It is important to understand the history of UC Santa Cruz in order to get a sense of how our brand was born. . .
UC Santa Cruz: An original beginning
The UC Santa Cruz story is one built on courage—the courage to be different, to question the accepted, and dare to make the world a better place.
The campus was founded in 1965 as the movement away from the conservative ’50s was in full swing and America was experiencing a transformation. The founding faculty, administrators, and students embraced and embodied this change. They were open and revolutionary in their thinking—more than mere radicals, they dared to imagine a living and learning environment that would foster a community whose passion came from a deep sense of social justice. Whose passion for truth demanded students and faculty work across disciplines and pursue original research to confront some of the most controversial and exciting ideas of our time.
The campus’s creative and irreverent spirit could very well have been the model for Silicon Valley, which sits a short drive from the campus. While UC Santa Cruz shares the entrepreneurial outlook of this international hub of innovation, its physical environment could not be more different. The redwood forest that hugs the campus, the sweeping view of the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary, abundant wildlife, and buildings that are designed to complement the landscape have earned the campus the reputation as one of the most beautiful in the world.
Underneath this calm exterior, the revolution continues—the first to map the human genome and make it publicly available, key contributors to the discovery of the Higgs Boson, a leader in the organic food movement, the center of the Dickens Universe, a graduate gaming program that is in the top 10 in the country, a campus ranked 15th in the world (2018-19 Times Higher Education) for its research impact: This university is not to be underestimated. This special combination of quiet contemplation and rigorous inquiry inspires its people and drives intense competition with purpose.
The campus’s unique character is reflected in its students’ bold choice to elect the infamous Banana Slug as its mascot—with its determined roaming and bright personality it is hard to ignore a Banana Slug wherever you encounter one.
And Banana Slug alumni are everywhere—now 130,000 strong—comprised of respected scientists, journalists, social activists, political and business leaders, and much more, Banana Slugs are changing the world.
UC Santa Cruz’s student population today reflects the diversity of California, with approximately 45 percent coming from families in which neither parent earned a four-year degree. The campus community understands the value and responsibility of being a public research university. It means recognizing the need for a diverse perspective and providing undergraduate students uncommon access to hands-on experiences and research in ways that transform their way of seeing. It means graduate students are fueled by the knowledge that one day their research can give back to society. It means a learning curve that thrives on the ups and downs—teaches the teachers, challenges the learners, and contributes to a essential public discourse that our society demands.