"UCSD at 50: A Marvel Inside a Miracle" Highlights UCSD Milestones

An exhibit of materials from the UC San Diego Archives highlighting milestones in UCSD's 50-year history are on display through January 30, 2011 at Geisel Library. "UCSD at 50: A Marvel Inside a Miracle," showcases a wide range of historic photographs, early maps and plans, press releases, and correspondence, as well as student newspapers, yearbooks, college t-shirts, and a shovel from significant campus groundbreakings. The UCSD Archives are the official repository of historical materials about UCSD, and are housed in the Mandeville Special Collections Library.

Photographs on display range from the quirky-the first — ever watermelon drop from Urey Hall in 1965, the university's oldest and perhaps geekiest tradition — to the iconic — photographs and plans showing the Geisel Library in its various stages of development in the late 1960s and early 1970s. Photos from UCSD's illustrious past include movie star Gregory Peck with Muir College Provost John Stewart examining plans for the new La Jolla Playhouse. Also included are images from the ceremony to transfer the Camp Matthews property to the University of California — including the official key — as well as photos from the tumultuous '60s, when controversial philospher Herbert Marcuse was on the UCSD faculty, and activist Angela Davis was a graduate student.

Photos of commencement ceremonies include one of legendary UC President Clark Kerr, who spoke at the university's 1985 convocation on UCSD's 25th anniversary. Kerr, who spearheaded the development of the California Master Plan for Higher Education, delivered the "Marvel Inside a Miracle" speech from which the exhibit takes its name: "The advance of this campus to a peak position among the 3,200 institutions of higher education in the U.S. is one of the few academic marvels of all history," said Kerr. "So I should like to sketch briefly, on this occasion celebrating this remarkable history, some of the ingredients, as I saw them, which made possible this marvel. The miracle behind the marvel is that these ingredients all came together at the right time and, as it turned out, the one and only right time. Ten years, or even five years, later would have been too late; and earlier would equally not have been possible. Thus we shall be looking at a marvel inside a miracle."

To help celebrate UCSD's 50th anniversary, the Mandeville Special Collections Library has developed a new and permanent UCSD History Web site that will continue to provide public access to historic UCSD photographs and other documents after the 50th anniversary is over. Check out the Web site at: https://libraries.ucsd.edu/historyofucsd

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