A brief history of the University of California

  • 1855 -- College of California chartered
  • 1860 -- Berkeley site of College of California dedicated
  • 1862 -- Morrill Act: Federal grants of public lands to establish colleges teaching agriculture and mechanical arts
  • 1866 -- Legislature establishes Agricultural, Mining and Mechanical Arts College
  • 1867 -- College of California offers its buildings and land to the State on condition that a "complete university" to teach humanities as well as agriculture, mining and mechanics be established
  • 1868 -- UC established by the Organic Act as "a complete University" incorporating site of College of California and land grant and funds of Agricultural, Mining and Mechanical Arts College
  • 1869 -- First instruction held in Oakland: 10 faculty/40 students
  • 1873 -- Medical School in San Francisco founded from gift by Dr. H. Toland Classes begin at Berkeley on completion of North and South Halls (South Hall still stands)
  • 1874 -- Lick Observatory on Mt. Hamilton established by gift from James Lick; transferred to UC in 1888
  • 1878 -- Hastings College of Law opens
  • 1887 -- Creation of Associated Students
  • 1891-- University Extension inaugurated
  • 1892 -- First Cal-Stanford Game
  • 1898 -- Medical Department, Colleges of Pharmacy and Dentistry moved from downtown San Francisco to Parnassus Heights (present site of San Francisco campus)
  • 1899 -- Enrollment reaches 2,600 students
  • 1900 -- First foreign student
  • 1901-- Marine Station at La Jolla endowed (subsequently named Scripps Institute of Oceanography)
  • 1905 -- University Farm School (forerunner of Davis) created
  • 1907 -- Citrus Experiment Station (forerunner of Riverside) established
  • 1912 -- School of Jurisprudence (now Boalt Hall School of Law) founded at Berkeley
  • 1917 -- UC Hospital opens in San Francisco
  • 1919 -- Los Angeles Normal School becomes Southern Branch of UC
  • 1923 -- UC led world in enrollments: 14,061 undergraduate students
  • 1927 -- Southern Branch renamed University of California, Los Angeles
  • 1929 -- First UCLA-USC football game
  • 1930 -- Undergraduate enrollment reaches 16,000
  • 1931 -- Lawrence Berkeley Laboratory founded
  • 1934 -- UC gains national recognition as a result of the American Council on Education graduate school survey of "distinguished and adequate departments"; UC acknowledged to have as many "distinguished and adequate departments" as any university in the country
  • 1940 -- Undergraduate enrollment reaches 23,000
  • 1944 -- Santa Barbara State College becomes campus of UC
  • 1950 -- Undergraduate enrollment reaches 33,000
  • 1951 -- Davis enrolls first Letters and Science student
  • 1954 -- Riverside opens College of Letters and Science
  • 1958 -- Santa Barbara designated a general campus; renamed University of California, Santa Barbara
  • 1959 -- Davis designated a general campus; Riverside designated a general campus; La Jolla site approved for development as a general campus; Irvine Ranch site tentatively selected for new campus
  • 1960 -- Undergraduate enrollments: 38,000. Donahue Act incorporates principles of Master Plan; mandates 60:40 ratio of upper division/lower division students; defines mission of the three segments of higher education in California
  • 1961 -- Cowell Ranch at Santa Cruz designated as site for general campus. University Academic Plan adopted, underscoring principle of unity with diversity: plan for nine campus System. Undergraduate enrollment for 1985 is projected to be 104,700
  • 1962 -- First Education Abroad Program
  • 1964 -- San Diego campus begins undergraduate instruction. Free Speech Movement at Berkeley
  • 1965 -- Undergraduate enrollment reaches 59,000. Cowell College begins instruction at Santa Cruz. Irvine campus opens.
  • 1970 -- Undergraduate enrollment reaches 73,000
  • 1979 -- Higher Education Employee Relations Act becomes law; authorizes collective bargaining for University employees
  • 1980 -- Undergraduate enrollment reaches 94,000
  • 1985 -- Groundbreaking for Keck Observatory in Hawaii (joint UC-California Institute of Technology Project). State begins review of the Master Plan. Undergraduate enrollment reaches 108,740. Graduate campus enrollment reaches 26,993. Health Science enrollment reaches 12,141.
  • 1987 -- UC scientists find a way to remove toxic levels of selenium in soil using microbes that consume the trace element
  • 1989 -- UC researchers adapt a heart pump implant to pump insulin in diabetics
  • 1990 -- Enrollment reaches 166,547
  • 1992-93 -- The University celebrates its 125th anniversary
  • 1994 -- Enrollment is 162,106
  • 1994 -- For the thirtieth time since 1934, a UC faculty member has won the Nobel Prize. No public university has won more Nobel Prizes than the University of California.

Presidents of the University

  • 1870 Henry Durant
  • 1872 Daniel Coit Gilman
  • 1875 John Le Conte
  • 1881 William Thomas Reid
  • 1885 Edward Singleton Holden
  • 1888 Horace Davis
  • 1893 Martin Kellogg
  • 1899 Benjamin Ide Wheeler
  • 1919 David Prescott Barrows
  • 1923 William Wallace Campbell
  • 1929 Robert Gordon Sproul
  • 1958 Clark Kerr
  • 1967 Harry Wellman (acting)
  • 1968 Charles Johnston Hitch
  • 1975 David Stephen Saxon
  • 1983 David Pierpont Gardner
  • 1992 Jack W. Peltason
  • 1995 Richard C. Atkinson
  • 2003 Robert C. Dynes
  • 2008 Mark G. Yudof