History of the University of California, Santa Barbara

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The University of California, Santa Barbara (UCSB) traces its roots back to the 19th century when it (as well as Santa Barbara City College) emerged from the Santa Barbara School District, which was formed in 1866 and celebrated its 145th anniversary in 2011.[1] UCSB's earliest predecessor was the Anna Blake School which was established in 1891 as an independent teacher's college. From there, the school underwent several transformations, most notably its takeover by the University of California system in 1944.

Early years[edit]

The Anna Blake School offered training in home economics and industrial arts.[2][3] The Anna Blake School was taken over by the state in 1909 and became the Santa Barbara State Normal School. The campus was on the Riviera in Santa Barbara, portions of which house today's Riviera Theatre. By 1913, the Riviera neighborhood was established and housing for up to 40 faculty and students built. (This housing is today's El Encanto Hotel.) [4]

In 1921, a liberal arts program was authorized and the school was renamed again to Santa Barbara State College. Growth was so rapid that a new campus was needed. When the 1925 Earthquake destroyed Dibblee's imposing stone mansion, Punta Del Castillo, on the cliff overlooking the harbor, land was available, and, by 1932, it had been purchased for the college. Remains of the mansion were cleared and the stone was used to build the retaining wall on Cliff Drive. The first building was completed in 1941.[5]

Takeover by the University of California[edit]

Intense lobbying by an interest group in the City of Santa Barbara, led by Thomas Storke and Pearl Chase, persuaded the State Legislature, Governor Earl Warren, and the Regents of the University of California to move the State College over to the more research-oriented University of California system in 1944. The State College system sued to stop the takeover, but the Governor did not support the suit. A state initiative was passed, however, to stop subsequent conversions of State Colleges to University of California campuses.[6] From 1944 to 1958 the school was known as Santa Barbara College of the University of California, before taking on its current name.

Originally, the Regents envisioned a small, several thousand-student liberal arts college, a so-called "Williams College of the West", at Santa Barbara. Chronologically, UCSB is the third general-education campus of the University of California, after Berkeley and UCLA (the only other state campus to have been acquired by the UC system). The original campus the Regents acquired in Santa Barbara was located on only 100 acres (40 ha) of largely unusable land on a seaside mesa. The availability of a 400-acre (160 ha) portion of the land used as Marine Corps Air Station Santa Barbara until 1946 on another seaside mesa in Goleta, which the Regents could acquire for free from the federal government, led to that site becoming the Santa Barbara campus in 1949. Originally, only 3000–3500 students were anticipated, but the post WWII baby boom led to the designation of general campus in 1958, along with a name change from "Santa Barbara College" to "University of California, Santa Barbara," and the discontinuation of the industrial arts program for which the State college was famous. A Chancellor, Samuel B. Gould, was appointed in 1959. All of this change was done in accordance with the California Master Plan for Higher Education.

20th century development[edit]

In 1959, UCSB Professor Douwe Stuurman hosted the English writer Aldous Huxley as the university's first visiting professor.[7] Huxley delivered a lectures series called "The Human Situation".[8]

In the late 1960s and early 1970s UCSB became nationally known as a hotbed of anti-Vietnam War activity. A bombing at the school's faculty club in 1969 killed the caretaker, Dover Sharp. In the spring 1970 multiple occasions of arson occurred, including a burning of the Bank of America branch building in the student community of Isla Vista, during which time one male student, Kevin Moran, was shot and killed by police.[9] UCSB's anti-Vietnam activity impelled then Governor Ronald Reagan to impose a curfew and order the National Guard to enforce it. Weapon-carrying guardsmen were a common sight on campus and in Isla Vista during this time.

Recent history[edit]

In 1995, UCSB was elected to the Association of American Universities, an organization of leading research universities, with a membership consisting of 59 universities in the United States (both public and private) and two universities in Canada.

Since 2000, UCSB faculty have won five Nobel Prizes, significantly strengthening the academic profile and image of the university.[10][11][12][13][14]

2014 Isla Vista killings[edit]

On May 23, 2014, six students were killed after an attacker, later identified as 22-year-old Elliot Rodger, embarked on a killing spree in Isla Vista, a community located near the UCSB campus. The first three students, 20-year-old Cheng Yuan "James" Hong, 19-year-old George Chen, and 20-year-old Weihan Wang, were all stabbed to death in an apartment they shared with Rodger. The remaining three students were all shot and killed during a series of drive-by shootings; these victims were identified as 22-year-old Katherine Cooper, 19-year-old Veronika Weiss, and 20-year-old Christopher Michael-Martinez. Cooper and Weiss, both members of the Delta Delta Delta sorority, were killed in front of an Alpha Phi sorority house, while Michael-Martinez was killed in front of the Isla Vista Deli Mart.[15][16][17]

Three days after the killing spree, UCSB canceled its classes for May 27 and scheduled a memorial service for the victims on that same afternoon.[18] In regards to the killings, the university released a statement, saying, "Our campus community is shocked and saddened by the events that occurred last night in the nearby community of Isla Vista. Our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families who are grieving and mourning as a result of this tragedy."[19]

Provosts and Chancellors[edit]

Santa Barbara State College was under the supervision of a President, but in 1944, when it became a campus of the University of California, the title of the chief executive was changed to Provost. In September 1958, the Regents of the University of California established Santa Barbara as a general University campus and at the official title of the chief executive was changed to Chancellor. UCSB's first Provost was thus Clarence L. Phelps, while UCSB's first Chancellor was Samuel B. Gould.[20]


  1. ^ "Letter from President Obama congratulating on 145th anniversary". Retrieved July 24, 2012. 
  2. ^ University of California, Santa Barbara, 1975–76 General Catalog Issue, page 1
  3. ^ "A note on histories of SBCC, UCSB". Retrieved July 24, 2012. 
  4. ^ Baker, Gayle, Santa Barbara, HarborTown Histories, Santa Barbara, CA, 2003, p.82-83, ISBN 9780971098411 (print) 9780987903815 (on-line)
  5. ^ Baker, Gayle, p. 83.
  6. ^ Stadtman, Verne (1970). The University of California, 1868–1968, page 346. McGraw-Hill. p. 594. 
  7. ^ "The 50th Anniversary of Aldous Huxley's UCSB Lecture Series". Retrieved May 24, 2011. 
  8. ^ http://www.amazon.com/Human-Situation-Lectures-Given-Barbara/dp/0701121432
  9. ^ http://www.dailynexus.com/2010-02-25/forty-years-ago-a-mob-of-students-stormed-the-bank-of-america-building/
  10. ^ The Nobel Foundation (2007). "The Sveriges Riksbank Prize in Economic Sciences in Memory of Alfred Nobel 2004". The Nobel Foundation. Retrieved September 16, 2007. 
  11. ^ The Nobel Foundation (2007). "The Nobel Prize in Physics 2004". The Nobel Foundation. Retrieved September 16, 2007. 
  12. ^ The Nobel Foundation (2007). "Alan Heeger: The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 2000". The Nobel Foundation. Retrieved September 16, 2007. 
  13. ^ The Nobel Foundation (2007). "Herbert Kroemer: The Nobel Prize in Physics 2000". The Nobel Foundation. Retrieved September 16, 2007. 
  14. ^ The Nobel Foundation (2007). "Walter Kohn: The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 1998". The Nobel Foundation. Retrieved September 16, 2007. 
  15. ^ "Thwarted in his plan, California gunman improvised"
  16. ^ "Police identify Calif. shooting suspect as Elliot Rodger"
  17. ^ Leopold, Todd. Father of rampage victim: 'When will this insanity stop?', CNN, May 24, 2014.
  18. ^ "Father blames government 'idiots' as California town mourns killings"
  19. ^ "Santa Barbara Killer's Friend: 'I Think He's a Really Lonely Guy'"
  20. ^ "University of California History Digital Archives". Sunsite.berkeley.edu. Retrieved January 22, 2011.