History & Milestones

In September 1891, Pasadena philanthropist Amos Throop rented the Wooster Block building in Pasadena for the purpose of establishing Throop University, the forerunner to Caltech. In November of that year, Throop University opened its doors with 31 students and a six-member faculty. Throop might have remained simply a good local school had it not been for the arrival in Pasadena of astronomer George Ellery Hale. The first director of the Mount Wilson Observatory, Hale became a member of Throop's board of trustees in 1907, and began molding the school into a first-class institution for engineering and scientific research and education.

By 1921, Hale had been joined by chemist Arthur A. Noyes and physicist Robert A. Millikan. These three men set the school, which by then had been renamed the California Institute of Technology, firmly on its new course. Millikan and his successors—Lee DuBridge, Harold Brown, Marvin Goldberger, Thomas Everhart, David Baltimore, and now Jean-Lou Chameau—have led the Institute to its current academic and scientific preeminence.