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University of California

The University of California (UC) is a public university system within the State of California. It has a combined student body of more than 191,000 students and over 1,340,000 living alumni. The first campus was founded in 1868 in the city of Oakland, while the tenth and newest campus is schedule to open in the fall of 2005 near the city of Merced. Collectively and individually, the University of California's campuses boast large numbers of distinguished faculty in most every field. The University is considered a model for public institutions across the United States, although as of the 2002-03 fiscal year, only 38% of its total budget comes from the State. All campuses enroll both undergraduate and graduate students with the exception of the San Francisco campus, which enrolls only graduate students in the medical and health sciences.

University of California System

Motto Fiat Lux
(Latin , "Let There Be Light")
Established 1868
School type Public
President Robert C. Dynes
Location Oakland, CA, USA (Headquarters)
Enrollment 159,000 undergraduate,
32,000 graduate
Faculty 13,335
Expenditures US$11.8 billion
Endowment US$5 billion
Campuses 15,842 acres (64 km²)


When the State of California ratified its first constitution in 1849, it stipulated for an educational system complete with a university. Taking advantage of the Morrill Land Grant Act, the California Legislature established an Agricultural, Mining, and Mechanical Arts College in 1866. However, although this institution was provided with sufficient funds, it lacked land.

Beforehand, Congregational minister Henry Durant had established the College of California in Oakland, California in 1855. With an eye for expansion, the college's trustees purchased 160 acres (650,000 m²) of land in what is now Berkeley in 1866. But unlike the state's Agricultural, Mining, and Mechanical Arts College, it lacked the funds to operate.

The trustees offered to merge with the state college to their mutual advantage, but under one condition — that there not be simply a "Agricultural, Mining, and Mechanical Arts College," but a "a complete university." Accordingly, the Organic Act, establishing the University of California, was signed into law on March 23, 1868.

The University opened its first medical school on February 20, 1873 in San Francisco. In 1908, a "University Farm" for the College of Agriculture was established at Davis, which became UC Davis in 1959. In 1919, the Legislature arranged for an existing normal school in Los Angeles to become the University's "Southern Branch." In turn, the Southern Branch became UCLA in 1927.

The Riverside campus was founded as the Citrus Experiment Station in 1907 and was elevated to campus status in 1954. The San Diego campus was founded as a marine station in 1912 and became UC San Diego in 1959. Campuses were established in Santa Barbara in 1958, and in both Santa Cruz and Irvine in 1965.

UC Merced will open in 2005 as the first university built in the 21st century.


The University of California is exceptionally distinguished and influential within academia. UC researchers and faculty are responsible for 5,505 inventions and 2,497 patents. UC researchers create 3 new inventions per day. At 32 million items, the University of California library system contains the largest collection in the world after the Library of Congress.

Collectively, the system currently counts amongst its faculty (as of 2002):


The University of California is governed by the Regents of the University of California, as required by the current Constitution of the State of California. 18 regents are appointed by the governor for 12-year terms. One member is a student appointed for a one-year term. There are also 7 ex officio members — the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, Speaker of the Assembly, Superintendent of Public Instruction, president and vice president of the Alumni Associations of UC, and the UC President.

The Academic Senate, made up of faculty members, is empowered by the Regents to set academic policies. In addition, the systemwide faculty chair and vice-chair sit on the Board of Regents as non-voting members.

The Regents appoint a president to run the entire system. The UC Office of the President is located in downtown Oakland and effectively serves as the system headquarters. Individual campuses are managed by chancellors, who are given a great degree of autonomy.

List of UC Presidents

  1. John LeConte (1868-1870, acting); Henry Durant (1870-1872)
  2. Daniel Coit Gilman (1872-1875)
  3. John LeConte (1876-1881)
  4. W.T. Reid (1881-1885)
  5. Edward S. Holden (1885-1888)
  6. Horace Davis (1888-1890)
  7. Martin Kellogg (1890-1893, acting) (1893-1899)
  8. Benjamin Ide Wheeler (1899-1919)
  9. David Prescott Barrows (1919-1923)
  10. William Wallace Campbell (1923-1930)
  11. Robert Gordon Sproul (1930-1958)
  12. Clark Kerr (1958-1967); Harry R. Wellman (1967, acting)
  13. Charles J. Hitch (1968-1975)
  14. David S. Saxon (1975-1983)
  15. David P. Gardner (1983-1992)
  16. Jack W. Peltason (1992-1995)
  17. Richard C. Atkinson (1995-2003)
  18. Robert C. Dynes (2003-present)


San Diego
San Diego


While the UC campuses are operated fairly efficiently, the system does have a reputation among its students and alumni for mediocre customer service. The most common symptoms are the long lines which students often must stand in to get even the simplest administrative tasks accomplished, the long wait times before phone calls are answered, and the overcomplicated paperwork that is always required for everything.

In turn, its customer service problems may have something to do with the fact that UC campuses generally lag behind comparable universities, in terms of the percentage of alumni that give back to their alma mater.

National laboratories

The University of California manages three national laboratories on behalf of the United States Department of Energy:

The UC's ties to the laboratories have occasionally sparked controversy and protest among the academics and students within the system, as all three laboratories have been intimately linked with the development of nuclear weapons. For example, Lawrence Berkeley Lab worked on separating uranium isotopes during World War II, and the Los Alamos and Lawrence Livermore labs exclusively designed the nation's nuclear weapons until their shift into stockpile stewardship at the end of the Cold War).

The UC ties to the labs, however, have outlasted all periods of internal controversy, though recent questions about improper oversight procedures may call the relationship into question again Recently, the Department of Energy has for the first time opened up the Los Alamos contract for bidding to other vendors besides the University of California.


The University of California manages two observatories as a multi-campus research unit headquartered at its Santa Cruz campus.


The University of California has medical schools at Davis, Irvine, Los Angeles, San Diego, and San Francisco, and each medical school has an associated teaching hospital which is owned and operated by UC. Davis's teaching hospital is located in Sacramento while the four other medical schools have their teaching hospitals on the main university campus.

All five teaching hospitals are highly regarded throughout the United States. UCLA Medical Center in particular is consistently ranked by U.S. News and World Report as the top hospital on the West Coast.

In the latter half of the 20th century, the UC hospitals became the core of full-fledged regional health systems; they were gradually supplemented by many outpatient clinics, offices, and institutes. San Diego County actually shut down its own public hospital and contracted out its healthcare responsibilities to UCSD.

Affiliated institutions

See also

External links

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