The Roman Catholic Seminary of the Archdiocese of San Francisco at Mountain View opened its doors under the patronage of St. Joseph of Cupertino in September 1924. St. Joseph's College as it was called for over 44 years, had its foundations in St. Patrick's Seminary in Menlo Park. The Preparatory Seminary of the Archdiocese of San Francisco had been founded by Archbishop William Patrick Riordan. On September 20, 1898, St. Patrick's Preparatory Seminary opened its doors to thirty students. Year by year the number grew until the College wing was filled and the overflow of students had to be housed in the neighboring Coleman mansion. The Major Seminary, the existence of which was made possible by the success of the Preparatory Seminary, began its work in 1903. Its expansion kept pace with the growth of the Preparatory Seminary, In 1920, Archbishop Edward Joseph Hanna saw that he must provide on a vaster scale than his predecessor had done for the education of the young aspirants to the priesthood. Thus St. Joseph's College came into being.
For $150,000, the Archbishop purchased 1,000 acres a few miles to the south of Mountain View and about the same distance from Los Altos in the foothills of the Santa Cruz Mountain Range at the elevation of four hundred feet.