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A New President and an Economic Crisis

The Debate over Admissions


Research and Economic Growth

New Directions for Outreach

Tidal Wave II and New Approaches to Admission

Achievement versus Aptitude


The University Past and Present

University of California Campuses

Presidents of the University of California

Chief Campus Officers and Chancellors of the University of California


Chapter 41: University of California Campuses


UC Berkeley was a founding member in 1900 of the Association of American Universities, established to advance the quality and standing of American doctoral institutions. In the century since then, the University's oldest campus has soared to the pinnacle of American higher education by just about any measure. Its faculty includes 127 members of the National Academy of Sciences, 101 members of the National Academy of Engineering, 18 Nobel Prize winners, and a U.S. Poet Laureate. UCB's nine-million-volume library is among the largest in the United States. Eighty museums, from the Phoebe Hearst Museum of Anthropology to the Museum of Vertebrate Zoology, house collections in a wide range of disciplines.

UC Berkeley's 29,000 students can choose from among 103 undergraduate programs, and the campus offers 163 graduate and 45 professional degrees. Student life is lively and varied, with many opportunities for undergraduates to become involved in exciting research with Berkeley's internationally distinguished faculty through the Undergraduate Research Apprentice Program and other activities. UC Berkeley's alumni have been leaders in every profession and in every walk of life.

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Although next door to Sacramento and within easy reach of the San Francisco Bay Area, Davis takes pride in its small-town ambience; the bicycle is ubiquitous in this friendly and close-knit university community. Davis combines a distinguished faculty and excellent facilities for teaching and research.

Established as the University Farm in 1905, Davis was organized as a branch of the College of Agriculture in 1922. A School of Veterinary Medicine opened in 1948 and the College of Letters and Science in 1951. Eight years later, Davis was authorized as a general campus of the University. The School of Law held its first classes in 1966, followed by the School of Medicine in 1968 and the Graduate School of Management in 1981.

While continuing to be one of the world's leading centers for agricultural, biological, and environmental teaching and research, UCD in recent years has also won high praise for its offerings in the arts, humanities, social sciences, and the professions. The campus's academic quality was formally recognized in 1996 with an invitation to join the prestigious Association of American Universities.

The cultural diversity of the campus is enriched by the presence of many students from foreign countries. Davis's devotion to teaching is reflected in its $30,000 Prize for Teaching and Scholarly Achievement, believed to be the largest award of its kind in the country.

Among Davis's off-campus facilities are the Lake Tahoe Center for Environmental Research, the Veterinary Medicine Teaching and Research Center in Tulare, the Bodega Marine Laboratory on the Pacific Ocean at Bodega Bay, the College of Engineering's applied science department at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, and the UC Davis Medical Center in Sacramento. The Medical Center, essential to health care in the Sacramento area, has achieved special recognition for trauma care and for the most extensive telemedicine network in the country. The Center has been long recognized for its excellence in training family practitioners.

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The Irvine campus opened in the fall of 1965 on 1,510 acres of Orange County ranch land three miles from the Pacific Ocean. The architect for the site, William Pereira, designed the campus as a series of concentric rings with a park at its center. In his architectural plan, Pereira saw UCI as the heart of a "city of intellect" that would grow with the surrounding community.

Founding Chancellor Daniel G. Aldrich Jr. envisioned Irvine as a land-grant university for the twenty-first century, expanding the agricultural mandate of the land-grant era into new forms of service for an urban society. UCI's pioneering School of Social Ecology, for example, is now a national model for interdisciplinary education and research focused on community problem solving. The campus's first academic plan provided for Divisions of Biological Sciences, Fine Arts, Humanities, Physical Sciences, and Social Sciences, as well as a School of Engineering and a Graduate School of Management.

UCI was dubbed the "instant university" for the speed with which it blossomed into a full-fledged institution of learning; its original enrollment of 1,589 has swelled to more than 23,000 undergraduate, graduate, and professional students.

It now offers sixty-one undergraduate majors, as well as fifty-eight graduate and three professional programs. In 1995, UCI became the first public university to have two faculty members in different disciplines—chemistry and physics—awarded Nobel Prizes in the same year. In 1996, UC Irvine joined the ranks of the nation's top universities as a member of the Association of American Universities.

The UCI Medical Center, Orange County's only university hospital, includes a world-class cancer center as well as outstanding services in trauma and burn treatment, minimally invasive surgery, and neurological disease. The University Research Park is a realization of Aldrich's and Pereira's vision of UC Irvine as a magnet for scientists and entrepreneurs whose partnership with the campus would create new knowledge for UCI and new technologies and jobs for its community.

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Los Angeles

UCLA, symbolized by the majestic towers of Royce Hall, ranks among the most distinguished universities in the United States.

In 1919 Governor William D. Stephens signed legislation transfering the buildings and grounds of the Los Angeles State Normal School on North Vermont Avenue to the University. Six years later, the present site in Westwood (now 419 acres) was chosen by the Regents as the Los Angeles campus, and classes began there in 1929.

Within four years the campus expanded its undergraduate offerings to include advanced study; professional training came soon thereafter. But it was after World War II that UCLA, along with the vibrant city of which it is so important a part, began its fastest period of growth. Today UCLA serves almost 37,000 students—among them more than 24,000 undergraduates. The College of Letters and Science, with eleven programs ranked among the top ten in their fields, is the largest and most comprehensive in the UC system. UCLA's eleven professional schools provide graduate training in the health sciences, law, education, engineering, management, public policy, and the arts. The UCLA Medical Center, which serves more than 300,000 patients every year, is consistently ranked as the best hospital in the western United States.

UCLA is a major research and economic engine for Southern California. The campus ranks third among colleges and universities in the United States in federal support for research and development; at any given time, more than 5,000 funded research projects are being conducted on campus. UCLA's academic excellence is reflected in its 1974 election to the Association of American Universities and the five Nobel Prize winners who have been members of its faculty.

Like Los Angeles itself, UCLA is one of the most diverse communities in the nation and a vital partner in the life of the surrounding city. It serves as a hub for culture, athletics, and lifelong learning. The campus offers acclaimed year-round programs of visual and performing arts. Its men's and women's varsity sports teams have won more national championships than those at any other American university. UCLA Extension, with 4,500 courses presented every year and an enrollment of more than 100,000, is the world's largest provider of nondegree higher education.

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Located in the San Joaquin Valley in the shadow of the magnificent Sierra Nevada, UC Merced is the University's youngest campus and the first major American research university of the twenty-first century. It is also the first UC campus in the San Joaquin Valley, with a special focus on serving the Valley's 3.5 million residents from Stockton to Bakersfield.

The campus is set on 2,000 scenic acres near Lake Yosemite; the remaining 5,000 acres will be kept as a natural reserve. Its founding Chancellor, Carol Tomlinson-Keasey, was appointed in 1999. UCM is expected to open in 2005 with an enrollment of 1,000 undergraduate and graduate students.

Planning and architecture for UC Merced will emphasize environmental friendliness and the use of digital technology to serve students and communities throughout the Central Valley. The campus will be organized around three academic divisions—engineering; natural sciences; and social sciences, humanities, and the arts. The first professional school will be the Ernest and Julio Gallo School of Management. The Leo and Dottie Kolligian Library, scheduled for opening in 2004, will be a state-of-the art facility housing both paper and digital collections.

UCM's first two research centers—the Sierra Nevada Research Institute and the World Cultures Institute—will use the diverse peoples of California and the ecosystems of the Central Valley and Sierra Nevada region as a laboratory for exploring issues of global import. Among those issues will be population growth and development, ecology, and the cultures and traditions that have made and remade California over its history.

UC Merced has already attracted support for fourteen endowed professorships and funding commitments from major foundations to help launch its academic programs.

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The Riverside campus began as the Citrus Experiment Station on twenty-three acres of land on Mount Rubidoux in 1907. Later renamed the Citrus Research Center and Agricultural Experiment Station, the school has been an invaluable source of research and training for California's young citrus industry. Work done at Riverside is credited with saving that industry for the state in the 1940s when the deadly tristeza virus hit.

In 1948 Governor Earl Warren, recognizing Southern California's burgeoning postwar demand for educational opportunity, signed legislation authorizing UC to open a campus at Riverside. A year later UCLA professor of economics Gordon S. Watkins was named Provost of the UCR campus, which was to focus on offering an undergraduate education equal to that of outstanding private liberal arts colleges. The first students—127 strong—were welcomed by the Provost and 65 faculty members in February of 1954.

UC Riverside was designated a general campus of the University in 1959, which meant that the campus could now develop graduate and professional programs. The College of Agriculture opened in 1960, followed by the Dry Lands Research Institute and Air Pollution Research Center a year later. The campus's best-known landmark, the Carillon Tower, was dedicated in 1966, and its musical voice still rings over the campus. UCR professional schools include the A. Gary Anderson Graduate School of Management, the Bourns School of Engineering, and the Graduate School of Education.

Today UC Riverside is a thriving and intellectually vital campus with a student body of nearly 16,000, the most diverse in the UC system. Students can choose from among sixty-four bachelor's degree programs and graduate disciplines leading to forty-four master's and thirty-six Ph.D. degrees. To its reputation for superb undergraduate education, UCR has added growing scholarly and scientific distinction.

The Citrus Research Center and Agricultural Experiment Station is known throughout the world for its contributions to subtropical and arid agriculture. UCR's leadership in entomology, which includes experts in biological control, pesticide use, and genetic engineering of insects, is also tied to its agricultural roots. The campus is on the cutting edge of entomological research and is home to a unique new Insectory and Quarantine facility that permits the safe study of exotic organisms from around the world.

UCR ranks at the top among institutions with the most faculty members elected annually as fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.

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San Diego

The San Diego campus traces its origin to the closing years of the nineteenth century when zoologists at Berkeley set out to establish a marine station on the Pacific. In 1903, the Marine Biological Association was established at La Jolla. Nine years later it was made a part of the University as the Scripps Institution for Biological Research, which ultimately became the world-famous Scripps Institution of Oceanography.

In the late 1950s, the Regents approved a general campus at San Diego, with Scripps as the nucleus. Famed oceanographer Roger Revelle led the recruitment of founding faculty such as the Nobel Prize-winning chemist Harold Urey, future Nobelist Maria Mayer, and many members of the National Academy of Sciences.

At first, only graduate studies and degrees in the physical sciences were offered. In the fall of 1964 the campus opened for undergraduates. A special feature of the new campus, and one of its continuing strengths, is its residential college structure. Undergraduates complete their general education requirements in one of six residential colleges and benefit from the personal staffing, academic guidance, and community support that only a small college can provide.

With an enrollment of more than 23,000 undergraduate, graduate, and professional students, UCSD is acknowledged to be the best institution of higher learning established in the U.S. since World War II. The campus was elected to membership in the Association of American Universities in 1982. Its faculty includes nine Nobel Laureates and one of the country's highest concentrations of members of the National Academies of Science, Engineering, and Medicine. UCSD is fifth nationally, and first in the UC system, in federal R&D expenditures, attracting annual research awards of more than $550 million.

The campus is a leader in many fields, including neurosciences, biological sciences, chemistry, theater, political science, and engineering. UCSD houses unique international resources such as the San Diego Supercomputer Center and the Center for U.S.-Mexican Studies.

UCSD's graduate schools include the Jacobs School of Engineering, the School of International Relations and Pacific Studies, and a Graduate Management School that opened in 2003. UCSD is home to a School of Medicine, a School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, an innovative M.D.-Ph.D. program, and two hospitals.

The campus is situated on 1,200 spectacular acres of coastal woodland bordering the Pacific.

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San Francisco

The second-oldest campus of the University, San Francisco is the only one devoted exclusively to the health sciences. Hugh Toland, a leading practitioner in Gold Rush San Francisco, founded the Toland Medical College in 1864; it became the University's Medical Department in 1873, the same year the University also acquired the California College of Pharmacy. In 1881 a School of Dentistry was added—the first west of the Mississippi—followed by a School of Nursing in 1906. From a makeshift hospital set up in Golden Gate Park after the 1906 earthquake, the UCSF Medical Center has grown to become one of the finest in the nation.

UCSF's Mission Bay campus, situated on forty-three acres donated by the Catellus Development Corporation and the City and County of San Francisco, will open groundbreaking opportunities for collaborative, interdisciplinary research on the fundamental processes that underlie all forms of life. Mission Bay's advantages—UCSF's scientific excellence and leadership in biomedical research, the proximity of industry partners, and its location in one of the great cities of the world—make it the nation's most exciting new center for investigation into the life sciences.

UCSF is distinguished by many pathbreaking achievements. In the 1970s, UCSF researchers collaborated with colleagues at Stanford University on the development of recombinant DNA techniques. Their astonishing breakthrough created the biotechnology industry and made the San Francisco Bay Area a world leader in biotechnology: some sixty biotechnology firms trace their origin to UC San Francisco.

Professor—later Chancellor—J. Michael Bishop and Professor Harold Varmus were awarded the 1989 Nobel Prize in Medicine for their discovery that normal cellular genes can be converted to cancer genes. Professor Stanley Prusiner won a 1997 Nobel Prize for his work on prions, an infectious agent responsible for a variety of neurodegenerative diseases. Other UCSF firsts include the development of prenatal tests for sickle-cell anemia, the development of a genetically engineered hepatitis B vaccine and synthetic human insulin to treat diabetes, and the first successful surgery on a baby still in the mother's womb.

UCSF includes 19 research institutes, 1,900 laboratories, more than 3,000 research projects, and a state-of-the-art library. Long ranked as a premier center for research, training, and patient care, UCSF is also a leader in attracting government and private research funds.

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Santa Barbara

The Santa Barbara campus is located on 989 acres overlooking the Pacific Ocean ten miles up the coast from the city of Santa Barbara, with the dramatic Santa Ynez Mountains in the background.

Santa Barbara State College became a campus of the University in 1944 and was known as Santa Barbara College. A decade later, it was moved to the present site near Goleta, and in 1958 the College was authorized as a general campus of the University.

Today UCSB enrolls just under 20,000 undergraduate and graduate students. Its College of Letters and Science, the campus's largest, offers more than ninety majors. The College of Creative Studies gives talented undergraduates opportunities to do advanced, independent work in the arts and sciences. Engineering education in a variety of fields through the doctoral level is provided by the College of Engineering, and the Gevirtz Graduate School of Education includes a teacher credential program and advanced degrees in education. The Donald Bren School of Environmental Science and Management—the University's first multicampus professional school—is unique in its interdisciplinary approach to environmental problems and policy.

The campus administers the university-wide Education Abroad Program, which since its founding in 1962 has given more than 40,000 UC students the opportunity to study at 140 institutions in thirty-four countries.

UC Santa Barbara's rise to national prominence is reflected in its 1995 election to the Association of American Universities, which comprises leading universities in the United States and Canada. In 1998, the Institute for Scientific Information placed the campus among the top ten national universities for the quality of scientific research by its faculty, based on the rate of citation by other scholars.

UCSB is the site of eight national centers and institutes, including the Kavli Institute for Theoretical Physics, the National Center for Ecological Analysis and Synthesis, and the Center for Middle East Studies. And it is home to three Nobel Laureates—two selected in the same year—and to many members of the National Academy of Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, the National Endowment for the Humanities, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

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Santa Cruz

Located on a redwood-studded 2,000-acre site overlooking Monterey Bay, the Santa Cruz campus was planned by architect John Carl Warnecke and landscape architect Thomas Church to make the most of its superb natural setting. UCSC admitted its first class of 652 students in the fall of 1965. Today the campus enrolls more than 14,000 students who can choose from fifty-six majors in the humanities, natural sciences, engineering, social sciences, and arts. Graduate degrees are offered in twenty-seven academic fields and in engineering.

UCSC's residential colleges combine the advantages of living and learning in a small college setting with the scholarly resources of a large research university. Cowell College opened in 1965. Over the years, nine other residential colleges have been added, most recently College Ten, which opened in the fall of 2002. A distinctive aspect of undergraduate education at UC Santa Cruz is the practice of giving students written assessments of their performance in addition to letter grades.

Graduate study began in 1966 with programs in astronomy, biology, and history of consciousness and quickly expanded to include fields ranging from environmental studies to philosophy. UCSC's first professional school, the Jack Baskin School of Engineering, opened in 1997.

The campus has established the UC Silicon Valley Center at NASA Ames to advance research partnerships, expand higher education-industry collaborations, and increase student access.

UC Santa Cruz is headquarters for the University of California Observatories/Lick Observatory, the national Center for Adaptive Optics, and the Laboratory for Adaptive Optics. It is home to a branch of the Institute of Geophysics and Planetary Physics, a multicampus research unit devoted to exploring the origin, structure, and evolution of the Earth, the solar system, and the universe. The Santa Cruz Institute for Particle Physics focuses on theoretical and experimental projects concerning fundamental interactions of matter.

The Institute of Marine Sciences sponsors the Center for Ocean Health, performing research in coastal marine biology, paleoceanography, and many other areas. The New Teacher Center has developed a nationally recognized model for teacher training. The Center for Global, International, and Regional Studies takes an interdisciplinary approach to complex economic, social, and political issues.

The excellence of the campus's teaching and research has been recognized by many measures. UCSC students and alumni have won National Science Foundation fellowships, Fulbrights, Mellon Foundation Fellowships in the Humanities, and other prestigious awards in numbers far out of proportion to the size of the campus.

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The Regents of the University of California. All rights reserved.
Last updated 03/18/06.