History of the University of California, Riverside

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The history of the University of California, Riverside, or UCR, started in 1907 when UCR was the University's Citrus Experiment Station. By the 1950s, the University had established a teaching-focused liberal arts curriculum at the site, in the spirit of a small liberal arts college, but California's rapidly growing population made it necessary for the Riverside campus to become a full-fledged general campus of the UC system, and was so designated in 1959.

The University of California Citrus Experiment Station[edit]

The Rubidoux Laboratory[edit]

The Southern California "citrus belt" first emerged in the 1870s, and within two decades stretched eastward from Pasadena to Redlands beneath the foothills of the San Gabriel and San Bernardino mountains. It originated from experimental navel orange plantings first conducted in Riverside, from cuttings introduced from Brazil. John Henry Reed, a retired school superintendent and dry goods merchant from Ohio turned citrus grower, is credited with first proposing the establishment of a scientific experiment station specifically for citrus research in Southern California, and organized a vigorous lobbying effort of the local citrus industry towards that end. As founding member and chair of the Riverside Horticultural Club's experimental committee, he also pioneered a collaborative approach to conducting experimental plantings, and published more than 150 semitechnical and popular papers on citrus and other subjects between 1895 and 1915.[1]

Riverside California State Assembly member Miguel Estudillo worked with Reed and a committee of the Riverside Chamber of Commerce to draft Assembly Bill 552, which provided for a pathological laboratory and branch experiment station in Southern California. On March 18, 1905, a legislative board of commissioners was appropriated $30,000 to select the site and implement the measure. On February 14, 1907, the University of California Board of Regents established the UC Citrus Experiment Station on 23 acres (93,000 m2) of land on the east slope of Mt. Rubidoux in Riverside. However, the University's decision to concentrate on the development of the University Farm in Davis lead to only two initial staff being assigned to the CES, only one of whom, Ralph E. Smith, a plant pathologist from Berkeley, was a scientist. Dubbed the Rubidoux Laboratory, the initial purpose of the station was to concentrate on various soil management problems such as fertilization, irrigation, improvement of crops.[2]

Expansion and relocation to Box Springs[edit]

In 1913, a record killing freeze in Southern California caused a panic throughout the 175 million citrus industry, which demanded more state-funded agricultural research. Three acts of the California Legislature in 1913 provided 185,000 to fund an enlarged CES to be located in one of the eight southern counties. Developers of the San Fernando Valley, recently opened for settlement by the 1914 completion of the Owens Valley aqueduct, lobbied intensively for the CES to be relocated there. Herbert John Webber, a professor of plant breeding from Cornell University and newly appointed director of the Citrus Experiment Station, considered various site proposals but ultimately worked with the Riverside Chamber of Commerce, city officials, and local growers to assist in drafting and endorsing a proposal for the CES to be relocated to its current site on 475 acres (1.92 km2) of land 2.5 miles (4.0 km) from downtown Riverside, adjacent to the Box Springs Mountains. On December 14, 1914 the UC Regents approved the selection, news of which caused jubilation in downtown Riverside: "The entire city turned into the streets, the steam whistle on the electrical plant blew for 15 minutes, and the Mission Inn bells were rung in celebration." It was, according to Reed as quoted in the Riverside Daily Press: "...the most important day that has occurred in all the history of Riverside."[3]

The new station was to be governed autonomously under Webber's direction. He spent the next few years personally recruiting the founding research team, eleven scientists organized into six divisions of agricultural chemistry, plant physiology, plant pathology, entomology, plant breeding, and orchard management. Webber also initiated the development of the Citrus Variety Collection on 5 acres (20,000 m2) planted with approximately 500 species of citrus from around the world, which grew to become the greatest such variety collection internationally. He also planted hundreds of other subtropical crops, including 70 varieties of avocado, imported from Mexico, that produced more than 45,000 hybrids through controlled pollination. (He also helped found the California Avocado Association in 1914 and served as its president for two years, and organized the annual citrus institute of the National Orange Show in San Bernardino and the Date Growers Institute of Coachella Valley.)

Early architecture[edit]

Citrus Experiment Station, circa 1916

The original laboratory, farm, and residence buildings on the Box Springs site was designed by Lester H. Hibbard of Los Angeles, a graduate of the University of California School of Architecture, in association with a colleague, H.B. Cody. Built at a cost of $165,000, the architecture followed the Mission Revival style suggesting the Spanish colonial heritage of Southern California. The site, which became the early nucleus of the UCR campus, eventually opened in 1917, although the Division of Agricultural Chemistry continued to occupy lab space at the Rubidoux site.

The early years[edit]

Chancellors of UC Riverside Years as Chancellor
1 Gordon S. Watkins 1949–1956 (provost)
2 Herman Spieth 1956–1964
3 Ivan Hinderaker 1964–1979
4 Tomás Rivera 1979–1984 (first minority UC Chancellor)
5 Daniel G. Aldrich 1984–1985 (acting)
6 Theodore L. Hullar 1985–1987
7 Rosemary S.J. Schraer 1987–1992 (first female UC Chancellor)
8 Raymond L. Orbach 1992–2002
9 France A. Córdova 2002–2007
10 Robert D. Grey 2007–2009
11 Timothy P. White 2009–2013
12 Kim A. Wilcox 2013–present

After the 1945 passage of the GI Bill, a massive influx of former servicemen began to enter college and strained the capacities of many state public university systems. While this wave was expected to subside by the early 1950s, state and federal statistics released in the late forties all projected a massive demand for access to higher education in California in the near future.[4] The UC system was then composed only of established campuses at Berkeley and Los Angeles, (Santa Barbara State had just entered the UC system in 1944) which were already operating near capacity. In 1947, the Regents and an Education Committee of the State Legislature appointed a large-scale study of California's needs, dubbed the Strayer Committee (after its chair, George D. Strayer, professor emeritus of Teachers College, Columbia University).[4] As the Strayer Committee was empowered to make recommendations regarding the establishment of any new state campuses, a group of Riverside citrus growers and civic leaders, including many Cal (Berkeley) alumni, formed the Citizens University Committee (CUC) to lobby for a small liberal arts college attached to the UC Citrus Experiment Station. After diligent lobbying by the CUC, which sent gifts of oranges and grapefruit to every member of the Legislature, the Strayer committee recommended that Riverside become the location for the fourth UC undergraduate campus. (It also recommended that the existing Agricultural College at Davis be expanded to serve undergraduates.) Riverside State Assemblyman John Babbage drafted Senate Bill 512, which allocated $6 million for the construction of the new college. Governor Earl Warren signed the bill approving the establishment of the College of Letters and Science in Riverside in 1949, after reducing its initial allocation for construction to $4 million.[5]

That same year, the Regents appointed a 13-member faculty committee to plan the expansion of the existing campuses at Davis and Riverside, headed by Harry B. Walker of the Agricultural College at Davis. Though it was decided that the new college at Riverside would be a separate institution from the CES, with no undergraduate work in agriculture planned, it was also decided that the Riverside provost would report to the president of the UC through the Vice-president of the statewide College of Agriculture, to whom the director of the CES also reported.[6] Gordon S. Watkins, then dean of the College of Letters and Science at UCLA, was a member of this initial planning committee, and UC President Sproul requested him to oversee the organization of the College of Letters and Science at Riverside. Watkins accepted the job and started five years of planning, faculty recruitment, and building construction. The onset of the Korean war delayed construction, and the CUC continued to lobby for basic resources such as steel and concrete to build the new campus. Anticipating an initial enrollment of 1000, Watkins ordered the initial campus built for a maximum capacity of 1500 students. Not anticipating the need for graduate work, Watkins focused on recruiting many young, new Ph.D.s into junior faculty positions, rather than already established researchers.[7] He became provost of the Riverside campus and presided at its opening with 65 faculty and 131 students in February 1954, remarking "Never have so few been taught by so many."[8]

Mascot history[edit]

The original UCR logo

When the university opened in February 1954, many students wanted a bear symbol in keeping with the traditional ursine mascots at UC Berkeley and UCLA. The founding editors initially named the student newspaper "The Cub", and out of a total of 67 names entered in a contest to pick the mascot, "Cubs" was the most popular; however, many felt that this name would permanently denigrate the campus as a "little brother" of UCLA and Berkeley. In November 1954, the men's basketball team championed freshman Donna Lewis' suggestion of "Hylanders" as a write-in candidate in a run-off between "Cubs" and "Grizzlies." The corrected name won easily, as Provost Watkins was noted for speaking with a Welsh accent, and the UCR campus was located at the highest elevation among all UC schools. Also, the Box Springs Mountains were known as the Highlands.[9][10]

Designation as a General UC Campus[edit]

The Regents at the time of the Strayer Report did not believe California could afford multiple high quality public universities, so they initially sought to respectively specialize the various new campuses. Riverside was designed to provide a high quality liberal arts education, but not graduate-level research. However, continually increasing enrollment demands at Berkeley and Los Angeles required continual expansion at all levels, so the liberal arts college model, implemented by the Regents as a way of saving money, was ultimately deemed too small and costly in light of the growing needs of California.

By the time Clark Kerr became president of the UC system in 1958, UCR was in its fifth year of operation and comprised 1087 students. Kerr articulated a vision of the UC as "one university, many campuses" and so Riverside, Santa Barbara, Davis and San Diego were all designated general campuses of the UC system by 1959. The Regents tasked biologist Herman Theodore Spieth, then-provost after Watkins retired in 1956, with increasing UCR's enrollment capacity to 5000 students and administering UCR's development towards full university status. As UCR's first chancellor, Spieth was to combine the College of Letters and Science and the Citrus Research Center under a single academic and administrative entity, as well as oversee the planning and development of UCR's graduate division, in accord with the provisions of the developing California Master Plan for Higher Education. UCR started accepting graduate students in 1961; UCR's College of Agriculture, Air Pollution Research Center and the Dry-Lands Research Institute were also established during Spieth's administration.[11]

The Kerr directives[edit]

In October 1959, President Kerr prohibited the student governments on all UC campuses from taking positions on off-campus political issues without the expressed permission of their resident chancellors.[12] Students at Riverside picketed Spieth's office in protest, and student newspaper editors at Berkeley, Riverside and Santa Barbara signed a joint editorial condemning them. As the editor of the UCR Highlander summed up the opposition:

It appears that Riverside has been one of the leaders against the original directives, with Berkeley naturally taking a considerable role. Santa Barbara's newspaper opposed the directives from the beginning also, although little more than that was done. The Los Angeles campus was exceptionally slow in deciding anything, which some cynics have suggested as being quite typical of anything there. The Highlander, December 2, 1959.[13]

In accordance with the Kerr directives, which also affected speakers on campus, in 1962 Spieth refused to let Nobel chemist Linus Pauling speak on disarmament because the subject was outside his academic field of expertise. The same year he also refused Dorothy Healy, former chair of the Southern California Communist Party, from speaking on campus. Six UCR students sued the Regents over Spieth's ruling against Healy, and the case was still pending when the Regents voted 15/2 to remove the outright ban on communist speakers in 1963.[14]

The Hinderaker Administration, from 1960s and 1970s[edit]

By the time UCR's second Chancellor, Ivan Hinderaker, was inaugurated on September 29, 1964, the free speech movement had begun in Berkeley. Hinderaker, who was photographed at his own inauguration carrying a placard borrowed from a student protester that said, "The University is not a Sandbox," cooperated with student activists that first year to develop such projects as the KUCR radio station, a campus child-care center, a political debate union, social events, fine arts workshops, and a few of his own projects such as Greek chapters and grants for student athletes. He negotiated a confrontation with student activists in ASUCR by suggesting the student council would be vacated if they did not rescind a resolution, which demanded President Lyndon B. Johnson support the right of African Americans to vote in Selma, Alabama. Five ASUCR officers, including the council president, resigned in protest of Hinderaker's position, and the remaining council members complied with his request.[13] At a later protest against campus recruiting by Dow Chemicals, organized by Students for a Democratic Society, student activists camped inside the administration building were served coffee and donuts by Norm Better, the dean of Letters and Science.[15]

It fell to Hinderaker to complete the task of turning UCR into a full-fledged research university. In doing this, he had to confront the early faculty Watkins had recruited on the premise that UCR Letters and Science would be a small liberal arts institution dedicated to teaching undergraduates. Many of UCR's early L&S faculty had achieved tenured positions without having to do extensive research, and saw themselves primarily as teachers. As Professor Charles Adrian, former Chair of UCR's Political Science Department, summarized the faculty situation:

It sort of was Ivan Hinderaker vs. the 'old UCR.' There was talk of the old UCR as if it were some kind of an organization. But it didn’t exist as such. It simply was the original faculty members and some who were hired shortly thereafter vs. the fact that Hinderaker was sent here to change that and make this a regular part of the university system... The resistance would be one thing if it were a minority, a smaller group of the whole faculty. But it was the dominant group that was hired here primarily to teach and who didn't want to do research ... and he was supposed to change this.[7]

All Hinderaker could do to that effect was wait for this early faculty to retire in order to appoint new faculty on a research basis.

Through the 1960s, UCR's enrollment had risen to a plateau of approximately 5000 students. In 1973, Riverside’s Mayor Lewis requested Governor Ronald Reagan declare the South Coast Air Basin a disaster area. This caused Riverside to become famous for its air pollution and had disastrous effects on student enrollment and faculty recruitment at UCR. According to Hinderaker:

...Irvine didn’t have smog. It’s hard to realize what a tremendous problem that was. Your budget is related to enrollment, so what effect did smog have?... UCR in 1971-2 was 5,576 [students]... By ’78-’79, we had twenty five percent fewer students than we did in ’71-’72. In terms of faculty positions, we had taken away from us in ’72-’73 twelve, ’73-’74 ten, ’74-’75 twenty positions.

Rumors circulated that the campus would close; Gov. Jerry Brown proposed a merger with Cal State San Bernardino.[16] Hinderaker developed UCR's competitive Biomedical Program and popular Business Administration Program partly as means of assuaging the enrollment problems created by Riverside's air quality.[15] He also established UCR's graduate schools of education and administration, streamlined UCR's departmental structure, and presided over the establishment of the UCR/California Museum of Photography during this period.

The 1980s[edit]

Due to poor receipts, Hinderaker terminated UCR’s two-time Division II state championship football team in 1975. As a result of the 1978 passing of California Proposition 13, which drastically reduced the state’s ability to fund higher education, another set of budgetary problems developed for UCR as well as for all the public education institutions in California. After Hinderacker retired in 1979, a series of chancellors served short appointments as UCR’s chief executive through the 80s. While enrollment began to make modest but sustained annual gains in 1984, more than doubling by 1991,[17] no single chancellor at Riverside was ever in office long enough to strategically direct UCR’s overall development. Tomas Rivera, the UC’s first minority chancellor and the first Latino leader of a major research university in the United States, dismantled UCR’s Black and Chicano Studies interdepartmental programs in response to the budget crisis.[18] He died of a heart attack while in office in 1984. Daniel Aldrich served a one-year interim appointment as Chancellor before being replaced by Theodore L. Hullar, who began the push for more professional schools and locally supported development practices that would characterize later administrations. UC President Gardner reassigned him to the chancellorship at Davis in 1987 and appointed Rosemary S.J. Schraer as the UC system’s first female chancellor at Riverside, in both cases without a formal committee reviewed search process.[19] Due to the enrollment gains through the 1980s, Schraer was able to appoint 200 new faculty members.[11] She died while in office in 1992, but not before completing a formal, peer-reviewed search process for her successor, Raymond Orbach, who would further steer UCR’s development during the 1990s.

Costo Archive[edit]

UCR has long been the recipient of significant support from members of the California Indian community. In 1986, Rupert and Jeannette Costo, who took part in the CUC campaign to found the university at Riverside, established the Costo Chair of American Indian Affairs at UCR, the first endowed chair of American Indian Studies in the United States and the first academic chair ever endowed at Riverside. They also bequeathed UCR their vast collections, establishing the Costo Library of the American Indian and Costo Archive.

There are Native American student programs and outreach services as well as high school recruitment at the nearby Sherman Indian School.[20] These programs both recruit and aid Native American students.[21]

From 1990s to present: Riding Tidal Wave II[edit]

With the improvement of the economy in 1994, the UC campuses began receiving more applications than anticipated.[22] This surge became known as "Tidal Wave II" (the first "tidal wave" of students having been the Baby Boom generation born in the post-World War II era). To help the UC system accommodate this growth, planners targeted UCR for an annual growth rate of 6.3%, the fastest in the UC system, and anticipated 19,900 students enrolled at UCR by 2010.[23]

As enrollment increased, so did the ethnic diversity of the student body. By 1995, fully 30% of UCR students were members of non-Caucasian groups, the highest proportion of any campus in the UC system at the time. The 1997 implementation of Proposition 209 — which banned the use of race and ethnicity as criteria for admissions, hiring, promotions and contracting by state agencies (including the University of California) — had the effect of further increasing ethnic diversity at UCR while reducing it at the most selective campuses in the system.[24][25] By 2007, fully 69% of undergraduates were members of non-Caucasian groups.[26] Faculty diversity statistics, however, remained relatively constant. 9.1% of UCR faculty were members of underrepresented minority groups in 1997, only 2% higher than the UC average. This percentage dropped to the UC average of 7.3% in 2002, but was back up to 9% in 2006, making it the third-most diverse faculty in the UC system behind Merced and Santa Cruz. Still, given the diversity of the student body and within the surrounding area, this relative lack of diversity at the faculty level remains controversial.[27]

With UCR scheduled for dramatic population growth, efforts have been made to increase its popular and academic recognition. The students voted to increase fees to move UCR athletics into NCAA Division I standing in 1998. Proposals to establish a law school, a medical school, and a school of public policy at UCR have been in development since the 90s.[28] In June 2006, UCR received its largest gift, 15.5 million from two local couples, in trust towards building its medical school.[29] The Regents formally approved UCR’s medical school proposal in November 2006, but Chancellor Cordova's subsequent resignation to assume the leadership of Purdue University lead to a temporary suspension of the search for the med school dean until a search for a new chancellor could be completed.[30][31]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "The Citrus Industry, Volume V, Chapter 5: The Origins of Citrus Research in California" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on August 8, 2007. Retrieved January 10, 2007.
  2. ^ "UCR: Citrus Variety Collection". Retrieved April 30, 2006.
  3. ^ "The Citrus Industry, Volume V, Chapter 5: The Origins of Citrus Research in California" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on 2007-08-08.
  4. ^ a b Stadtman, Verne A. "The University of California, 1868-1968," page 372
  5. ^ "Oral History transcript, Gabbert".
  6. ^ Stadtman, Verne A. "The University of California, 1868-1968," page 360
  7. ^ a b "Adrian Oral History Transcript" (PDF).
  8. ^ Martinez, Richard. "700 Join in UCR's Second Founder's Day Celebration." Riverside Press Enterprise, October 7, 1987.
  9. ^ "Field Oral History Transcript" (PDF).
  10. ^ "The History of the UCR Mascot". Archived from the original on 2007-08-08.
  11. ^ a b "Riverside: Administrative Officers".
  12. ^ Stadtman, Verne A. "The University of California, 1868-1968," page 435
  13. ^ a b Stadtman, Verne A. "The University of California, 1868-1968," page 436
  14. ^ Stadtman, Verne A. "The University of California, 1868-1968," page 438
  15. ^ a b "Hinderaker Oral History Transcript" (PDF).
  16. ^ Parsavand, Shirin (September 25, 2007). "Former UCR chancellor Ivan Hinderaker dies at 91". Archived from the original on February 15, 2009. Retrieved 2007-09-26.
  17. ^ "UCR New Freshmen Retention And Graduation Rates".[permanent dead link]
  18. ^ "Concha Rivera Oral History Transcript" (PDF).
  19. ^ "James Erickson Oral History Transcript" (PDF).
  20. ^ http://www.sihs.net/
  21. ^ http://oncampus.richmond.edu/faculty/ASAIL/guide/western.html
  22. ^ Hayward, Gerald C.; Brenman, David W.; Estrada, Leobardo F. (September 1998). "Tidal Wave II Revisited, A Review of Earlier Enrollment Projections For CA Higher Education" (PDF). National Center for Public Policy and Higher Education. Retrieved 2007-08-21.
  23. ^ "UC Enrollment Growth" (PDF) (Press release). University of California, News and Communications. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2007-08-08. Retrieved 2007-08-22.
  24. ^ Robinson, Nina; K. Caspary; V. Sautelies; S. Geiser; R. Studley; C. Mastern; N. Finkelstein; S. Handel; R. Tacconi; L. Tamayo; S. Bruce (March 2003). "Undergraduate Access to the University of California After the Elimination of Race Conscious Policies" (PDF). UC Office of the President. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2007-08-08. Retrieved 2007-08-21.
  25. ^ Knott Ahern, Louise (May 5, 2003). "Diversity in the affirmative, Some point to UCR as an example of why race-based policies are not necessary". The Press-Enterprise. Retrieved 2007-08-21.[permanent dead link]
  26. ^ "Ethnic Diversity: National Universities". US News and World Report. Retrieved August 10, 2007.
  27. ^ Regus, Elaine (October 29, 2007). "Groups demand diversity at UC Riverside". The Press Enterprise. Retrieved 2007-10-29.
  28. ^ "UC Riverside Updates Plan for Future Law School, Campus has long-range plans for a medical school, a law school and a school of public policy" (Press release). University of California, Riverside, Office of Strategic Communications. May 19, 2006. Retrieved 2007-08-21.
  29. ^ Agha, Marisa; Quan, Douglas (2006-06-16). "UC Riverside receives its largest gift, $15.5 million". The Press Enterprise. Archived from the original on 2007-05-26. Retrieved 2007-08-21.
  30. ^ Agha, Marisa (2006-11-16). "Regent's ratify Med School". The Press Enterprise. Archived from the original on 2007-05-28. Retrieved 2007-08-21.
  31. ^ Regus, Elaine (October 22, 2007). "UC Riverside taking final steps in planning medical school". The Press Enterprise. Archived from the original on February 13, 2009. Retrieved 2007-10-29.