Pioneering efforts

There’s a local angle to the story of Sir Edmund Hillary, the New Zealander who died Jan. 11, and who — with mountain guide Tenzing Norgay — reached the summit of Mt. Everest on May 29, 1953.

When then-California State University, Hayward, was planning its hilltop campus in the late 1950s and 1960s, the “pioneer” was selected as the college’s mascot. Astronauts in the U.S. space program were one inspiration. Hillary was, too. The main road leading into the campus, from Mission Boulevard, was named “Hillary Street.”

Hayward Assemblyman Carlos Bee was a major force behind Cal State’s location in his home community. Bee died in 1974. The next year, the Hayward City Council voted to change the name of Hillary Street in memory of the legislator. The name change to Carlos Bee Boulevard took effect in 1976.