Boy, you never know what a web search will come up with. Here, in all its innocence, is a 1970 take on UC Santa Cruz, courtesy of Life Magazine. It's a look back in the May, 8, 1970 issue, at all the promise that UCSC held back then, all under the title: "An old idea flowers anew at Santa Cruz." (Incongruously, Vice President Spiro Agnew is on the cover.)
"At Santa Cruz, overlooking Monterey Bay, the University of California has made a controversial addition to the chain of nine campuses that comprise its educational colossus... . Admittedly designed to educate an elite, like the ancient collegiate universities of Oxford and Cambridge on which it is modeled, Santa Cruz is devoted to the old-fashioned ideal of a broad liberal education."
You wouldn't see such a "gee whiz" article today. Magazine writers have changed. UCSC has changed. Students have changed. The economy has changed. "Sponteneity is the rule at Santa Cruz and students are encouraged to express themselves in many media," says one long picture caption. "In a courtyard near the sea at Cowell College drama students stage an impromptu happening before beginning an encounter session at the beach."
The article follows the hopes and dreams of a Ron Richardson, who transfered from UCLA to Santa Cruz "seeking an understanding of life -- not careers."
Frank Andrews, then a preceptor at Crown College who was to retire in 2006, laments the state of education and says his students "come to us so scarred by education, in a state of suppressed rage, so crammed with facts and pushed to compete for grades that they have no idea who they are or why they should think." The article also features the late Noel King -- referred to in the article as "the bearded Noel King."
Indeed, the Life writer comments that fully two-fifths of the students "fell into a category identifiable by their lack of concern about making money, their dissatisfaction with the competitive qualities of American life and the subculture of the suburbs where most of them grew up (and) their determination to build a life different from that of their parents."
The description of UCSC as the "university different" is an idea that really hasn't died. Of course, the old city on the hill has become far more traditional since the early days. But this Life Magazine article is a revealing look at how the university was founded.