The history of the Irvine campus begins in the early 1950s when the Regents concluded from University-wide enrollment projections that three new campuses must be in operation by 1970, one of which should be located in the east Los Angeles-Orange County area. Twenty-three locations in this area were examined and in March, 1959, a site on the Irvine Ranch, a few miles inland from Newport Beach, was tentatively selected by the Regents.
After intensive studies by William Pereira and Associates, architects and master planners, the site was determined to be feasible according to criteria established by the Regents, faculty, and planning committees, and a master plan of land use for the area was agreed upon in principle. In July, 1960, the Irvine Company offered 1,000 acres as a gift and the deed was recorded on January 20, 1961. The Regents purchased an additional 510 acres adjacent to the original site in January, 1964. Coordinated planning of the ranch, the university community, and the campus was achieved by the University and the Irvine Company, hiring Pereira and Associates as master planners.
As a soil scientist with the University for 20 years, Chancellor Aldrich was imbued with the land grant spirit and practice through his association with the University Division of Agricultural Sciences and Agricultural Extension. He was serving as University dean of agriculture at the time of his appointment as chancellor. An Academic Advisory Committee to assist in the development of the Irvine program was appointed in April, 1963. Its members were John S. Galbraith, chairman, William F. Kennedy, Robert F. Gleckner, Carl H. Eckart and James M. Gillies. H. T. Swedenberg later was appointed chairman to replace Galbraith when the latter was named as chancellor at San Diego.
A "Provisional Academic Plan for the Irvine Campus" was issued in April, 1963, with the assistance of Ivan Hinderaker, vice-chancellor--academic affairs, who became chancellor at Riverside in July, 1964. It outlined a core academic organization consisting of a College of Arts, Letters and Sciences, with Divisions of Social Sciences, Humanities, Fine Arts, Biological Sciences and Physical Sciences, and a Department of Physical Education. Also proposed at the outset were a School of Engineering, a Graduate School of Administration, and an Institute of Environmental Planning, which in 1965 was broadened into the Public Policy Research Organization. University Extension also became an integral part of the academic plan. Irvine's first catalog, issued in July, 1965, followed this outline. A statement of the "Irvine Approach," a consensus of the faculty on the philosophy of the academic program, was issued informally in July, 1965 by Jack W. Peltason, who replaced Hinderaker as vice-chancellor.
Pending completion of initial major structures, the staff first was located in the old Irvine Ranch home, then moved late in 1962, with the step-up of recruitment, to interim offices at the Service-Research Center. The Research Annex was established at the center in 1964 to accommodate research by faculty members who were involved in program planning prior to opening of the central campus facilities. The UCI Computer Facility was established in temporary quarters in June, 1965, with the announced intention of making Irvine a model for computerization of university campuses. All except campus maintenance and storehouse operations moved to the central campus in late summer, 1965.
Community support for the campus and its programs showed early strength and was channeled into several organizations formed during 1964-65 under the leadership of H. B. Atwood, public affairs officer. These were: Friends of the University, a general support group directed by business, professional, labor, and civic leaders, with the stated purpose "to unite the communities and the University in the development of a great intellectual and cultural center. . ."; Friends of the UCI Library, which early developed an extensive membership with the purpose of helping to create a "distinguished reference and research center" and rendered other services; UCI Town and Gown, composed of community social leaders and wives of faculty members; UCI Public Relations Advisory Council, composed of public relations executives of the area; and the Big I Boosters, organized to assist in support of intercollegiate and intramural sports programs. Alumni of other campuses of the University also exhibited strong interest through membership in UCI support groups and attendance at the annual All University Picnic which quickly became an Irvine tradition.
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Last updated 06/18/04.