University of California History

Since its creation by the 1868 Organic Act, the ten-campus University of California system has been a potent force in California’s emergence as one of the most diverse and dynamic societies in the world.   CSHE research on the University’s rich history has produced a definitive account of the origins of California’s Master Plan for Higher Education; analyses of the growth of the UC system and its place in American higher education; and studies of presidential administrations, defining policy issues, and the birth of the first new research university of the twenty-first century, UC Merced.   Current projects include a book-length study of the role of the University in the founding of the Sierra Club and the National Park Service and research on the organizational foundations of the UC system.

Chapters in the History of the University of California

Vol. 1, Henry F. May, Three Faces of Berkeley: Competing Ideologies in the Wheeler Era. 1993

Vol. 2, Gunther Barth, California's Practical Period: A Cultural Context of the Emerging University, 18050s-1870s. 1994

Vol. 3, Eugene C. Lee, The Origins of the Chancellorship: The Buried Report of 1948. 1995

Vol. 4, Geraldine Joncich Clifford, "Equally in View:" the University of California, its Women, and the Schools. 1995

Vol. 5, Roy Lowe, A Western Acropolis of Learning: The University of California in 1897. 1996

Vol. 6, Kent Watson,The University in the 1870s: William Hammond Hall and the Original Campus Plan and Peter S. Van Houten, The University and Constitutional Convention of 1878. 1996

Vol. 7, Gene A. Brucker, Henry F. May and David A. Hollinger, History at Berkeley: A Dialog in Three Parts. 1998 Part 1Part 2

UC History Publications by CSHE Researchers and Affiliates

Clark Kerr’s World of Higher Education Reaches the Twenty-first Century: Chapters in a Special History

Entrepreneurial President: Richard Atkinson and the University of California, 1995-2003

Clark Kerr’s University of California: Leadership, Diversity and Planning in Higher Education

The OECD, the Master Plan, and the California Dream

Reflections on the University of California: From the Free Speech Movement to the Global University

From Rangeland to the Research University: The Birth of the University of California, Merced

The Conditions for Admission: Access, Equity, and the Social Contract of Public Universities

The Pursuit of Knowledge: Speeches and Papers of Richard C. Atkinson

A Brief History of the University of California

Clark Kerr Memoirs: "The Gold and the Blue: A Personal Memoir of the University of California, 1949-1967"

The California Idea and American Higher Education, 1850 to the 1960 Master Plan.

Chronicle of the University of California