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Historical Overview

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Santa Barbara: Historical Overview

Early Origins
The Santa Barbara College of the University of California was established at Santa Barbara on July 1, 1944, as a result of a decision of the Board of Regents to take over the facilities of Santa Barbara State College. This action had been authorized in a bill signed by Governor Earl Warren on June 8, 1943. Prominent among those who introduced and worked for passage of the enabling law were state Senator Clarence C. Ward, Assemblyman Alfred W. Robertson, and Thomas M. Storke, later Regent Storke. Appreciation for their services has been expressed in the naming of Ward Memorial Boulevard, main access freeway to the campus, Robertson Gymnasium, and Storke Plaza.

Fall semester enrollment during the first year of University operation was 1,464. This figure rose to a post-war peak of 2,683 in 1947, declined in 1952 to a low of 1,547, and then commenced its increasingly rapid upward trend to the 1965 total of 9,569, of whom 930 were enrolled for graduate studies.

In 1944-45, the faculty numbered 95, in 1965-66, the equivalent of 705 full-time faculty members were engaged in teaching and research.

The Campus Develops
During its first decade, the college was housed in the city of Santa Barbara on two campuses taken over from its predecessor. In 1954, it moved to a 408-acre tract of land about nine miles west of the city. The site, a portion of a World War II Marine air base, is located on a seacoast mesa with approximately a mile of shoreline. The barracks and other structures and facilities had been renovated and adapted for instructional and dormitory uses. Two new permanent buildings had been completed--the library and a science building. Of the 99 Marine base buildings originally on the site, the University still used 42 in the mid-1960's. The others were razed to make room for new roads and structures. Twenty-five permanent buildings were occupied, and five more were planned to be ready by spring or fall, 1966. Two hundred additional acres were subsequently purchased. Dormitory accommodations on campus were available for 2,062 students; 250 University-owned apartments for married students were available off-campus.

The initial Regental plan for Santa Barbara was to develop it as a liberal arts college of the highest quality, with an enrollment maximum of 2,500 and retention of the teacher training function. In 1953, the planned capacity was increased to 3,500. A revision of Regental policy in 1958 again increased the planned capacity, this time to 10,000; renamed the institution The University of California, Santa Barbara; and directed that a general University campus be developed. In 1960, the planned maximum enrollment was increased once more, this time to 15,000.

UC Santa Barbara in the 1960's
The College of Letters and Science administered the general and most of the specialized or professional undergraduate education. Courses designed to acquaint all students with their cultural heritage in the humanities, the arts, the social sciences, and the sciences were emphasized in all bachelor's degree programs.

A School of Education and a School of Engineering, both established in 1962, administered the specialized and professional curricula in their respective disciplines.

At the end of its first year as a campus of the University, the institution awarded 133 bachelor's degrees; in 1965, it awarded 952.

Graduate study leading to the master of arts degree was authorized in 1953, and departments were called upon to develop as rapidly as possible curricula and resources that would enable them to qualify candidates for that degree. In 1958, the Regents directed that the Santa Barbara campus proceed with the development of programs leading to the Ph.D. degree and in 1961, they established a Graduate Division to take over the responsibility of administering graduate studies. The master of arts, master of science, master of fine arts, and doctor of philosophy degrees were later offered. One master of arts degree was awarded in 1955; in 1965, 90 M.A. and six Ph.D. degrees were conferred. Twenty-two departments had courses of study leading to the master's degree and 14 offered the Ph.D. degree.

Organized research was at present being conducted on campus by an Institute of Environmental Stress and a Computer Center. The administrative headquarters for the Education Abroad Program of the entire University were located at Santa Barbara.

The Associated Students at Santa Barbara worked with the administration and the faculty in the development of valuable activities and facilities for the enrichment of the student's experience. Especially noteworthy was the Residence Halls Association Faculty Associates Program, which provided for meetings in the residence hall lounges between faculty members and groups of students for discussion and interchange of ideas in an informal social situation. As a means of expediting the construction of a Student Center, the students voted to levy upon themselves a special annual fee. The center was ready for occupancy early in 1966.

Bequests and gifts provided substantial contributions to scholarships and building funds. The John and Ina Therese Campbell scholarship bequest yielded about $40,000 annually. Former Regent Storke provided $20,000 for scholarships and gave $100,000 to be used in the construction of the Student Center. Regent Samuel B. Mosher also contributed $100,000 for the center.

By the mid-1960's, the establishment of a School of Fine Arts and a School of Business Administration was specifically proposed for the future. The possibility of developing a School of Law and other professional schools was being considered. Rapid augmentations of library holdings and of space and facilities for research were definitely scheduled. And Santa Barbara planned to continue its particular orientation towards the liberal arts.

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Last updated 06/18/04.