Let There Be Light


The origins University of California (UC) are found in the California Constitution which mandates a state educational system and university. The first UC established was Berkeley which grew from a small private boys' school founded in 1853 as the Contra Coasta Academy and became the known as the College of California two years later when school founder Henry Durant and Oakland citizens banded together.

From the beginning, the College of California, hoped to become a full-fledged university and eventually purchased some 160 acres that now forms the core of the Berkeley campus. At the same time, the state was pressing for a university. In 1862, the state legislature applied for 160,000 acres to create a college of agriculture and mechanical arts under the Morrill Land Grant Act. However, there was still no physical site. Meanwhile, the College of California had a site, but limited finances.

With this interesting situtation, the trustees of the College of the California offered to disincorporate and transfer their land and buildings to the state under the stipulation that the original idea of a college of agriculture and mechanical arts be repealed and instead a full university be created.

So on March 23, 1868 the Organic Act was passed by California governor Henry H. Haight and the University of California was founded.


The Campuses of the University of California

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