Two male students collecting oranges from the citrus trees outside of Steven G. Mihaylo Hall at Cal State Fullerton.

Students collect the oranges from the college’s small groves to donate to Share Our Selves, a local nonprofit serving the homeless.

Citrus farms once occupied Cal State Fullerton’s property. This heritage is memorialized with a small citrus grove next to Mihaylo College.

Cal State Fullerton may have been founded less than 60 years ago, but the property has a long history. In 1959, the State of California purchased the land, which was then occupied by acres of citrus groves, for the construction of the university. Years before, the first Valencia orchard in California, planted in 1880, stood between University Hall and the College of the Humanities.

Those days are long gone and today’s students have to travel to Riverside, some 30 miles to the east, to see working citrus farms. Yet there is a living testament to this heritage at Mihaylo College. On either side of the business school stand small citrus groves.

When the current business building was constructed in the late 2000s, the architects wanted to include the groves as a way of connecting the campus with the culture and history of the Southern California community that it serves.

Today, the groves share two purposes. Donors can sign up for the Orange Tree Sponsorship, which is $1,500 per tree, and have their name emblazoned on a plaque below a tree. Students collect the oranges each spring during Business Madness Week and donate them to Share Our Selves, a Costa Mesa-based homeless program, providing some of the county’s underprivileged residents with a source of nutritious vitamin C.

For more on the orange grove, contact Development and Alumni Relations Associate Amanda Leon’07 (public relations) at 657-278-7918 or amleon@fullerton.edu.

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