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University of California, Riverside

University of California, Riverside

Being among 10 general campuses for University of California, University of California, Riverside is a public research university also known as UC Riverside or UCR. UCR’s main campus resides on 1,900 acres within Riverside, CA. Another 20 acres is designated for the branch campus located in Palm Desert. Originally founded as UC Citrus Experiment Station in 1907, biological pest control had pioneered research conducted in Riverside, along with the growth regulators responsible for the extended growing season of citrus fruit within California, changing from just four months to nine months. Additionally, some of the most significant research collections in the world regarding entomology and citrus diversity, including photography and science fiction is located within Riverside.

In 1954, the University of California, Riverside established their undergraduate College of Letters and Science division. UCR was declared by Regents of the University of California as a general campus in 1959. In 1961, graduate students began being admitted. By 2015, there were 21,000 students enrolled at UCR. To accommodate for this number, there has been over $730 million invested since 1999 for new constructions. In October 2012, the UC Riverside School of Medicine received preliminary accreditation, with the first class starting August 2013, with 50 students. Officially the first new research based public medical school to be accredited in 40 years.

The University of California, Riverside is consistently ranked among the most economically and ethnically diverse universities within the U.S. In 2016, the university tied for 58th according to the U.S. News & World Report for Best Colleges among public universities. Meanwhile, it tied for 121st place on the nationwide ranking with 16+ graduate school programs that includes Bourns College of Engineering and Graduate School of Education based around student selectivity, peer assessments, financial resources, and various factors. The UCR was ranked number 2 in the U.S. according to Washington Monthly in regard to research, social mobility, and community services. Meanwhile, it was ranked 5th by the U.S. News for ethnical diversity and the number of Pell Grant receiving undergraduates (42%). Thus, making the University of California, Riverside the 15th most economically diverse within the U.S.

Almost two-thirds of students at University of California, Riverside graduate within 6 years with no regards of economic disparity. Because of the university’s extensive retention and outreach programs, they are frequently considered to hold a reputation as being the ‘campus of choice’ for the minority students, which includes LGBT students. Furthermore, the University of California, Riverside became the first university campus in the United States to offer gender-neutral housing options to students.

The sports team for UCR is referred to as the Highlanders and play within the National Collegiate Athletic Association’s Big West Conference (Division I). The name had been inspired from the campus’s higher altitude, being positioned among the Box Springs Mountain foothills. The University of California, Riverside women’s basketball team had won the Big West Companionships in 2006, and again in 2007.

For the 2007 season, the men’s baseball team had won their first conference championship, advancing to regionals for the second time since 2001, when the university joined Division I.


During the beginning of the 20th century, Southern California had become a key producer for citrus fruits, which was the main agricultural export in the region. The citrus industry had developed from the first two navel orange trees planted in Eliza Tibbets’ garden within Riverside in 1873. With careful care, Tibbets used leftover dishwater to water the trees and ensure their survival and they flourished. They would later be coined Washington navel oranges and become one of the leading citrus fruits grown in the state of California due to their ability to be packaged and shipped long distances.

On February 14th, 1907, 23 acres on Mount Rubidoux’s eastern slope was dedicated to the establishment of the UC Citrus Experiment Station in Riverside. Experiments were conducted by the station in the irrigation, fertilization, and crop improvement. In 1917, the station had been relocated to a larger 475 acre site by Box Springs Mountain.

During WWII the GI Bills 1944 passage started the motion for increases in college enrollments which led to the University system in California being expanded. Meanwhile, a local group of civic leaders and citrus growers, which included many University of California, Berkeley alumni had aggressively lobbied for the University of California administered liberal arts college by the CES. Furthermore, Philip L. Boyd (former Assemblyman), Nelson Dilworth (State Senator), and John Babbage (Riverside State Assemblyman) had instrumentally shepherded the legislation through State legislation. In 1949, the bill was signed by Governor Earl Warren, which allocated $2 million for construction of the initial campus.

College of Letters and Science of UCLA’s dean, Gordon S. Watkins had become the initial provost of the new Riverside college. At first, the college was considered to be a small college for the purpose of devoting education of liberal arts, the campus construction was ordered to build to a maximum capacity of 1,500 students, while various younger junior faculty members were recruited to fill the positions of teaching. Additionally, the opening on February 14th, 1954 was presided with 127 students and 65 faculty members, with the statement “Never has so few been educated by so many”.

By 1958, when Clark Kerr had become president of the University of California system, the enrollment for UCR had reached more than 1,000 students. The baby boom generation had an anticipated ‘tidal wave’ for growth in enrollment that required Kerr to develop the California Master Plan for Higher Education while designating Riverside the location for a generalized university campus later in 1959.Herman Theodore Spieth, the first chancellor at University of California, Riverside had overseen the schools transition into a full university with a capacity expansion to 5,000 students. Ivan Hinderaker, the second chancellor at UCR headed the campus through the free speech movement era while maintaining peaceful student protests within Riverside. Based on an interview in 1998 with Hinderaker, Riverside city had gained negative press coverage in 1971 due to the smog when Governor Ronald Reagan had been asked by the mayor to declare a disaster area for South Coast Air Basin.

 “A brief history of the University of California”. Academic Personnel and Programs. The University of California, Office of the President. Retrieved 17 October 2017.