UCSC Anthem

It is time that we had uncommon schools,

that we did not leave off our education

when we begin to be men and women. It is

time that villages were universities, and their

elder inhabitants the fellows of universities.

- Henry David Thoreau

UC Santa Cruz takes your breath away.

As you stand high on the hill at Cowell College looking southwest, across gently undulating meadows, across a seaside town sparkling in the sun, across the crescent of Monterey Bay painted a deep aquamarine, you can't help feeling that this is truly a unique setting for a university. Apart. Monastic yet celebratory. The vista feels whole: sun, meadow, city, sea, an analog of our world, forests and grasslands, roads and houses, earth and air and ocean teeming with life. From our vantage high on the hill the sea recedes into the horizon, endless, boundless, beckoning toward the unknown yet knowable, to infinity across spaces curved by gravity and atmosphere.

Simply put, it's beautiful. Nearly everyone has that first reaction. Nearly everyone visiting the school for the first time says to themselves, "I've never seen a school in a place like this."

But UC Santa Cruz's physical beauty is not a postcard; it is not a static image that burns into one's mind to be recalled pleasurably now and again. Rather, it is a host. It sets the stage for a multiplicity of experiences. It focuses the mind, heightens the senses, stirs curiosity, broadens awareness.

No literature major walks through this Edenic campus without noticing the banana slugs saving redwood trees by clearing their bases of bacteria. No oceanographer misses the artistic possibilities suggested by both nature and man around virtually every corner. No business major can avoid the obvious conclusion that this world must be revered and preserved. No musician, filmmaker, actor, or sculptor misses the boundless universe that reaches through the night toward the beginnings of time. No computer engineer misses the symphonies of crickets in the woods or the "scree!" of red tailed hawks wheeling across the sky.

UC Santa Cruz is an uncommon place. It transforms you. Provokes you. Inspires you. Not merely because of its uncommon beauty, but also because of its mission, because of the originality of its vision, and because of the uncommon people it draws to its heart.

Before it was born, Clark Kerr and Dean McHenry and other founders imagined UC Santa Cruz as a major research university, built around intimate residential colleges, dedicated to providing an extraordinary undergraduate experience, nurtured by close faculty-student interaction and human-scale community life. Their dream is our reality.

For undergrads, they wanted to create a university of colleges, of villages, each with its own specialty, its own theme, not organized by areas of study, but rather by broader topics, each of whom had a broad array of specialties embedded in it. To this day, each student takes a core course within the college in which they enrolled, a course not necessarily in their major, one that opens doors for them they might not open themselves, that involves them with other students with whom they live, and faculty who are members not only of their departments but of the college as well. At the same time, faculty and students range far from their individual colleges, far from their individual disciplines, teaching and taking classes all over this surprisingly large campus.

Today, the founding fathers' rich vision and novel format has matured even further, taking a shape and expressing itself in ways they didn't imagine.

Because now, in addition to the college system, UC Santa Cruz has developed its overarching academic plan itself into six interdisciplinary themes: Cross-Cultural Initiatives; Evolving Environments, Science and Policy; Human Health Studies; Media and Communications; Technological Developments and Their Societal Impacts; and Transnationalism and Globalization. Each of these themes represents an ecosystem of thought that embraces a complex intersection of talents and values, of science and art, policy and technology, engineering and humanity, language, biology and mathematics.

So, as an undergraduate student, you study your major; as a member of a college, you work and learn joined with others in a small community; as a unique student, an uncommon member of the university at large, you interact and intersect with a wide variety of other students and faculty, each of whom is conjoined through a network of ideas, disciplines and projects, of thoughts and opinions, philosophies and actions, a network of themes whose existence-though not its specific character-was built into the very founding structure and vision of UC Santa Cruz.

And when our students graduate, when they move forward into a complex working world, with all that world entails, they are better prepared to understand it, to wield it, and to thrive in it.

UC Santa Cruz is located just 25 miles from Silicon Valley, the center of the world for a number of industries: biotechnology, information sciences, space sciences, and computer science, to name a few. At UC Santa Cruz we believe it is one of our duties to train a work force of engaged specialists prepared for the rigors of Silicon Valley. That's why we offer an undergraduate major in computer game development, building a rich set of skills that include technology, storytelling, art and big business. Our Jack Baskin School of Engineering doesn't look like most engineering schools; for example, we offer no civil engineering. Instead, we offer Applied Math and Statistics. Bio-Molecular Engineering. Computer Engineering. Computer Science. Electrical Engineering. Information Management. Our students are probing structures at the crossroads of electricity and human function, exploring and fusing particle and cellular behavior that will change the very fabric of our lives and our futures. As well, they're preparing for practical realities, preparing to take their positions in the world of the future, a world that's reborn again every couple of years here in the cradle of technology.

Yet we're about much more than Silicon Valley. We're a major research university breaking through to new concepts in history, in astrophysics, in digital media, in linguistics, in music, in social policy, the environment, literature, theater, anthropology, economics and biology and art.

UC Santa Cruz is a research university with an unusual structure. Compare. Stanford University is a bit smaller than UCSC, and is comprised of 45 undergraduate students for every 55 graduate students. In contrast, UCSC has 91 undergrads for every 9 grads. That promises huge benefits in two directions. Undergraduate students have an uncommon opportunity to participate in the front lines of research projects. And grad students are given an uncommon opportunity to take prominent roles in their areas of discipline, in exploring, inventing, and creating new applications of science, in developing sophisticated social policy, in uncovering new discoveries in history, anthropology, and literature, in creating new music, new art, new film and new media.

By moving our students more quickly to the front lines of research, we give them greater access to the top echelons of the academic world, accelerating their momentum, driving them to take more responsibility for discovery, and helping them grow internally and externally to become disciplined, intense and respected thought leaders in their fields.

The heart of the engine that drives UC Santa Cruz of course is its faculty. With our research orientation, we seek and attract explorers, wonderers, extraordinary women and men who relentlessly ask why, how, what if. We are a magnet for restless minds, ones who are not content with their discontent, but rather seek to shape their questions into discoveries, and their discoveries into applications, inventions, a higher order of philosophy, of understanding, of human consciousness, of technological and societal evolution.

Because of our embedded cross-disciplinary themes, we seek and attract fecund and hungry adventurers who push for deeper understanding by crossing borders and embracing collaborators equally hungry to approach the same problem from complementary disciplines and directions, adding an amazing richness with entirely different skills, points of view and expertise.

And because of our uncommon dedication to undergraduate education, we seek and attract educators. Teachers. People who have the passion to challenge, poke, prod, and provoke our students, not only into thought, but into action. We look for professors who understand not only how to transmit knowledge and hone skills, but who also understand how to light fires, ignite curiosity, inflame desire, and unleash genuine care, to transform students who become the alumni who transform the world.

And our alumni have done just that. Our graduates continue on to graduate school in greater numbers than those of any UC campus save Berkeley. They've gone on to become astronauts and TV stars, conductors and engineers, to transform medical services in Africa, run newspapers and write monumental works of fiction.

Our faculty and grad students are transforming the world with their research projects.

A joint project between our linguistics department, our School of Engineering and NASA Ames has developed a new plain-English-dialog-capable robot for use in space.

Our history department and digital media department have created a massive web site exploring, in deep pictorial detail, all of the Pacific theater battle sites of WWII.

Our bio-engineering department is turning out inventions to help blind people use computers, negotiate their way using a laser cane, find bathrooms in public places.

Our biology and physics department are studying neural networks to develop technologies that someday will help blind people see.

Our Literature department has joined with our anthropology department to study the recent discovery of ancient Indian texts, revealing histories and art never before known.

Our theater department has created the Shakespeare Festival and the Dickens Festival, two of the most celebrated events of their kind in the nation, serving not only the academic community but also the greater Santa Cruz community in which we are proud partners. And soon, the Performing Arts Center is about to be augmented with a major new Arts Complex, offering even more performing venues and a museum, an arts center to welcome the town community.

Our partnership with the City of Santa Cruz continues to grow and evolve. Together we're exploring solutions to the real world issues of traffic, housing, water and power. As we move into the next decade we pledge to do everything in our power to fuse our mutual dreams of creating a more sustainable, green community that will become the pride of California and a model for the nation.

To the parents of our incoming freshman, we pledge to train and educate your students, so that by the time they graduate they're prepared to take their place in the working world, armed with the knowledge and skills they need to succeed.

To our undergraduate students, we pledge that when you do move on, to take your part in transforming another organization, family, or community, you'll look back at your experiences here, and be proud of the many ways UC Santa Cruz has become part of you.

To our graduate students, we pledge to give you the opportunities and support you need to take your rightful place as thought leaders in your discipline, to have the credential, the reputation and the authority you need to take your world to the next level.

To our faculty we pledge to give you the freedom and the support you need to explore, the platform and megaphone you need to reach and teach the world, and the fervent colleagues and positive, collaborative environment you need to push through to new ideas, new inventions, and new discoveries that help our world and our lives evolve.

To our alumni, we pledge to make your connection with UC Santa Cruz a lifelong relationship, a continuing gateway to new intelligent and interesting experiences, and a badge of honor you'll proudly display through your life.

And to this uncommonly beautiful place, to this redwood forest we inhabit, to these rolling hills, this oceanside haven, this peaceful paradise, we pledge to be responsible stewards, to heed your reminders and use the inspiration you provide to build a better world, a cleaner world, a healthier world, a world that would make our world itself feel proud.