Who says the quarry can't rock again?

Buckminster Fuller presents "Celebration of the Creative Process: A Meeting of Art and Science" in 1980 at the Quarry Amphitheater. (Photo courtesy of Special Collections, McHenry Library)

The Quarry Amphitheater is one of the gems of this campus. Sadly, it has been closed since 2006. Now, thanks to generous donations from alumni and a truly monumental financial contribution from students, we stand on the verge of being able to reopen the Quarry Amphitheater.

 Let me share the history of this campus landmark and update you on efforts to restore and reopen it. More than 50 years ago, when the University of California selected our site for its next campus, the quarry was highlighted as a natural feature that could be converted into a facility for events. Award-winning landscape architect Robert Royston designed the space, creating a one-of-a-kind gathering spot near the center of campus.

For decades, the Quarry Amphitheater was the scene of commencements, convocations, concerts, celebrations, cultural events, and even classes. Alfred Hitchcock, Angela Davis, Leon Panetta, Bella Abzug, Ravi Shankar, and Buckminster Fuller all spoke at the quarry. It has served as a place of solace in times of crisis, following events such as Tiananmen Square and September 11. Professors taught classes there, musicians practiced their instruments, and many simply sought out the space for a quiet conversation or a moment of stillness.

The Quarry Amphitheater still sits in the center of campus, but it hasn’t seen a crowd since 2006, when it was officially closed. The amphitheater is in dire need of repair and restoration. We need to stabilize the rock walls, revamp the seating, install conduits and lighting, and make it ADA accessible. The plans will keep the spirit of the original stellar design intact. 

We have made reopening the quarry a campus fundraising priority, and thanks to the generosity of our students and donors, we are about 75 percent of the way toward our goal. We are closer than ever to being able to bring the quarry back to life; if we can raise the remaining funds, work can start next spring.

Imagine sitting outside on a bench in the evening, watching a student dance performance, or bringing your sunhat to an outdoor lecture by a world-renowned scholar. For UCSC alumni, memories like that are a part of what made UC Santa Cruz such a fabulous place. And we are close to making such memories possible again.

Please share this inspiring video, consider a gift, and spread the word to others who might be willing to contribute. After all, as the campus banners proclaim, who says the quarry can't rock again?