California State University Monterey Bay opened in 1994 in Seaside, California. It is on a small part of the site of the former Fort Ord which closed the same year. CSUMB now has about 3,500 students, and the campus is still growing and developing parts of the old army fort.
Leon Panetta, a Monterey native and former White House Chief of Staff to Bill Clinton, was a strong proponent for the creation of CSUMB to help reduce the impact of loss of Fort Ord. He and his wife still live in the area, and they started the Leon & Sylvia Panetta Institute for Public Policy in 1998 on the CSUMB campus. Panetta is a professor at UC Santa Cruz and CSUMB.
Panetta was a member of the Iraq Study Group in 2006 which provided recommendations to President Bush on future courses of action in Iraq.
The former US Army installation called Fort Ord covers some 28,000 acres in the cities of Seaside, Marina, & Del Rey Oaks, as well as Monterey County. The area of the fort was first used by the army during the Civil War, and it became an official Army post in 1917. This was one of the Army's major training facilities for soldiers leaving for World War II and Vietnam, with an estimated 1.5 million soldiers trained here from the 40s to the 70s. In 1991 it was announced that Fort Ord would close, and its gates were shut in 1994.
Since closure, the base has been turned over to the local communities for redevelopment. The largest tenant of the old fort is Cal State University at Monterey Bay, while the area along the beach is now Fort Ord Dunes State Park. Other sections of the old base are being developed into community housing, retail, and hotel space. Many of the old structures from the 1940s are still standing on the base, and may be reused or removed over time. The largest area of the base will be preserved for native habitat conservation.
Fort Ord was named for Major General Edward Ord who served for the Union in the Civil War at such campaigns as Vicksburg, Richmond-Petersburg, and Appomattox when Lee surrendered. As a Lieutenant, Ord was stationed at what is now called the Presidio of Monterey in 1947 when California first became part of the US.
Perhaps the most famous soldier stationed at Fort Ord was California native and former mayor of Carmel, Clint Eastwood. He served here during the Korean War.