 from McGeorge School of Law. Two years later, he was elected to the state Assembly from Sacramento, and in 1944 was elected a state senator. His SB 1221 authorizing "a four-year institution of higher education" was passed and signed by Gov. Earl Warren in July 1947. The college originally shared quarters with Sacramento Junior College -- now Sacramento City College. A permanent site was chosen on the banks of the American River at 6000 J St., where classes started in February 1953.
A highlight: In 1991, the senator's children, grandchildren and great-grandchildren gathered for the dedication of a new CSUS residence hall named in his honor.
In History's Spotlight profiles of Sacramento newsmakers were published originally in 2007 to commemorate the 150th anniversary of The Sacramento Bee. They were written by Anthony Sorci. Look for them every Sunday in Sac History Happenings.