• 1950 – 1959

As the city of La Jolla expanded after World War II, local people became more and more concerned over the close proximity of a military rifle range facility in their neighborhood. The La Jolla Town Council began trying to get the United States Navy to close Camp Matthews in 1956 but the Navy resisted. In 1959, Congressman Bob Wilson introduced a bill in Congress that would transfer Camp Matthews to the University of California for the planned San Diego campus.

  • 1955

  • San Diego City Council offers the University of California, at no cost, “city-owned land for students who are desirous of entering into the professional field of engineering.”

  • 1958

  • The modern era of climate change begins when  Institution of Oceanography geochemist Charles David Keeling logs the first point in the Keeling Curve database, a measurement of rising carbon dioxide levels in the atmosphere.

  • Charles David Keeling
  • University of California Regents establish an Institute of Technology and Engineering (later renamed the School of Science and Engineering) on the San Diego campus, which consists of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography.

  • 1960 – 1969

Freshman Valerie Spiess Lipiniski and Chancellor John S. Galbraith study a model of the soon-to-be built Geisel Library, 1967, Robert Glasheen Photograph Collection, MSS 154. Mandeville Special Collections Library, UC San Diego.

  • 1960

  • On November 18, the University of California, San Diego is officially established. The campus is realized through state appropriations, a donation from General Dynamics and a gift from the city of 63 acres of pueblo land northeast of Scripps Institution of Oceanography.

  • The first students (graduate students in physics) enroll. The UC Regents change the campus name from UC La Jolla to UC San Diego.

  • Students arrive at UC San Diego
  • The department of biology (later renamed Division of Biological Sciences) is founded. 

  • 1961

  • Herbert York, a world-renowned physicist who helped develop the atomic bomb as a young researcher and later championed arms control, is named founding chancellor of UC San Diego.

  • 1961-1962

  • Campus population is approximately 160 students and 70 faculty.

  • 1962

  • President John F. Kennedy signs a bill that commits the federal government to transfer 436 acres of Camp Matthews to the University of California.

  • Camp Matthews land transfer ceremony, 1964
  • 1963

  • The university’s first humanities departments are established—Philosophy and Literature (later renamed the Division of Arts and Humanities).

  • 1964

  • UC San Diego history professor John Galbraith is named the university’s second chancellor.  He vows to build a library as a way to boost the humanities on campus.

  • First undergraduates enroll at UC San Diego; a basic curriculum prepares students for majors in the humanities, the social sciences, the biological sciences, the physical sciences and mathematics.

  • UC San Diego’s first undergraduate library is established in Building E (now known as Galbraith Hall).

  • Galbraith Hall under construction, 1965
  • 1964-1965

  • Campus population stands at approximately 560 students and 140 faculty members.

  • 1965

  • The first of UC San Diego's six colleges is named Revelle College in honor of Roger Revelle, considered the "father" of the university. The unique college system provides students with the advantages of a small liberal arts college and the resources of a large research university.

  • Revelle College dedication, 1965
  • The first annual Watermelon Drop begins a tradition of tossing a watermelon from the top of UC San Diego’s Urey Hall to measure the velocity of a dropped object (by its splat), and to mark the end of the school year.

  • First Watermelon Drop Queen
  • Second College (later renamed John Muir College) is established. Today, the college is known for its motto, "Celebrating the Independent Spirit."

  • 1966

  • UC San Diego begins operating “University Hospital” as its primary clinical teaching facility. Second College is renamed after conservationist and author, John Muir.

  • Muir College under construction, 1965
  • An update to the campus master plan is developed and accepted by the UC Regents to relocate the campus core away from Old Highway 101. Land is set aside for Third College, east of Muir College.

  • 1967

  • With no state support, UC San Diego Extension begins to operate as an independent office, as part of the new UC San Diego campus, offering professional certification programs, arts and cultural enrichment, and courses of all descriptions to the public.

  • The University  of California acquires 130 acres in the La Jolla Farms area, including the home that would become University House—the university’s official residence for chancellors. This is the first land purchased for UC San Diego.

  • 1968

  • The first four-year undergraduate class receives degrees; the first students enroll in UC San Diego School of Medicine.

  • First commencement ceremony
  • UC San Diego Medical Center surgeons perform the region’s first kidney transplant.

  • William McGill, a former chairman of Columbia University’s psychology department and UC San Diego psychology faculty member, becomes the university’s third chancellor. 

  • William McGill
  • Scripps Institution of Oceanography establishes the Deep Sea Drilling Program, recovering ocean cores that lead to breakthroughs into the dynamics of the earth’s crust, including continental drift, earthquakes and volcanism.

  • 1968-1969

  • Campus population is approximately 3,800 students and 370 faculty.

  • 1969

  • The University of California Regents impose student tuition for the first time.

  • 1970 – 1979

1975's "Watermelon Queen" Kathleen Doyle drops a watermelon from Revelle College's Urey Hall as part of the annual Watermelon Drop tradition, 1975, Robert Glasheen Photograph Collection, MSS 154. Mandeville Special Collections Library, UC San Diego

  • 1970

  • Third College (later renamed Thurgood Marshall College) opens with 176 students. The educational philosophy of the college is guided by the belief that a broad liberal arts education must include awareness and understanding of diversity of cultures.

  • The campus begins moving books into the new Central Library, the iconic building that would later be renamed Geisel Library.

  • Geisel Library
  • 1971

  • Biologist William McElroy, director of the National Science Foundation, becomes UC San Diego’s fourth chancellor.

  • William McElroy with student
  • 1971-1972

  • Campus population is approximately 6,500 students and 500 faculty.

  • 1972

  • The UC San Diego Foundation is formed, beginning with an $850,000 donation of artwork, to partner with the university to raise private support. 

  • The UCSD Alumni Association is formed. Today, the Association has grown to represent over 130,000 alumni at the forefront of the sciences, business, research, the arts, social innovation and political service in California, throughout the nation and around the world.

  • UC San Diego establishes the Teacher Education Program in the Social Science Division; today it houses the state's only deaf education/ASL-English Bilingual credential program.

  • 1973

  • Chancellor McElroy establishes a community-based Board of Overseers to advise the campus. Today, this group is known as the Chancellor's Community Advisory Board.

  • The UC San Diego Regional Burn Center opens, serving San Diego and Imperial counties.

  • 1974

  • First students enroll in Fourth College (later renamed Earl Warren College). Today, the college enrolls more than 4,000 students from all academic disciplines.

  • 1975

  • While the design of the campus’ Mandeville Center for the Arts began as early as 1968, it takes seven years to complete the project.

  • Mandevelle Center art exhibit, 1975
  • 1976

  • The San Diego Chargers spend their first summer training on campus.

  • The UC San Diego Regional Trauma Center opens. Equipped with special facilities, advanced technology and highly trained personnel, the Trauma Center operates 24/7 and admits over 2,500 patients a year who have experienced severe injury.

  • 1977

  • Fourth College is named Earl Warren College, after the former Chief Justice of the United States Supreme Court.

  • Warren College
  • 1978

  • Theodor (Dr. Seuss) Geisel gives the commencement address for Revelle College seniors; his speech, true to character, is totally in verse.

  • Scripps Institution of Oceanography builds the first satellite dish receiver site at an oceanographic institution, providing direct access to orbiting instrument spacecraft. 

  • The UC San Diego Cancer Center is founded with the award of its first National Cancer Institute core grant; today it is the region’s only NCI-designated clinical cancer center.

  • UC San Diego alumni John DeBello and Steve Peace unleash the sci-fi spoof “Attack of the Killer Tomatoes” on an unsuspecting world; the third film in the series, called “Killer Tomatoes Strike Back,” features Central Library (now Geisel Library) as a space ship.

  • San Diego's first biotechnology company, Hybritech, is co-founded by UC San Diego assistant professor Ivor Royston and his research assistant Howard Birndorf. Since then, faculty, staff and alumni have created more than 640 companies, including many local biotech firms.

  • 1980 – 1989

The first piece in UC San Diego's Stuart Collection, "Sun God" by Niki de Saint Phalle, is installed on campus in 1983. The collection of site-specific works showcases some of the leading artists of our time.

  • 1980

  • Internationally known cognitive scientist and psychologist Richard Atkinson is named fifth chancellor of UC San Diego; the internationally respected scholar and scientist served as president of the University of California system from 1995 to 2003.

  • Chancellor Richard Atkinson's inauguration
  • UC San Diego becomes a member of the NCAA Division III.

  • 1980-1981

  • Campus population is approximately 11,400 students and 900 faculty.

  • 1981

  • The university’s hospital is named “UC San Diego Medical Center.”

  • UC San Diego women’s volleyball team wins the first Division III championship for the campus.

  • UC San Diego now has four colleges; important changes to campus growth are made, including designation of natural reserve areas where development is discouraged and reserving land on east campus for health sciences and a research park.

  • The first endowed faculty chairs are established at UC San Diego—the Irwin Mark and Joan Klein Jacobs Chair in Information and Computer Science, and the Chair of Judaic Studies.

  • 1982

  • The Mandell Weiss Center for the Performing Arts opens, to be used by the UC San Diego department of drama (later renamed department of theatre and dance) during the academic year, and by the Theatre and Arts Foundation's revitalized La Jolla Playhouse during the summer.

  • Mandel Weiss Center opening reception
  • The Division of Engineering (later renamed the Jacobs School of Engineering) is established and unites the two existing engineering departments to create a more cohesive education program.

  • UC San Diego’s communication department becomes the first in the University of California system.

  • 1983

  • England’s Queen Elizabeth and Prince Philip visit Scripps Institution of Oceanography.

  • Queen Elizabeth with William Nierenberg
  • Niki de Saint Phalle’s “Sun God” becomes the first sculpture in the Stuart Collection, art featured on the campus of UC San Diego, which is today recognized as one of the world’s premiere public sculpture collections.

  • Installation of the Sun God
  • 1984

  • Students hold the first Sun God Festival, coinciding with the one-year anniversary of the statue's arrival. It has since evolved into an annual event featuring underground/indie bands, headlining mainstream groups, a fair and several stages for art, dance, student bands and DJs.

  • UC San Diego Medical Center is designated the only Level 1 Trauma Center in San Diego County.

  • UC San Diego is selected as one of the original five national Alzheimer’s disease research centers by the National Institute on Aging.

  • 1985

  • UC San Diego celebrates its 25th Anniversary. A collection of oral histories from various people involved with the establishment of the campus is archived in the Mandeville Special Collections Library.

  • The San Diego Supercomputer Center (SDSC) is founded. Today, the facility has an archival storage capacity of 25 petabytesor about 1,000 times the digital plain-text equivalent of the printed collection in the Library of Congress—more than any other academic institution in the world.

  • CONNECT is founded on campus to link life science and technology entrepreneurs with necessary resources for success. Now an independent San Diego-based nonprofit, the organization has been modeled in almost 40 regions internationally, including New York City, the UK, Denmark, Finland, Sweden and Australia.

  • 1986

  • The Powell Structural Systems Laboratory is opened on campus; the Powell Labs have been at the forefront of structural testing in the United States.

  • Powell Structural Systems Laboratory
  • The university establishes the first department of cognitive science in the world to provide a focus for the continued evolution of the discipline of cognitive science through three main areas of study: brain, behavior and computation.

  • The Division of Social Sciences is created with the goal of increasing opportunities for interdisciplinary study and research. Today, almost half of all undergraduate degrees awarded at UC San Diego are in the Social Sciences.

  • UC San Diego is designated one of eight national centers for research and treatment of AIDS.

  • The School of International Relations and Pacific Studies was created by the Regents as the first new professional school at UC San Diego in 20 years, and the first school of international affairs in the UC system.

  • School of International Relations and Pacific Studies
  • 1987

  • UC San Diego Alumnus Susumu Tonegawa wins the Nobel Prize for Physiology or Medicine for his discovery of the genetic mechanism that produces antibody diversity.

  • 1988

  • Fifth College opens to emphasize international studies and foreign languages.

  • The Ida and Cecil Green Faculty Club opens to provide a place in a central campus location for colleagues and the community to socialize and intellectualize over superb food in a casual atmosphere.

  • Ida and Cecil Green Faculty Club
  • UC San Diego men’s soccer team wins its first Division III national championship.

  • 1989

  • The Price Center—named after Sol Price, co-founder of the “Price Club”—celebrates its grand opening; students bury a “time capsule” in the plaza.         

  • Composer and UC San Diego professor Roger Reynolds wins a Pulitzer Prize for Whispers Out of Time.”

  • Roger Reynolds
  • 1990 – 1999

University Library is renamed in honor of Theodor Seuss Geisel ("Dr. Seuss") and his wife, Audrey, following a $20 million gift from Audrey Geisel. Every March, the campus hosts a birthday celebration for Dr. Seuss in front of the library.

  • 1990

  • Adele Naude Santos is named first dean of UC San Diego’s Graduate School of Architecture.  Under pressure during an economic crisis, campus officials close the school in the 1990s.

  • 1991

  • Judith Sweet, UC San Diego Athletic Director, is the first female to be named president of the NCAA.

  • The Shiley Eye Center opens, with support by Donald and Darlene Shiley and other donors; the center is home to academic and basic research, innovative and unique surgical practices and patient treatment.

  • Darlene and Donald Shiley
  • UC San Diego opens the Mandell Weiss Forum, which seats 400 audience members around a thrust stage.  Today, it serves as one of three theatres on the university campus used by the La Jolla Playhouse.

  • 1992

  • Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego opens the Stephen Birch Aquarium and Museum on September 16, 1992.

  • Birch Aquarium
  • 1993

  • Third College is renamed in honor of Supreme Court Justice Thurgood Marshall, widely recognized for his dedication to civil rights and breaking down barriers to education.

  • The John M. and Sally B. Thornton Hospital and Perlman Ambulatory Care Center open on the east campus of UC San Diego.

  • UCSD-TV transmits its first moments on air; today, the station’s programming reaches to over one million televisions sets and produces 150 programs a year.

  • 1994

  • Fifth College is renamed for honor of the First Lady of the United States who was an internationally prominent author, speaker and activist in her own right, Eleanor Roosevelt.

  • UC San Diego’s first female police chief, Maudie Bobbit, takes command.

  • The Division of Engineering becomes the School of Engineering.

  • The first department of bioengineering in the U.S. is established at UC San Diego; the department is consistently ranked among the top three bioengineering departments in the nation.

  • 1995

  • The campus opens the Recreation, Intramural and Athletics Complex (RIMAC), home to the university's Tritons basketball team. Students reject a third bid to reinstate intercollegiate football.

  • Triton basketball game at RIMAC
  • Mario Molina, who joined the Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry and Scripps Institution of Oceanography in 2004, shares the 1995 Nobel Prize in chemistry for helping to reveal that a common class of chemicals damage Earth's ozone layer.

  • The UC San Diego Cross-Cultural Center opens its doors, striving for meaningful dialogues and context across all cultures, particularly those of underrepresented or underprivileged backgrounds, while offering supportive and educational services.

  • The University Library is renamed for Theodor Seuss Geisel ("Dr. Seuss") following a $20 million gift from Audrey Geisel. The Mandeville Special Collections Library within is the primary repository for original Dr. Seuss materials, containing more than 10,000 works and memorabilia.

  • 1996

  • The UCSD Women's Center is established as a space in which people work collaboratively to foster educational, professional and personal development of diverse groups of women. It provides education and support regarding gender issues, promoting an inclusive and equitable campus community.

  • Robert Dynes, a first-generation college graduate who became a distinguished physicist, is named the new UC San Diego chancellor.  In 2003, he is named president of the University of California system.

  • Robert Dynes
  • 1996-1997

  • Campus population is approximately 18,000 students and 1,400 faculty.

  • 1997

  • President Clinton delivers the first all-college commencement address at UC San Diego.

  • UC San Diego’s School of Engineering is renamed the Jacobs School of Engineering to honor donor, Qualcomm founder and former engineering professor Irwin Jacobs and his wife, Joan.

  • 1999

  • Walter Munk is awarded the Kyoto Prize in Basic Sciences for his fundamental contributions to the field of oceanography, the first time the prize was awarded to an oceanographer.

  • An endowed gift from a private donor launches the Student Foundation at UC San Diego, the first student-oriented philanthropic organization established within the UC system, and one of just a few in the nation.

  • The Preuss School UCSD, established with a major gift from Peter and Peggy Preuss, opens in portable buildings at Thurgood Marshall College. Jointly chartered by the San Diego Unified School District and UC San Diego, the school is for motivated, disadvantaged middle and high school students.

  • The Preuss School UCSD
  • UC San Diego’s Center for Comparative Immigration Studies is the first program in immigration studies to be launched on the West Coast.

  • UC San Diego celebrates its 40th anniversary. A special edition of UCSD-TV includes segments with recollections from various campus personalities and a glimpse of UC San Diego's future with Chancellor Robert Dynes.

  • The UC San Diego Cancer Center receives the prestigious Comprehensive Cancer Center status from the National Cancer Institute.

  • The Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender (LGBT) Resource Center opens at UC San Diego as a diverse, public space for all members of the university community to explore sex and gender identity issues. The center develops student leadership and builds workplace equity.

  • 2000 – 2009

Price Center East, a student center located in the heart of UC San Diego's campus, opens in 2008 with a variety of services, places and spaces geared to the needs of students. The center is designed with a focus on sustainability and community space.

  • 2000

  • Merging instructional technology functions with library services, UC San Diego's CLICS (Center for Library & Instructional Computing Services), becomes the first UC library to be established in the 21st century.

  • Sports Illustrated magazine rates UC San Diego "Best School for Surfing" in the nation.

  • UC San Diego Surf Team
  • UC San Diego Tritons move up a notch and begin competing in the NCAA Division II.

  • California Governor Gray Davis announces the creation of three new California institutes for science and innovation, including the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology (Calit2), a partnership of UC San Diego and UC Irvine.

  • UC San Diego’s department of psychology, established in 1965 as an experimental psychology department, is ranked #1 by number of citations per faculty member.

  • The UC San Diego department of biology is reorganized to become the Division of Biological Sciences.

  • 2001

  • Sixth College founded.

  • Walter Munk is the inaugural recipient of the Prince Albert I Medal in the physical sciences of the oceans.

  • Walter Munk
  • A philanthropic gift to UC San Diego's Jacobs School of Engineering launches the William J. von Liebig Center to inspire entrepreneurism and catalyze commercialization of UC San Diego inventions through grants, education and business mentoring. It is the first of its kind in the country.

  • Through a formal affiliation, UC San Diego’s department of pediatrics transitions its pediatric inpatient programs and specialty services to San Diego’s Children’s Hospital and Health Center.

  • Imagine What’s Next begins; the $1 billion, seven-year fundraising initiative will support academic and research programs, scholarships, fellowships and endowed chairs.

  • 2002

  • Sixth College is founded with a mission to prepare students to become dynamic and engaged citizens of the 21st century—innovative, creative and interconnected.

  • The UC San Diego School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, the only public school of pharmacy in Southern California, matriculates the first class 25 Doctor of Pharmacy (Pharm.D.) students.

  • 2003

  • The public phase of The Campaign for UCSD launches with the announcement of a $110 million gift to the Jacobs School of Engineering from university supporters Irwin and Joan Jacobs.

  • Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego celebrates its centennial (1903-2003).

  • Scripps Pier
  • UC San Diego Economics professors Clive Granger and Robert Engle win the Nobel Prize.

  • 2004

  • In celebration of 100 years of Dr. Seuss, a bronze statue of Dr. Seuss and one of his most memorable characters, the Cat in the Hat, is unveiled at Geisel Library.

  • Dr. Seuss statue at Geisel Library
  • UC San Diego Libraries celebrate the acquisition of their three- millionth volume. Today, the Libraries provide access to more than seven million digital and print volumes, journals and multimedia materials.

  • A large gift from The Skaggs Institute for Research supports the renamed UC San Diego Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences. L.S. "Sam" Skaggs is nationally recognized as a retail drug store pioneer and generous philanthropist.

  • Rady School of Management, named in honor of a generous gift from Ernest Rady and the Rady Family Foundation, welcomes its inaugural class of 60 FlexMBA students.

  • Marye Anne Fox, a world-renowned chemist, is named the seventh chancellor of UC San Diego and distinguished professor of chemistry at the university.

  • Marye Anne Fox
  • Fred Kavli and his foundation establish the Kavli Institute for Brain and Mind, one of the first examples of UC San Diego's commitment to interdisciplinary work by engaging scientists from more than 20 different departments and perspectives.

  • The UC San Diego campus Long-Range Development Plan is updated to reflect a projected enrollment of 29,900 students by 2020-21.

  • 2004-2005

  • Campus population is approximately 25,300 students and 1,800 faculty.

  • 2005

  • The UC San Diego Division of Calit2 opens its new headquarters building, Atkinson Hall, named after former UC San Diego Chancellor and UC President Richard C. Atkinson.

  • Calit2 at Atkinson Hall
  • UC San Diego, long regarded as one of the nation’s premier research universities, is named the “hottest” institution in the country for students to study science by Newsweek and the Kaplan/Newsweek College Guide.

  • UC San Diego graduates its 100,000th student in June.

  • The Stuart Collection’s 300-ton bear sculpture by Tim Hawkinson comes to campus.

  • Tim Hawkinson's Bear
  • Thanks to the generosity of donors, the 270,000 square-foot Moores UC San Diego Cancer Care Center building opens with a landmark consolidation of cancer research and patient care under one roof.

  • The Jacobs School of Engineering opens the world’s first full-scale outdoor shake table, capable of creating realistic simulations of the most devastating earthquakes on record to verify advances in seismic safety designs for buildings and bridges. 

  • Outdoor shake table
  • Chancellor Marye Anne Fox makes sustainability a top campus priority, which soon results in a wide range of green operational milestones and top national sustainability rankings for universities.

  • The Rady School of Management at UC San Diego welcomes its first Full-Time MBA class of 60 students for the two-year program focused on management and leadership for organizations driven by innovation.

  • 2006

  • The Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences celebrates the first enrollment of all four classes, freshman through senior; the graduation of the school's inaugural class of 24 students; and the completion of the four-story, 110,000-square-foot building.

  • A grant from the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation to Calit2 and the J. Craig Venter Institute establishes CAMERA, to be the first cyberinfrastructure customized to serve the marine microbial metagenomics community.

  • Clarion Science Fiction and Fantasy Writers’ Workshop, the nation’s oldest and most respected program of its kind, moves to UC San Diego.

  • 2007

  • UC San Diego's Sulpizio Family Cardiovascular Center, supported by a leadership gift from Richard and Maria (Gaby) Sulpizio, unveils its state-of-the-art facility that will centralize cutting-edge patient care and clinical research on heart and vascular disease and stroke management.

  • A model for sustainable design, the UC San Diego Student Academic Services building opens. The five-story, 141,000-square-foot facility houses the Registrar, Financial Aid, Graduate Studies and Admissions, and also includes a 300-seat multipurpose room.

  • Former Vice President Al Gore delivers his wildly popular “An Inconvenient Truth” multimedia lecture at a UC San Diego free event that is open to the public.

  • Al Gore
  • The campus announces the creation of the Center of Interdisciplinary Science for Art, Architecture and Archaeology (CISA3), and the appointment of UC San Diego alumnus Maurizio Seracini—the "Da Vinci Detective"—as its founding director.

  • Maurizio Seracini
  • The Rady School of Management moves into its new building, Otterson Hall, named in honor of Bill Otterson, the co-founder of UC San Diego CONNECT (now a San Diego nonprofit organization).

  • Rady School of Management
  • The UC San Diego Jacobs School of Engineering is the first top-25 engineering school to establish an academic department of nanoengineering.

  • Twenty-one Scripps Institution of Oceanography scientists join thousands of scientists worldwide in sharing the 2007 Nobel Peace Prize awarded to the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC) and Former Vice President Al Gore.

  • The campus successfully concludes The Campaign for UC San Diego, a seven-year initiative that raises more than $1.01 billion in private support from over 100,000 individuals and organizations.

  • UC San Diego is designated one of six Autism Centers of excellence (ACE) nationwide.

  • UC San Diego Medical Center is among first to perform Natural Orifice Translumenal Endoscopic Surgery, a procedure with significantly less pain, quicker recoveries, fewer complications and no scars.

  • UC San Diego alumnus and biologist John Craig Venter is one of the first to sequence the human genome. 

  • 2008

  • Price Center East, a student center located in the center of UC San Diego's campus, opens with a variety of services, places and spaces geared to the needs of students.

  • Price Center East
  • The UC San Diego Libraries become the first library system in Southern California to partner with Google in its global effort to digitize the collections of the world’s premier libraries.

  • UC San Diego professor Roger Tsien shares the 2008 Nobel Prize in chemistry for the discovery of Green Fluorescent Protein and seminal work to design and create fluorescent molecules that enter cells and light up their inner workings.   

  • UC San Diego’s Faculty Club and School of International Relations and Pacific Studies celebrate 20th anniversaries.

  • The All-Campus Graduation Celebration is revived at UC San Diego to provide seniors with an opportunity to get together and celebrate with friends from all of the university’s six colleges.

  • The inaugural San Diego Science Festival, organized by UC San Diego with the support of community collaborators, is the region’s largest multicultural, multigenerational, and multidisciplinary celebration of science.

  • UC San Diego Medical Center is the first in California to examine the safety and feasibility of administering adult stem cells to treat congestive heart failure.

  • A 750-pound bronze statue of the Triton mascot is unveiled. Standing in the heart of campus, the statue is an important piece in UC San Diego’s efforts to build community spirit on campus.

  • Triton statue
  • The UC San Diego School of Medicine celebrates its 40th anniversary.

  • UC San Diego, the Burnham Institute, Salk institute and Scripps Research Institute form the San Diego Center for Regenerative Medicine (now known as the Sanford Consortium for Regenerative Medicine).

  • Calit2 dedicates its Highly Interactive Parallelized Display (HIPerSpace) wall in Atkinson Hall—the highest-resolution display system in the world.

  • The San Diego Center for Algae Biotechnology (SD-CAB) is established by researchers from The Scripps Research Institute (TSRI), UC San Diego and Scripps Institution of Oceanography in partnership with private industry to propel research discoveries in energy and economic solutions.

  • 2009

  • UC San Diego opens the Conrad Prebys Music Center, named in honor of local philanthropist Conrad Prebys. The department of music's new venue features state-of-the-art teaching, rehearsal and recording studios, and a world-class small concert hall.

  • Conrad Prebys Music Center
  • The award-winning Village at Torrey Pines West, featuring apartments for transfer students, opens.  The project includes seven three- and four-story low-rise buildings, and one 15-story high-rise building in a campus “village” setting with courtyards and hardscape features.

  • Eleanor Roosevelt College celebrates its 20th anniversary.

  • On a mission to repair the Hubble Telescope, NASA astronaut and Scripps Institution of Oceanography alumna Megan McArthur is the first to make contact with the telescope, and the last human being to hold on to the Hubble via Atlantis’ robotic arm before releasing it back into space.

  • The Preuss School at UC San Diego celebrates its 10th anniversary.

  • UC San Diego unveils the Chicano Legacy art mural, commissioned to reflect the diversity of California and symbolize the campus commitment to providing a public education to all groups in both our region and state. 

  • Chicano Legacy mural
  • UC San Diego—recognized as one of the nation's greenest universities—opens the Sustainability Resource Center, a one-stop sustainability shop where students can learn about green jobs, sustainability-related topics, how to conserve energy and water, and find eco-friendly products.

  • For the first time, the prestigious Siebel Foundation recognizes the Jacobs School of Engineering’s pioneering efforts in bioengineering with a generous grant to fund fellowships for its top bioengineering graduate students.

  • Rady School of Management welcomes its inaugural class of doctoral students in the fall of 2009; an accounting minor for undergraduates is offered at Rady.

  • To address a critical need for undergraduate scholarships and graduate fellowships, the campus launches Invent the Future: the UC San Diego Student Support Campaign, a three-year, $50 million fundraising effort.

  • 2010 – Now

At the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology (Calit2), the HIPerSpace wall offers a high resolution display system for scientific visualization. It debuted as the world's biggest, in terms of pixels, with nearly 287 million pixels of screen resolution.

  • 2010

  • The Sanford Consortium for Regenerative Medicine breaks ground on its new building on UC San Diego land. The facility unites stem cell researchers and scientists from The Scripps Research Institute, Sanford-Burnham Medical Research Institute, Salk Institute for Biological Studies and UC San Diego.

  • For the first time, UC San Diego obtains $1 billion in research contracts and grants during a single fiscal year.

  • The U.S. Office of Naval Research selects Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego as the operator of a new scientific research vessel, scheduled to be in operation in 2015.

  • The Joan and Irwin Jacobs family pledge $75 million to UC San Diego Health System to build the Jacobs Medical Center. The extensive facility includes three new hospitals: the Cancer Hospital, the Hospital for Women and Infants and the Hospital for Advanced Surgery.

  • Jacobs Medical Center groundbreaking
  • Saving $8 million per year with its co-generation plant, UC San Diego wins an EPA energy-efficiency award.

  • Rae Armantrout, a poet and UC San Diego professor of writing and literature, wins the Pulitzer Prize in Poetry for her book “Versed.”

  • Rae Armantrout
  • A portion of the holdings of the Scripps Institution of Oceanography Library—the world’s largest oceanography library—are digitized and made available to anyone with Internet access.

  • The Health Sciences neighborhood's Arris Verde Graduate Student Housing opens in the fall, consisting of fully furnished apartments for roughly 450 graduate and professional students. This project is part of UC San Diego's goal to house 50 percent of its students on campus.

  • Marye Anne Fox, a world-renowned chemist and seventh chancellor of UC San Diego, is named by the White House as a recipient of the prestigious National Medal of Science.

  • Chancellor Marye Anne Fox with President Obama
  • UC San Diego celebrates its landmark 50th Anniversary with the inaugural Founders’ Day.

  • UC San Diego received a $2 million gift from longtime campus supporter Audrey Geisel to jumpstart the renovation of University House, the currently uninhabitable private residence for the UC San Diego Chancellor. 

  • The California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology (Calit2)—one of the world’s most advanced testbeds for scientific visualization, virtual/physical collaboration and ‘green’ computing—celebrates its 10th anniversary.

  • 2011

  • UC San Diego Medical Center performs the West Coast’s first implant of the world’s only FDA-approved total artificial heart.

  • Geisel Library celebrates its 40th anniversary. Today the building, named in honor of Theodor S. Geisel (Dr. Seuss) and his wife Audrey, has more than 250,000 books and 4,000 visitors a day. It has also been featured in numerous movies, television shows and commercials.

  • Bioengineering Professor Shu Chien receives the National Medal of Science from President Obama. Chien’s research has led to better tests and treatment of atherosclerosis.

  • "Fallen Star" by Do Ho Suh is installed on top of Jacobs Hall as the latest addition to the Stuart Collection of public art on campus. The installation consists of a house, cantilevered at an angle from the corner of the building, surrounded by a roof garden. 

  • Fallen Star
  • The Sanford Consortium for Regenerative Medicine opens on the UC San Diego campus. The new facility allows researchers from five institutions to work under one roof.

  • Former President Bill Clinton holds the Clinton Global Initiative University (CGI U) at UC San Diego. The three-day conference brings together 1,000 student social entrepreneurs from around the globe.

  • Former President Bill Clinton at CGI U
  • Scripps Institution of Oceanography is the third stop of the America’s Cup inaugural World Series of Sailing.

  • 2012

  • The campus hosts its first-ever Triton Day, a combination of Open House and Admit Day, drawing roughly 24,000 people to explore UC San Diego.

  • The Dalai Lama speaks on campus as part of his first visit to San Diego. The topic of the panel discussion is "The Global Impact of Climate Change: Balance through Universal Responsibility, Compassion and Human Consciousness."

  • The Dalai Lama
  • Sixth College celebrates its 10th Anniversary with events including a special performance by late-night talk show host Conan O’Brien.

  • Conan O'Brien
  • Wells Fargo Hall opens on the campus of UC San Diego’s Rady School of Management.

  • UC San Diego establishes a new Organized Research Unit that focuses on “Food and Fuel for the 21st Century.

  • The campus hosts its inaugural Good Life Festival to celebrate health and wellness while showcasing the wide variety of resources available on campus to support a balanced lifestyle.

  • Pradeep K. Khosla is named the 8th chancellor of UC San Diego. Formerly dean of Carnegie Mellon University’s highly regarded College of Engineering (also known as the Carnegie Institute of Technology), Khosla is an accomplished leader, educator and researcher.

  • Pradeep K. Khosla
  • 2013

  • The UC San Diego Arthur C. Clarke Center for Imagination is established to study the phenomena of imagination through engagement in the arts, literature, sciences, medicine and technology. The center pays homage to Arthur C. Clark, iconic innovator and author of "2001: A Space Odyssey."

  • The UC San Diego Arthur C. Clarke Center for Imagination
  • The Student Veterans Resource Center is launched to support the campus’s growing student veteran population by providing opportunities for students to connect with groups and resources.

  • Businessman and philanthropist T. Denny Sanford donates $100 million —the second largest gift received by UC San Diego in its 53-year history—to create the Sanford Stem Cell Clinical Center. The center will accelerate drug development and cell therapies derived from current human stem cell research.

  • Mario Molina, distinguished professor of chemistry and biochemistry, received the Presidential Medal of Freedom. The nation’s highest civilian honor, the White House also bestowed the award posthumously to Sally Ride, former professor emeritus in physics and first American woman in space.

  • Mario Molina
  • The Chancellor’s Associates Scholars program is launched to provide undergraduate scholarships—essentially a full ride—to eligible students from three local high schools that support historically under-served communities: Gompers Preparatory Academy, Lincoln High School and The Preuss School UCSD.

  • Chancellors Associates Scholars
  • Alumnus and author of “Sideways,”—a novel that inspired an Oscar-winning movie —Rex Pickett collaborates with Tony Award-winning director Des McAnuff to bring “Sideways” to the stage at the La Jolla Playhouse, located in UC San Diego’s Theatre District.

  • Side Ways
  • The UC San Diego computer science and engineering department receives an $18.5 million gift—the largest alumni gift in the university’s history. The funding supports five new faculty endowed chairs, top-of-the-line teaching labs, graduate student fellowships, and expanded mentoring and tutoring programs for the next generation of undergraduates and more.

  • UC San Diego opens the Black Resource Center. The space is designed for students to hold critical conversations, obtain academic support, non-academic counseling and leadership development resources, among other services.

  • In response to President Obama's "grand challenge" to chart the function of the human brain, UC San Diego launches the Center for Brain Activity Mapping.The funding supports five new faculty endowed chairs, top-of-the-line teaching labs, graduate student fellowships, and expanded mentoring and tutoring programs for the next generation of undergraduates and more.

  • From left, Nick Spitzer, Ralph Greenspan, and Terry Sejnowski.
  • Engineers invent a "nanosponge" capable of safely removing a broad class of dangerous toxins from the bloodstream – including toxins produced by MRSA, E. coli, poisonous snakes and bees. Each nanosponge can absorb tens to hundreds of toxins before it is eventually metabolized by the liver.

  • The first academic institution established by a major Chinese university in cooperation with a leading U.S. university, the Fudan-UC Center opens at UC San Diego to expand scholarship on contemporary China studies and enhance mutual understanding between the United States and China.

  • Shanghai Skyline
  • 2014

  • Chancellor’s Associates Scholars program is expanded to include eligible transfer students from San Diego City College, Southwestern College and Imperial Valley College, as well as students from federally recognized tribes and participants of Reality Changers—an inner city youth support program.

  • Chancellors Associates Scholars
  • New evidence that autism begins during pregnancy is discovered by researchers at the UC San Diego School of Medicine and the Allen Institute for Brain Science.

  • More than 1,500 new materials from the personal archive of author Theodor Seuss Geisel were donated by Audrey Geisel to the UC San Diego Library, including a variety of unpublished projects, such as “Cat Ballooning,” “The Pet Shop,” “Bee Watches,” and "Arabian Adventures."

  • This is what ART is about ... drawing
  • The J. Craig Venter Institute is launched—a $37 million research facility established by alumnus J. Craig Venter. Researchers focus on everything from continued sequencing and analysis of the human genome, to new research in synthetic biology and cataloging and sequencing of the vast unseen life in the world’s oceans, rivers and soils.

Special thanks to UC San Diego's Mandeville Special Collections Library, Scripps Institution of Oceanography Archives, and Oliver Asis for historical photos.