History of SCU
A horseless carriage (one of the few) “sped” down mud and brick roads. A pioneer fervor dominated the thinking of progressive civic leaders. Los Angeles, “The City of the Angels,” was a bustling city of 319,000 inhabitants. Movies were still in their infancy, still silent.
In this milieu, Dr. Charles Cale and his wife, Linnie, committed themselves to disseminate the knowledge of a little known, yet ancient, healing art chiropractic. Dr. Cale sought to formalize the training of chiropractic physicians.
By 1911, when modern chiropractic was only 16 years into its history, Dr. Cale applied for and received a charter for Los Angeles College of Chiropractic (LACC). The Cales began the first classes in their home, a nine-month course of study that included anatomy, chiropractic principles and technique.
Eleven years later, the College moved to larger and more modern facilities. The curriculum covered 18 months of study. During this period, it absorbed the Eclectic College of Chiropractic, a progressive, yet fledgling, school with a five-year history.
The Chiropractic Initiative Act of 1922 established legal requirements for chiropractic education, California licensure guidelines and the first board of chiropractic examiners. All of this served as the catalyst for enhanced academic programs and accelerated growth at LACC.
The next 28 years were marked with continued curricular improvements and material expansion. During that time, LACC acquired many institutions, including Golden State College of Chiropractic; Dr. Cale’s second school, Cale Chiropractic College; College of Chiropractic Physicians and Surgeons; Southern California College of Chiropractic; Hollywood College of Chiropractic; California College of Chiropractic and the California College of Natural Healing Arts.
The course of study was extended to 32 months. In the late 1940s, a nonprofit corporation, the California Chiropractic Educational Foundation (CCEF) was organized. It acquired several colleges, including LACC. As a holding company, CCEF created a new chiropractic college and retained the name Los Angeles College of Chiropractic. By 1950, the course of study had expanded to four years and the College moved to Glendale, California, consolidating its basic science subjects and chiropractic sciences into one comprehensive curriculum taught in one modern facility.
In the late 1970s, the Board of Regents moved the institution in a bold, new direction. Determined to assure the stability of a progressive chiropractic college, it sought professional educational administrators to develop academic planning, facility usage and economic independence. In three years, the Board had succeeded in creating one of the most responsive and responsible institutions in chiropractic education.
In November of 1981, LACC realized a dream-come-true when it purchased a new 38-acre campus in Whittier, California. The site provided room to expand and make way for increased enrollment, expanded curriculum and the development of health care services to the surrounding community. The addition of the innovative and progressive ADVANTAGE Program in September of 1990 placed LACC at the forefront of chiropractic education.
In this same decade, LACC became the first chiropractic program to obtain accreditation from the Western Association of Schools and Colleges (WASC) and was one of the first chiropractic institutions to obtain federal grant money for research.
The end of the 20th Century brought a major change to what had been LACC for the past 89 years. The College of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (CAOM) was added and the Southern California University of Health Sciences (SCU) was created to house both LACC and CAOM. This marked a turning point from an institution offering a single program to a multi-program university with plans of offering additional programs in what society has labeled alternative health sciences.
In 2020, the university continued to grow adding two new masters programs; Master of Science in Medical Science and a Master of Acupuncture and Chinese Medicine. In addition, the university was restructured to include LACC, Accelerated Sciences Division, Eastern Medicine Department, Ayurveda Department, IPE Department, Physician Assistant Program, and Health Science Program.
(A detailed account of the first 90 years of the institution and its personalities can be found in the publication “A History of Los Angeles College of Chiropractic,” available from the Southern California University of Health Sciences Department of Alumni and Development.)