Mulvihill gains California urban planning honor


Jim Mulvihill, professor emeritus in geography at Cal State San Bernardino, has received the 2012 Distinguished Leadership Award from the California chapter of the American Planning Association.

Jim Mulvihill

Jim Mulvihill

The award, which comes on the heels of his Distinguished Service Award honor from APA’s Inland Empire Section, makes Mulvihill eligible to receive the association’s national service award to be announced next April.

“I’m thrilled to receive the award,” said Mulvihill. “It’s very satisfying to be recognized by colleagues in public and private sector planning.”  He is a certified urban planner, of which only 60 percent pass the required test.

Mulvihill joined the Inland Empire Section of the APA in 1981, which was the same year he began teaching at Cal State San Bernardino. It was a time, he recalls, when few academic programs at the college addressed urban issues. Mulvihill then began working to strengthen the presence of urban planning courses in the college curriculum.

He also joined the San Bernardino Chamber of Commerce, where he promoted development that took advantage of the great mountain views and landscape around the college. In 1984, he assembled a working paper that, he believed, would encourage better development in the area around Cal State San Bernardino. His aim was to visually enhance the campus and the I-215 corridor – a key entry point to the city. The paper was eventually presented to city leaders, who incorporated many of the plan’s proposals.

After developing and implementing a new master’s program in urban planning at CSUSB in the early 1990s, Mulvihill was named the IES-APA’s 1992 Planning Educator of the Year.

While the master’s program fell victim to a mid-1990s economic downturn and the lack of funding, Mulvihill’s devotion to the development of urban planning education persisted. Over the years, he has developed and taught CSUSB’s general education capstone course in urban environment, and he established the certificate program in urban planning.

“This program has provided students with planning interests a lead into their first job,” Mulvihill said.

Community involvement has been a priority for Mulvihill as well. In 2005, San Bernardino Mayor Patrick Morris appointed him to the city’s Planning Commission. He also has lobbied with local officials, written opinion columns in newspapers and worked with local residents to plan for new development in the Inland Empire.

For more information about Cal State San Bernardino, call the university’s Office of Public Affairs at (909) 537-5007 and visit