A Celebration for the ages

Harry Colin Slim, a founding faculty member and former chair of the Department of Music, admires a 50th Anniversary exhibit at the Founder's Day celebration.

By Anna Iliff
What started as an endeavor to commemorate the 50th anniversary of President Lyndon B. Johnson’s dedication of the campus in 1964 turned into a two-year celebration that honored the legacies of Anteaters through the ages and sparked UCI pride in the entire ’Eater Nation. …

Every Anteater has a story to tell

50th Anniversary Historian Krystal Tribbett, right, interviews Joseph L. White, professor emeritus, at the UCI Stories opening night program May 23, 2016. Photo: Carlos Puma for UCI

By Anna Iliff
Perhaps you are familiar with the tale of the burgeoning University of California campus built on the Irvine Ranch over 50 years ago, that under the guidance of its first chancellor, Daniel Aldrich, became an “instant university” simultaneously “under construction indefinitely.” But, do you know the stories within UCI’s story – stories about the last cowboy on the ranch, meetings in mailrooms, mentors that changed lives, and the rise of athletics from the ashes? …

The future of higher education


By Janet Wilson
In 1965, the campus of the future rose from a muddy cattle ranch south of Los Angeles. The University of California, Irvine – one of three authorized by state regents to educate a burgeoning population of bright young people – was funded with tax dollars spent to hire the finest faculty and build state-of-the-art classrooms and laboratories designed by the nation’s leading urban planners. Tuition for students from the Golden State? Zero. …

Sparking Anteater spirit


By Cathy Lawhon
Food, music, games and the crowning of Jordy Cardenas and Dominic Grand as 2016 homecoming queen and king highlighted University of California, Irvine’s “Spark the Zot in You” Saturday, Jan. 30, in Aldrich Park. …

Peter the Anteater on Parade


By Cathy Lawhon
The University of California, Irvine’s anteater mascot, voted Mashable’s 2015 Mascot Madness champion, captained the campus’s entry in the 107th Newport Beach Christmas Boat Parade, complete with live singers, and instrumental performances that won the “Best Music” award. Peter’s appearance in the parade, themed “Seas the Holidays,” is part of UCI’s 50th anniversary celebration. The UCI @ 50 craft – and Peter – cruised the harbor nightly through Saturday, Dec. 19. …

The year that was


By Strategic Communications Staff
It was a year of birthdays. Of new starts … and looking back. Of exceptional achievements. Of being cool. It was a historic year too, as the University of California, Irvine collectively celebrated its golden anniversary – taking time to reflect on the accomplishments that made UCI one of the world’s best public universities while embracing a bright future of community and global impact. Fifty never felt so good. Once again, UCI faculty, students and staff achieved as never before in the classroom, in the lab, on fields of play and in society. So here’s a top five list for 2015: …

A matter of honor


By Louise Lindorf-Silver ’69
There was only one place to buy lunch in the early days, so professors and students were together in the dining commons at the same time. A bookworm and introvert by preference, I usually ate alone with a book open on my lap. Doing so enabled me to hear what the professors at a nearby table were discussing…

The making of a mascot


By Janet Wilson
Mike Grayston ’69 still remembers that night 50 years ago. “It was right down here,” he says, standing on a now-shaded portion of what is now Inner Ring Road, below the Gateway Study Center. “This was where everybody met, because this was the only place that was here. Everything else was pretty much dirt.” Back then, there was no Aldrich Park, no circular path, no tall trees – just first-ever students at the nascent University of California, Irvine campus determined to create their own identity…

Don’t fence them in


By Kathryn Bold
It was the winter of 1964, and James McGaugh already had what he considered a dream job. He’d earned a doctorate in psychology at UC Berkeley in 1959, taught for a few years at San Jose State College, done some postdoctoral work in Rome for a year, and then landed at the University of Oregon teaching and researching how the human brain works. “I was treated like a little prince up there,” McGaugh says. “They gave me everything I wanted. … I loved it there.” …

A wild campus


By Steve Taylor ’69
I have always felt fortunate to have been in UCI’s first four-year class. For the first few years, the campus was wild. When I looked out the window of my dorm room, I’d often see roadrunners…

Flowers on the earthmovers


By John McCoy ’69
When UCI first opened, there were 10 dormitories for 500 students in Mesa Court. I moved into Viento in 1966. My room, 203-D, had a window that looked out onto hills being developed into the first addition to Mesa Court. The water tank was located close to our window, and the ritual each morning was for the construction workers to start the large scrapers, dirt haulers and water tankers and place them by the water tank for topping off while they were warming up. This caused our room and suite to shake. There was no sleeping in late on that side of Viento …

How UCI helped save a student in over his head


By Terence Loose
When I enrolled at UCI in the late ’80s, I was unfocused, uninspired, and not very confident in my ability to find a future. UCI changed all that, but in a way that was totally unexpected. My roommates were water polo players and they encouraged me to come to morning workouts with them at 5 a.m. I wanted to get in better shape, so I agreed. The one potential roadblock was their coach, the legendary Ted Newland…

50 never looked so good

Festival of Discovery

By Cathy Lawhon
As 50th anniversary parties go, this one was golden. UCI’s Festival of Discovery, a daylong celebration of good health, great art, global impact and innovation had Aldrich Park hopping Saturday, Oct. 3, from the 7 a.m. badge pickup for the Family Fun Run to the closing of the last booth after 3 p.m. …

Back to the future: A first-personal history of the early years of UCI


By Jim Washburn
The first class I attended at UCI, in the fall quarter of 1973, didn’t meet in a classroom. Though the university had officially opened in 1965, much of the campus was still on the to-do list. Some classes and instructors’ offices were situated in trailers in muddy fields adjacent to William Pereira’s stolidly futuristic buildings…

Festival of Discovery and Anteater 5K & Family Fun Run


Come celebrate UCI’s 50th Anniversary at the first-ever Festival of Discovery and Anteater 5K & Family Fun Run on Saturday, Oct. 3. The festival will offer something for everyone, including live music, food trucks, interactive demos, hands-on displays, athletic clinics, TEDx talks and more. Runners will race through the decades for the ultimate throwback. Participants are encouraged to wear their favorite gear from the 60s, 70s, 80s, 90s and 00s…

Homecoming king and queen still courting


By Tonya Becerra
How often do the Homecoming king and queen actually get married? Maybe in the movies, but in real life? Well, Jeff Fulkerson ’07 and Emily (Yee) Fulkerson ’07 were crowned Homecoming king and queen at UCI in 2007. And they weren’t even dating. That would come three years later. Eventually they married surrounded by many fellow Anteaters…

The Anteater-est picnic of all

Arielle Hinojosa and Freddie Garcia

By Anna Iliff
Thousands of staff members donned their favorite UCI gear for the 25th Annual Staff Appreciation Picnic on Aug. 27 in Aldrich Park. In celebration of UCI’s 50th Anniversary, the event included a “Show Your UCI Pride” department competition, an oldest UCI T-shirt contest, a volleyball game, a water-balloon toss and three-legged potato sack race…

An amazing coincidence

Map of proposed campus site

By Hal Moore
In 1960, the Irvine Company sold 1,000 acres of land to the University of California for $1 that would become the site of UC Irvine. The land was not the Regents’ first choice for the new campus. Rather, a plot of land on the slopes of Spyglass Hill that now includes Pacific View Memorial Park cemetery at its center was the desired choice…

Father and daughter thrive at UCI

Julie Perez

By Julie Perez ’16
I have been going to UCI ever since I was a little kid. My dad, Jose Perez, is the director of the multimedia resource center at the Ayala Science Library and has worked on campus for 25 years. For long as I can remember, he has taken me to events like Celebrate UCI and book fairs along Ring Mall. I always knew I wanted to be a UCI student someday…

Against the odds

Rene Amel Peralta and sister Gabriela

By Nicole Freeling
By the time he was 6, Rene Amel Peralta was already working full time in construction and odds jobs in Mexico, just trying to survive. By 13, he and his sister had been abandoned by their only parent and had made the treacherous journey across the border. But without immigration papers or an education, poverty followed. On June 13, Peralta and his sister both defied the long odds that were stacked against them by being awarded college diplomas…

Watching UCI grow as a visitor

Fine Arts, Humanities-Social Sciences and Natural Science buildings

By Sadrollah Alborzi
In September 1965, I came from Iran to study at the University of Southern California as a freshman. Over the Christmas and New Year’s holidays, our dorms were closed. Many international students didn’t have a place to go for the holidays, so the university arranged for me to stay with two American families in Orange County over the break. They were very kind and took me to many interesting places in Orange County. One of those places was UCI…

The birth of a Model UN at UCI

UCI’s Model U.N. in 1994

By Robert Rodriguez ’94
In 1992, I transferred to UCI as a political science major. Having participated in Model United Nations throughout high school, I was pleased to find that many of my classmates had similar experiences. We organized ourselves as a campus club and hosted the first UCI Model U.N. conference for high school students in 1993. I served as a committee chair for the Security Council…

From obscurity to world stage

Robert Cohen

By Kathryn Bold
Robert Cohen, the Claire Trevor Professor of Drama, has taught at UCI since its opening act. He arrived on campus in April 1965, six months before the first students, to chair the drama department, back in the days when the trees that now canopy Aldrich Park were just 3 feet tall. He remembers the pros and cons of working for a new university in a city that didn’t yet exist…

An unforgettable speech

President Barack Obama

By Caitlin Lim ’14
When I graduated high school, I cut out the text of a speech that President Obama shared with the graduating class of 2010 from my local newspaper. Four years later, I was lucky enough to hear Obama usher my graduating class into adulthood at the UCI all-campus commencement ceremony at Angel Stadium of Anaheim…

Dalai Lama’s three-day 80th birthday fest draws 30,000 guests united around compassion

Dalai Lama at Global Compassion Summit

By Cathy Lawhon, Laura Rico and Janet Wilson
The Dalai Lama’s birthday celebration concluded Tuesday afternoon at UCI’s Bren Events Center with a panel on youth leadership and the significance of education in advancing universal human values. The Tibetan spiritual leader was joined by artists, scholars and youth activists including UCI alumnus and Dalai Lama Scholar Armaan Rowther, Google Ideas director Jared Cohen, interfaith leader Eboo Patel and actress and singer Zendaya. In his talk, the Dalai Lama urged the audience to embrace the values of peace and compassion in their education…

Advocating for the voiceless

2013 UCI PRIME-LC program

By Graciela Maldonado ’19
Just before I started medical school at UCI in July 2013, I took part in a summer immersion experience for the Program in Medical Education for the Latino Community, or PRIME-LC. The eight-week program offered an in-depth look at the history of Latin America from pre-Hispanic times to today, culminating with a 12-day field expedition…

The first 10 years

An aerial photograph taken of UCI in 1967 shows the budding campus under development. Image provided by AS-056. Early Campus Photograph Album. Special Collections & Archives, the UCI Libraries, Irvine, California.

By Jack C. Lockhart
I was 21 years old when I started working at UCI’s storehouse and receiving department in February 1968. Over the years, I worked in the mailing division, environmental health & safety, and telecommunications. I retired June 29, 2009 – a total of 41 years. In the campus’s first 10 years, UCI was transformed from rolling hills and grassland to a first-class university. Staff contributed a great deal in this journey…

A jumble of recollections

Hila Assifi

By Hila Assifi ’12
It’s really astonishing to think I started attending UCI back in 2009. How long ago that was! I was such a different person back then. I was so unaware of my own person and completely stunned by the culture shock of being away from home…

Memories of Bob Newcomb, mentor and friend

Bob Newcomb

By Claudia White ’89
Recently, I worked on creating my long-awaited library in my newly built custom home. As I unpacked boxes, many of which had been untouched for 10 years, I came across two great pieces of UCI memorabilia: my 1989 yearbook and a small binder. The yearbook brought back so many wonderful memories – the hairstyles, the clothes and, most of all, the old faces that allowed me to reminisce about my time on campus. When my husband saw the binder, he asked what it was…

Commencement 2015: By the numbers

Jessica Renteria

By Jennifer Jopson
UCI’s 2015 commencement season for undergraduates concluded Monday, June 15, with The Paul Merage School of Business undergraduate ceremony. Nine other events were held over the weekend in the Bren Events Center…

Anthropological adventures in Mexico and at the UCI Farm

Social Sciences Farm

By Cathy Van Camp ’70
In the spring of 1968, the School of Social Sciences experimented with short immersion classes. Students could take a series of these classes all day long for a couple of weeks each instead of taking courses concurrently throughout the quarter. This was never repeated, at least while I was at UCI…

Creating video games at UCI in the 1970s

Students work in a computer lab at UCI in the 1970s. Images provided by AS-061. University Communications photographs. Special Collections & Archives, the UCI Libraries, Irvine, California.

By Richard Levine ’81
I had already received a bachelor’s degree and secondary credential in math from UCLA and had been teaching for a few years when I got hooked on programming personal computers to create simulations for the classroom. Personal computing was an exciting new concept in the 1970s, and I decided to go to UC Irvine to get a degree in computer science…

Remembering UCI’s dedication

UCI dedication ceremony

By Jack McCue ’69
I am 84 years old now, but I can still remember UC Irvine’s campus dedication. The bleachers were set up on the hills with a barbed wire fence all around them. Among the many notables in attendance were Joan Irvine and Governor Edmund G. “Pat” Brown. Before long, a helicopter landed on the hill – it was President Lyndon Johnson…

A special place to call home

Ortega-Kummer family

By Maria Ortega Kummer and Kevin Kummer
The very first time I visited the UC Irvine campus, I felt a sense of “home” and that God was providing a special place for me to go to college. I applied that summer and was accepted as an undeclared major…

Swimming to the School of Medicine

Community members stroll through the UCI campus during an open house event in the 1960s. Images provided by AS-061. University Communications photographs. Special Collections & Archives, the UCI Libraries, Irvine, California.

By Bunny Quartarano
In 1965, I attended the opening ceremonies for the newly established University of California, Irvine campus. I was 11 years old and a member of the Meraquas, a nationally recognized synchronized swim team in Orange County. I remember how exciting it was to walk the campus grounds and view the beautiful new buildings…

Anteaters in the outfield

Chancellor Howard Gillman and Hector Santiago

By Anna Iliff
Nearly 5,000 Anteaters filled the right-field seats at Angel Stadium of Anaheim on Saturday, May 9, wearing blue-and-gold, limited-edition baseball caps for “UCI Night with the Angels.”

The day Irwin Rose won the Nobel Prize

Irwin Rose

By James S. Nowick
On the morning the 2004 Nobel Prize in chemistry was to be announced, I rushed to check the website to see who had won. Still bleary-eyed from having just awoken, I read “Aaron Ciechanover, Avram Hershko and Irwin Rose ‘for the discovery of ubiquitin-mediated protein degradation.’” Irwin? Then it dawned on me: That’s Ernie!

Growing up at UCI

Dennis Dierck

By Dennis Dierck ’01
I arrived at UCI in 1996 and didn’t leave until 2006. This time period included my undergraduate education, a bachelor’s degree in psychology & social behavior, and my first job after college as a researcher working with Larry Jamner and Carol Whalen in the School of Social Ecology…

Engineering in an era without computers

Engineering class in 1960s

By John Kramer ’69
I was an engineering student in the 1960s and recall doing my homework calculations by hand, occasionally relying on my trusty slide rule for more complicated assignments…

Ghost stories and a sleepover

Student Parent Orientation Program leaders and students in front of Puente resident hall

By Michelle Wong ’12
I was lucky enough to be a staffer for the Student Parent Orientation Program and got to welcome incoming freshmen and their parents in the summer of 2009. It was the second year that UCI had made it mandatory for all incoming freshmen to attend the overnight orientation program. I remember staying up late in our dorm in Puente and telling stories about a ghost jogger who is said to haunt Campus Drive on foggy nights…

Campus demonstrations during the Vietnam War

Vietnam War demonstrations

By Adria Green Corn ’68
I was walking through the campus one day and saw members of Students for a Democratic Society dressed in black acting out a skit as Vietnamese citizens in the rice fields. The purpose of the performance was to demonstrate U.S. forces killing civilians during the Vietnam War…

Campuswide Honors Program: My home away from home

Christina Treble and friends at a previous Campuswide Honors Program bonfire night at Corona del Mar.

By Christina Treble ’06
I came to UCI from a small school in Central California. I was nervous to leave home but was drawn to the campus because of the opportunities offered to drama majors like myself by the Claire Trevor School of the Arts, as well as the personalized support offered by the Campuswide Honors Program…

Memories of Chancellor Dan, UCI’s steward

Chancellor Dan Aldrich

By Till K. Kahrs ’79
I lived in Middle Earth for three years beginning in the fall of 1975 and often saw Dan Aldrich, the founding chancellor of UCI, walking around campus as I was going to various classes…

Rogue radio in Mesa Court

KUCI studio

By Bill Lauer ’69
While the first official broadcast on KUCI was in October 1969, the first radio broadcast on campus was years earlier. I know this because it was broadcast from my dorm room…

There’s no place like homecoming

Crowd of students at Homecoming

By Cathy Lawhon
Aldrich Park was hopping Saturday, Jan. 31, as nearly 5,000 alumni, students and friends of the campus showed up for UC Irvine’s 50th anniversary homecoming. Those attending were lured by promises of live entertainment and music, a new Anteater Reunion Corner and a Disneyland Resort Family Fun Zone, none of which disappointed…

UCI rallies around volunteerism to celebrate 50th

Confetti rains down on more than 800 people in Bren Events Center

By Anna Iliff
UC Irvine students, faculty and staff aren’t content with simply throwing a party to celebrate the university’s 50th anniversary. Instead, hundreds of Anteaters are rallying together to donate 50,000 service hours back into the community to honor UCI’s founding mission…