When the people of Santa Rosa were asked to vote favorably on the formation of a junior college district, one of the inducements offered was the possibility of a cost-free campus. For many years, a 40-acre piece of land just north of Santa Rosa High School had lain idle. The area, covered with beautiful oak trees and a great variety of wildflowers was a favorite spot of the great horticulturalist Luther Burbank, who used the grounds for many botanizing projects. Half of the 40-acre parcel was owned by the Santa Rosa Chamber of Commerce, the other half by the City of Santa Rosa. The plan had been when it was purchased to develop a park there in memory of Mr. Burbank. Money for development of the park had not been forthcoming, however, and with the exception of a few walkways and two restrooms, the property was in its natural state. The Board of Trustees, convinced that this was an ideal campus site, [obtained] Mrs. Burbank's permission and, through the donated legal efforts of Mr. Tauzer, set about acquiring the land.
After untangling the legal problems of transfer of the campus property, the 40 acres were transferred from the Santa Rosa Chamber of Commerce and the City of Santa Rosa in September 1930. In accepting the property from the two public agencies, the Board of Trustees made a commitment to the public that no buildings would be erected closer than 350 feet from Mendocino Avenue. This would [ensure] a park-like vista which would overcome the objections of those people who felt the 40-acres should remain as Burbank Park.
-- From Santa Rosa Junior College 1918-1957: A Personal History, by Floyd P. Bailey.
Donor Paul Pasero was at the groundbreaking of Burbank Park on September 22, 1921. He is pictured in the front center of the photograph with Luther Burbank directly behind him. The Pasero Shovel is located on the 4th Floor of Doyle Library, on the Luther Burbank Specimen Cabinet.