Considered one of the founding fathers of Sonoma State University, George E. McCabe was chair of the Education and Psychology
Division. His commitments extended to national and state commissions, civil rights activism, and politics. The collection
is comprised of papers related to the university and other professional endeavors, including McCabe’s doctoral thesis, speeches,
editorials, educational materials, and case studies. Documentation related to a McCabe's 1964 political campaign for a Congressional
seat is included.
George Elwood McCabe (1919-1996) is often referred to as one of the founding fathers of Sonoma State University. He was born
and grew up in the Napa Valley region of California. McCabe earned a B.A. degree from U.C. Berkeley. He earned his doctorate
in Education from Columbia University and studied law at Boalt Hall (UC Berkeley). In addition to being a Professor of Psychology
at SSU, he taught at the University of California and San Francisco State College.
Prior to WWII, McCabe worked in the private sector. After the war, he took an administrative post with the California Youth
Authority. In 1956 no institution of higher education existed between San Rafael, Calif. and Humboldt County, Calif. That
year, McCabe established the California State College San Francisco Extended Education Program in Santa Rosa, Calif. Four
years later, the program moved to a building designed by McCabe and the California State College, Sonoma was created, operating
as a full-fledged, four-year institution.
In the 1970’s CSU Chancellor Glenn S. Dumke appointed McCabe to an exploratory statewide Commission on External Degrees.
As a result of McCabe’s research and efforts, the CSU External Degree Program was born and named the “Thousand Mile Campus”.
It is the largest extended education program ever developed. Chancellor Dumke named McCabe founding Executive Director.
McCabe also participated in numerous civic activities. He was a member of the Board of Directors of the Sonoma County Family
Service Association, served on the Board of the Community Health Association of Northern California and was the Regional Consultant
for the Governor’s Advisory Committee on Children and Youth. In 1964 he ran, unsuccessfully, for a seat in the U.S. Congress.
In 1971, McCabe was instrumental in the passage of State Senator Randolph Collier’s bill which established a student fee for
Instructionally Related Activities (IRA).
McCabe founded SSU’s first assistance program for disadvantaged students and was known to reach into his own pocket to help
them. In 1959, he and his wife Carol made national news for adopting Melba Beals, one of the Little Rock Nine, whose life
had been threatened by the Ku Klux Klan. McCabe was named Professor Emeritus upon his retirement in 1990. He died in 1996.