The UCSB Library hosted an opening reception on Oct. 24 for its new exhibition, “Campus by the Sea,” which celebrates the 75th anniversary of UC Santa Barbara. The exhibition is co-sponsored with UCSB Alumni.
Featuring items from UCSB Library's Special Research Collections, the exhibition examines how and when UCSB transformed from a sleepy liberal arts college into a world-class research institution.
Guests had the chance to mingle with curators and Special Research Collections archivists, including university archivist Matt Stahl, Special Collections librarians David Gartrell and Yolanda Blue, processing archivist Leland Riddlesperger, university librarian Kristin Antelman and others.
Chancellor Henry Yang was on hand, as well as a number of UCSB Board of Trustees members, including chairwoman Betty Elings Wells of Goleta.
“The library is the heart and soul of the university,” Yang said in addressing the assembled guests. “We have much to celebrate in our 75 years of growth. This year, we had a record-breaking 93,000 applicants. UCSB is rated the No. 5 public university in the country. We have six Nobel laureates and one Pulitzer Prize winner. However, we couldn’t be here without all the hard work of our predecessors.”
Stahl said, “For this exhibit, we decided to focus on the anniversary of when we became part of the University of California, on July 1, 1944. We still wanted to pay homage to those who came before us, which is why the first exhibit case recognizes the Chumash people on whose ancestral lands this university sits.
“The complete exhibit tells the story of how UCSB transformed from a small liberal arts college located on the Riviera into a world-class research institute at a beautiful campus by the sea. We traced this growth by selecting a few highlights from each time period. For the 1940s-'50s, the relocation of the institution from the Riviera to our current home in Goleta, which was purchased from the U.S. War Department for a modest sum of $10.
“For the 1960s, we decided to focus on the tenure of Dr. Vernon Cheadle and the protests of the latter part of the decade. The 1960s witnessed a series of protests on campus, including the North Hall Takeover (which led to the founding of one of the nation’s first Black Studies Departments). The protests culminated in the Isla Vista riots and the burning of the Bank of America in 1970.”
In part because of the riots and bank burning, the 1970s was a period of declining enrollment for UCSB. In spite of this, however, academic growth and scientific research continued. The turning point for UCSB came at the end of the 1970s, when UCSB was selected as the home for the Institute of Theoretical Physics.
“It had come down to a choice between UCSB and Princeton,” Stahl said. “As is often said in real estate … location, location, location.”
The remainder of the exhibit highlights UCSB’s success in research and outstanding faculty. Also, current students are highlighted in a small gallery of color photos and asked about their hopes for the future of UCSB.
Biology major and senior Jordan Simpson, who attended the reception, said the experience at UCSB that fundamentally affected her was “being able to look at the ocean almost daily that showed me how strong the force of nature is on the planet and how we should constantly work to protect it.”
The exhibit will be on display in UCSB Library’s Special Research Collections until July 4, 2020. Community members are invited to drop in and visit the exhibition for free until its close.
The UCSB Library supports more than 25,000 students, more than 1,000 faculty members, and many visiting scholars and researchers.
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— Noozhawk contributing writer Rochelle Rose can be reached at email@example.com. Follow Noozhawk on Twitter: @noozhawk, @NoozhawkSociety, @NoozhawkNews and @NoozhawkBiz. Become a fan of Noozhawk on Facebook.