The department has grown from serving 50 disabled students to more than 1,300.
A small room in the University Student Union with one desk, one staff member and one secretary was all Disabled Student Services had when it first opened its doors to students at Cal State Long Beach.
Now, approaching its 40th anniversary, DSS Director David Sanfilippo, who has worked with DSS for 35 years, said a lot has changed.
“We grew, and we kept growing,” Sanfilippo said about the program, which was originally started as a student committee called Concerns for the Handicapped.
Over the years, he said DSS has grown to a department of 24 full-time and 30 part-time members and went from serving 50 to more than 1,300 students with disabilities.
“I look around my office here, and I have five people who have worked for me for over 20 years,” he said. “Most people have been here a long time. There’s a real commitment and a sense of making a difference in students lives.”
Since its inception, Sanfilippo said DSS has evolved constantly to meet the changing needs of students on campus.