Before thousands of students populated the University of California, San Diego campus, approximately 1,200 acres of the university were occupied by soldiers-in-training and at least 15 shooting facilities, including rifle, pistol and skeet ranges. From 1917 to 1964, over a million marines and other shooters received their rifle marksmanship training at Camp Matthews, located in La Jolla, in what is now known as the UC San Diego campus. The base officially closed in 1964, when the Marine Corps transferred the Camp Matthews military base to UC San Diego—the same year the campus’s first undergraduate class entered the university.
On Monday, Oct. 6, UC San Diego’s Veterans Association will celebrate the 50th anniversary of the historic land transfer with a special ceremony to be held at 9 a.m. in Town Square, located in the center of the UC San Diego campus.
“We are grateful for our continued partnership with the Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego and all of our military partners,” said Chancellor Pradeep K. Khosla. “UC San Diego is a strong supporter of our military and veterans, and we are committed to supporting our student veterans, all of whom have made significant contributions to our campus and our nation.”
Leaders from the Marine Corps Recruit Depot San Diego will participate in the anniversary service, as will the Marine Corps Band and Color Guard. The service will also be featuring a guest of honor, Jerry Kranz, an Iwo Jima First Wave Survivor. Other event attendees include Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Juan González; alumnus and former San Diego City Councilmember Sherry Lightener; and family members of UC San Diego’s founding Chancellor, the late Herb York.
The Oct. 6 event is designed to celebrate both UC San Diego’s historical ties to the military as well as the campus’s ongoing mission to support veterans who are part of the campus community.
The commemoration will be held near the Camp Matthews monument, where a transition ceremony originally took place in 1964 to honor the land transfer. The monument is adjacent to the campus’s main flagpole, which is the original flagpole of the military base.
The UC San Diego Veterans Association is open to faculty, staff, students, alumni and community members to raise awareness and promote respect and appreciation for the sacrifices and contributions made by U.S. Armed Forces.
UC San Diego currently has about 250 students who are veterans and active duty military. Last fall, UC San Diego established a Student Veterans Resource Center (SVRC), dedicated to supporting the growing student veteran population. Located on the second floor of the Student Center, the Student Veterans Resource Center includes 1,600 square feet of lounge, meeting, office and kitchen space. Through the center, students can access information about campus resources and connect with a community of student, faculty and staff veterans.
For more information on the history of UC San Diego, go to: http://ucsd.edu/timeline/.