UC Santa Cruz started in 1965 as an unconventional place that pushed against the stodginess of educational institutions, a place where innovation—no matter how messy—was part of the campus's DNA.
Our celebrations of the campus's 50th anniversary—a year of festivities, reunions, talks, and collaborations—have been sensational successes, with sold-out events, world-class talent, and capacity crowds.
Below is a guide to a few of the year's anchor events; see the full list of events.
Dressing up to party down
In January, the campus kicked off its 50th birthday year with a fashion flourish with "Dress Like It's 1965 Day." Staff, faculty, students, and community members participated—and had a blast (from the past)! Outfits were judged by Mad Men Co-Costume Designer Tiffany White Stanton (Kresge '03, psychology). Check out the photos.
A record-breaking crowd of revelers took part in a special 50th anniversary Alumni Weekend. The buzz about returning for next year's reunion filled Cowell Courtyard. Plans for Alumni Weekend 2016 (April 29–May 1) are already underway. The party gets better every year!
See more Alumni Weekend news and photos.
This year's Founders Celebration, called Fiat Fifty, will be a spectacular evening under the stars in celebration of trailblazers, radicals, and legends. To be held September 26 on the campus's East Field, the evening—the crowning event of UC Santa Cruz's 50th celebratory year—promises to be a once-in-a-lifetime occasion.
The dinner will be unlike anything the campus has done before. In a pavilion overlooking the Monterey Bay, Kathryn Sullivan (Stevenson '73, Earth sciences), the first American woman to walk in space, will be our master of ceremonies as we honor chef and food activist Alice Waters with the Foundation Medal and our pioneer staff and faculty with the Fiat Lux Award.
Founders Celebration 2015
Faculty Research Lecture
Susan Strome, professor of molecular, cell and developmental biology
Fiat Fifty Dinner and Reception
Alice Waters, chef, restaurateur, activist, and author
Fiat Lux Award
Pioneer staff and faculty
In conversation with Herman Blake at McHenry Library
True Originals: "An Incubator of Stars"
Moderated by Chancellor George Blumenthal, featuring astrophysicist alumni
Douglas Duncan, CU Boulder
Geoff Marcy, UC Berkeley
Steven Hawley, Kansas University
Other 50th events
Farm to Fork Benefit Dinner
Cowell Ranch Hay Barn Dedication
Arboretum 50th Jubilee
Pioneer Alumni Welcome
Celebrating the incoming class of 1965
Pioneer Alumni Brunch
Ken Norris Memorial Lecture
Moderated by Ryan Coonerty, Santa Cruz County 3rd District Supervisor
Slug Parade & Expo
Downtown Santa Cruz
6th Annual Morton Marcus Memorial Poetry Reading Al Young, California Poet Laureate
We thank our Fiat Fifty sponsors for their generosity and support in making this a memorable celebration.
Redwood Level Sponsors
Gordon (Crown '72) and Tanya Ringold
Fieldhouse Level Sponsors
Sarah C. Latham
Vice Chancellor, Business and Administrative Services
Linda S. Peterson
Stevenson '70, UC Santa Cruz Foundation Trustee and Chair, Campaign Steering Committee