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][10] 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. The former Bank of America building was bought by the university, renovated in to a state-of-the-art lecture venue, now known as Embarcadero Hall.

The university purchased privately-owned dormitories at the corner of Storke Road and El Colegio in 2003. The university had attempted to buy the 19 acre property previously. Renamed the Santa Catalina Residence Halls, the property has housed UCSB students.[11] In early 2015, the university has begun an expansion of the residence halls.

Devereux Hall, formerly the Campbell Mansion, in 2010, after this campus was closed as a Devereux school and sold to University of California, Santa Barbara.

The campus has expanded by purchasing property in the surrounding area, in particular a large portion of ranch owned by the Powys Campbell family. The university's West Campus includes the Orfalea Family Child Care Center, university stables, and West Campus Point faculty housing.[12] The university purchased 221.5 acres of land owned by the Devereux Foundation in 1967 and the right of first refusal on the remaining 33 acres, which it bought in 2007.[13][14] Land was placed permanently in nature preserve at Coal Oil Point, along the bluffs by the ocean, and the open field between the bluffs and West Campus Point faculty housing units.

The Campbell ranch was purchased and developed starting in 1919 by Colonel Powys Campbell and his wife Nancy Leiter Campbell, who bought the property when they arrived from England. It had been part of Rancho Dos Pueblos, a Mexican land grant from the 1840s. The 500 acre Campbell Ranch was a significant property in its heyday, one of the largest in Santa Barbara County. The property remained in the family’s hands until after World War II, with a large portion bought by Helena T. Devereux in 1945 for $100,000. She built a second facility for mentally disabled individuals, which operated until the early 2000s. The University of California bought the last 33 acres in 2007. Remnants of the Campbell family’s ownership are seen in the Celtic cross at Cliff House, which marks the family’s former burial site. The now-unused historic redwood barn still stands by the university stables. It was designed by architect Mary Craig.[15]

Affordable housing for faculty was a priority in order to recruit and retain faculty. In December 1986, 65 two- and three-bedroom faculty housing units at West Campus Point were completed. For this and subsequent planned unit developments, the university selects qualified buyers who are offered a unit at a price the university determines. The buyer must sell the unit back to the university at a price it sets and it is then offered for sale to another university-determined qualified buyer.[16] The university planned to build more faculty housing at its North Campus. Originally planned in 2004 to be 236 units of faculty and 151 units of family student housing, the California Coastal Commission required modifications reducing the number of faculty housing to 172 units. A 70-acre parcel of the North Campus land was to be placed in a conservation easement with public access.[17]

In an effort to protect the environment, the university has teamed up with the Trust for Public Land (TPL) to restore the Ocean Meadows Golf Course to wetlands. The property around the Devereux Slough had been partially filled in. Seventy acres of land was added to the over 500 acres already put in nature protected status. The 70 acres was purchased by the TPL for $7 million in March 2013. The university will manage the property as steward; the land will be accessible to the public for recreation. Restoration of the land will need further funds, estimated at $10 million, which the TPL has begun raising.[18]

Facilities developed on campus were building projects funded by student fees, including the Student Resource Building, opened in 2007,[19]

Recent history[edit]

Academic Excellence Recognized[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.[20][21][22][23][24]

Abortion protest incident[edit]

In March 2014, an associate professor of feminist studies, Mireille Miller-Young, was charged with battery, theft and vandalism after she allegedly stole and destroyed a sign from a Pro-life demonstrator, who was protesting in an area of the UCSB campus designated as a “free speech zone.” The sign depicted graphic imagery of aborted fetuses, and Professor Miller-Young responded by allegedly stealing the sign from one of the demonstrators, a 16-year-old girl who was identified as a member of the group Survivors of the Abortion Holocaust, and when the girl tried to take the sign back, the professor allegedly pushed and scratched her. The university initially stated that it would not publicly comment on personnel matters. However, UCSB's Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs, Michael D. Young, issued a statement supporting free speech on campus, while also accusing outside groups of trying to create divisions in the campus community.[25][26][27][28] Although Miller-Young initially pleaded not guilty, she changed her plea to no contest in July 2014, and was sentenced to three years probation; 108 hours of community service; and 10 hours of anger management classes.[29][30][31] In November 2014, the anti-abortion group involved in the incident filed a civil lawsuit against the University of California Santa Barbara and against Mireille Miller-Young. The complaint reportedly was filed to “vindicate [the plaintiff’s] own rights and rights of others” with the anti-abortion group claiming that the university failed to discipline Professor Miler-Young, who as of the filing of the civil lawsuit remains employed by UCSB.[32][33]

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.[34][35][36]

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.[37] 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."[38]

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.[39]


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  2. ^ University of California, Santa Barbara, 1975–76 General Catalog Issue, page 1
  3. ^ Ebenstein, Lanny (February 2011). "A note on histories of SBCC, UCSB". http://www.sbunified.org. Retrieved September 15, 2015. 
  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. 
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  14. ^ http://www.ia.ucsb.edu/93106_archived/2007/October8/escrow.html accessed May 17, 2015.
  15. ^ Anita Guerrini, “The Story of the Campbells: From Montecito to Goleta and Back.” Montecito Magazine, Spring-Summer 2010.
  16. ^ http://www.westcampuspoint.net accessed 18 May 2015
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  18. ^ https://thebottomline.as.ucsb.edu/2013/05/local-golf-course-to-be-returned-to-natural-state-ucsb-and-tpl-join-forces accessed May 17, 2015.
  19. ^ "Student Resource Building Officially Opens", 93106: News for the Faculty and Staff of UCSB. University of California, Santa Barbara, vol. 17. no. 18, May 29, 20007.
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  24. ^ The Nobel Foundation (2007). "Walter Kohn: The Nobel Prize in Chemistry 1998". The Nobel Foundation. Retrieved September 16, 2007. 
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  28. ^ Volokh, Eugene (March 26, 2014). "UC Santa Barbara Vice Chancellor issues statement supporting free speech". The Washington Post. Retrieved March 30, 2014. 
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  30. ^ Miller, Joshua (25 July 2014). "California professor pleads no contest to assault on pro-life students". Fox News. Retrieved 2 August 2014. 
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  34. ^ "Thwarted in his plan, California gunman improvised"
  35. ^ "Police identify Calif. shooting suspect as Elliot Rodger"
  36. ^ Leopold, Todd. Father of rampage victim: 'When will this insanity stop?', CNN, May 24, 2014.
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