Happy Birthday, UC Santa Cruz

Chancellor George Blumenthal, left, joined UC Santa Cruz in 1972 as an assistant professor of astronomy and astrophysics.

Break out your skinny ties and pencil skirts, because it's time to celebrate the 50th anniversary of UC Santa Cruz.

You've probably noticed the 50th banners across campus and in downtown Santa Cruz. Throughout the year, watch for billboards around Silicon Valley and San Francisco, and ads in the New York Times Magazine and The Atlantic. It's all part of a major push to increase our visibility at this milestone in campus history.

Special events will roll out all year, beginning with Dress Up Like it's 1965 Day on Thursday, Jan. 15.

I've been looking forward to our 50th anniversary for several years. For me, this anniversary presents an opportunity to connect with the history of the campus, reflect on our achievements, and sharpen our vision of the future.

I arrived here in 1972 as a young assistant professor of astronomy and astrophysics, not long out of graduate school at UC San Diego. I was enthused about joining an excellent department at this brash, young campus that wanted to do things differently. As my engagement widened through service to Oakes College and the Academic Senate, my appreciation expanded, as well.

Today, as when I arrived, UC Santa Cruz is a place where people work together across disciplines, org charts, and job titles. Faculty and students work across fields, and people rally around initiatives that reflect our values—sustainability and the needs of undocumented students, to name just two.

All the while, we have held true to our founding vision. We offer an outstanding undergraduate experience, top-flight programs for graduate students, tremendous opportunities for scholars and researchers across the academic spectrum.

Our 50th anniversary is a tremendous opportunity for current students to take pride in this campus and for alumni to reconnect with UCSC and recall what this place has meant to them. Faculty, too, are very engaged in the anniversary, and it is heartening to see professors young and old reflect on what's important to them about this campus.

Increasing our visibility and building our reputation will position this campus for even greater success in the future. Fiat Slug, indeed!

As the anniversary celebrations unfold, I want to thank the many, many people who have contributed to the planning of this celebration. Faculty, staff, alumni, volunteers, and students have all pitched in to put together a memorable array of events and materials.  

Happy Birthday, UC Santa Cruz! See you at Quarry Plaza next week.