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On June 9, 1909, less than four months after the completion of the record-setting world cruise of the Great White Fleet, Secretary of the Navy George von L. Meyer signed General Order No. 27, establishing a School of Marine Engineering at Annapolis, Maryland. This small program, consisting of 10 officer students and two Navy instructors, would later become today's Naval Postgraduate School.
Within three years, Meyer agreed to a proposal to change the school. On October 31, 1912, he signed Navy General Order No. 233, which renamed the school the Postgraduate Department of the Naval Academy. The order established courses of study in Ordnance and Gunnery, Electrical Engineering Radio Telegraphy, Naval construction, and Civil Engineering as well as continuing the original program in Marine Engineering. With the additional curricula, enrollment increased to 25 students.
The Naval Postgraduate School moved to Monterey in 1942. Before World War II, one of the finest luxury hotels in North America, the Hotel Del Monte, occupied the present site of the Naval Postgraduate School. From the time railroad pioneer Charles Crocker first opened the hotel in June 1880, it was an immediate success. Fire completely destroyed the hotel in 1887, but the second Hotel Del Monte rose promptly at the same location and was more splendid than its predecessor. In the early morning of September 27, 1924, fire again devastated the central wooden structure of the hotel. Reconstruction was again immediate and the more modern building continued to make the Del Monte one of the showplaces of the world.
By this time, Samuel F.B. Morse, the president of the Del Monte Properties Company, had acquired the hotel and began developing the Del Monte as a "sports empire" where guests could enjoy playing golf, polo, tennis, swimming, yachting and deep-sea fishing. Coined "the most elegant seaside resort in the world," the hotel played host to world leaders, dignitaries, American presidents, film stars and famous artists until 1942, when it was taken over by the U.S. Navy and used as a pre-flight school for aviators.
By the end of World War II, it had become apparent that the facilities of the Naval Postgraduate School at the Naval Academy would be insufficient for the Navy's future needs. In 1945, Congress passed legislation to make the school a fully-accredited, degree-granting graduate institution. Two years later, Congress authorized the purchase of the Hotel Del Monte and 627 acres of surrounding land for use as an independent campus for the school.
In December 1951, the Naval Postgraduate School moved across the nation establishing its current campus in Monterey, California. The coast-to-coast move involved 500 students, about 100 faculty and staff and thousands of pounds of books and research equipment. Rear Admiral Ernest Edward Herrmann supervised the move that pumped new vitality into the Navy's efforts to advance naval science and technology.
The main building of the former Hotel Del Monte, now Herrmann Hall, houses the principal administrative offices of the Naval Postgraduate School. The academic quadrangle was built incrementally after the school officially opened for business in 1951. The most recent additions include the renovation of the library (more than doubling its usable space), the new academic building - Glasgow Hall, and the new Mechanical Engineering Building. In 2006, a $35 million renovation of the two wings of Herrmann Hall was completed, providing 140 new Bachelor Officers' Quarters (BOQ) rooms for the school's international officers and their families for temporary residency while they establish themselves in permanent living facilities. In 2009, the year the Naval Postgraduate School celebrates its centennial, marking 100 years of excellence in education. Herrmann Hall will also begin a series of renovations and refurbishments, restoring the building's early 20th century charm in a tribute to its historic past.
NPS historical information is courtesy of the Naval Postgraduate School (www.nps.edu)
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