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A Foundation for the Future: UC San Diego
Celebrates 50 Years of Achieving the Extraordinary

Laura Margoni | June 13, 2011

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From left, UC President Mark Yudof with Chancellor Marye Anne Fox, UC President Emeritus and former UC San Diego Chancellor from 1996-2003, Robert Dynes and UC President Emeritus Richard Atkinson, who served as Chancellor of UC San Diego from 1980-1995.

From honoring the university’s founders to highlighting the campus’ ongoing transformation into a living laboratory of sustainable solutions, UC San Diego celebrated its landmark 50th anniversary with a variety of special events and activities designed to engage the campus and San Diego community while highlighting historic milestones, remarkable achievements and innovative firsts.

“Celebrating our 50th anniversary this year gave us a chance to reflect on and share the many achievements of UC San Diego faculty, students, alumni, staff and friends,” said Chancellor Marye Anne Fox. “The university has had a positive impact on San Diego and the world, and now we look forward to an exciting future of continuing to achieve the extraordinary.”

The celebration kicked off in September 2010 and concludes this month with Alumni Weekend. All 50th Anniversary activities gave UC San Diego a chance to highlight its achievements and transformation from a fledgling campus housed on former military land to a world-class academic and research institution ranked among the top 10 public universities in the nation. Celebratory events were designed to engage the campus and greater San Diego community, raising the visibility of the university and heightening awareness of its impact. These included:

  • Celebrate50 – November 13, 2010

    Nearly 700 converged in RIMAC to pay homage and celebrate UC San Diego's 50th Anniversary.

    View Celebrate50 slideshow
    Members of the UC San Diego community paid homage to the campus at Celebrate50, a fundraising event in honor of UC San Diego's 50th Anniversary. The event benefited “Invent the Future: The UC San Diego Student Support Campaign,” which raises funds for undergraduate scholarships and graduate fellowships. Guests experienced, through music, dance and video, the historic events and people that marked UC San Diego's transformation over the last five decades. As part of the dinner and reception, Chancellor’s Medals were also awarded to two individuals and three couples—the most at one time in the university’s history—to recognize outstanding support and service to UC San Diego. Honorees included Pauline Foster, Audrey Geisel, Irwin and Joan Jacobs, Jerome and Miriam Katzin, and Ernest and Evelyn Rady. The Chancellor’s Medal is one of the highest honors given by UC San Diego.
  • Founders’ Day – November 18, 2010

    Founder's Day
    A crowd of more than 1,400 turned out for Founders' Day on the UC San Diego campus Thursday. The celebration included a procession by founding faculty and staff, as well as members of the campus' first graduating class.

    View Founders' Day slideshow
    Held in honor of UC San Diego’s founders and the vision they had in creating a world-class institution, Founders’ Day brought together members of the campus community to commemorate the exact date when officials signed the documents that established the campus in 1960. The event boasted a fun, street festival atmosphere and featured a cadre of eminent speakers including Walter Munk, a professor emeritus at UC San Diego's Scripps Institution of Oceanography, who reminisced about his friendship with Roger Revelle. The crowd was also entertained by musicians, singers, cheerleaders and dancers as well as special concert by Top 10 Billboard band Far East Movement.
  • IDEaS (Innovation Day Expo and Symposia) – February 22-25, 2011

    Innovation Day Expo and Symposia (IDEaS) featured a dynamic series of alumni talks, live demonstrations, hands-on exhibits and the opportunity to engage and network with UCSD innovators.
    UC San Diego welcomed the campus and local community to Innovation Day Expo and Symposia (IDEaS) to celebrate and share the exciting discoveries, breakthroughs and innovation emerging from the university. The weeklong series of dynamic talks featured leaders in the arts, sciences, technology, medicine, education and diversity who have made a positive impact in San Diego, the nation and the world. IDEaS concluded with the Innovation Day Expo, which showcased dozens of innovators who found their inspiration at UCSD and came to show off their work with hands-on demonstrations in a wide range of specialties. One such innovator was UC San Diego alumnus Kip Fulbeck ’88, M.F.A. ’92, the world renowned spoken word artist, filmmaker and author whose work explores multiracial identity. Fulbeck presented the popular expo keynote address: “What Are You? The Changing Face of America.”
  • Green Open House – April 16, 2011

    Green Open House
    Visitors to UC San Diego's Green Open House enjoyed a green car show, faculty demonstrations, a children's zone, a green business summit and many other activities and attractions. More than 3,500 people from all over San Diego County turned out for the event.

    View Green Open House slideshow
    For the final 50th anniversary signature event, UC San Diego hosted an open house to celebrate its history of pioneering global climate research and its transformation into a living laboratory of sustainable solutions. But it wasn’t all academics; “The UC San Diego Green Open House: A Living Laboratory” kicked off the university’s Earth Week celebration with fun for the entire family including a Clean and Green car show, entertainment, landscape exhibits, cooking demos, health screenings and much more. People from throughout San Diego County came to campus to learn more about UC San Diego’s sustainable practices and innovations, as well as how they could change their own environments and live cleaner, greener lives.

UC San Diego’s 50th anniversary wasn’t only about events. As part of the yearlong celebration, the university launched Volunteer50: Chancellor’s Call to Service encouraging all members of the UC San Diego community to perform at least 50 hours of volunteer service during the anniversary celebration. In addition to supporting the university’s mission of service, Volunteer50 showcased the widespread and diverse contributions of the university’s faculty, staff, students and alumni. More than 3,000 volunteers donated over 62,000 hours, far exceeding the program’s 50,000 hour goal.

Ice Cream
Chancellor Fox hosted an ice cream social on June 3 to thank those involved with the 50th anniversary commemoration, including participants of Volunteer50.

Chancellor Fox also recognized the tireless efforts of all faculty, staff, students, alumni, community leaders, donors and other volunteers involved in the 50th anniversary by hosting an ice cream social earlier this month. The fun, casual event was a way to thank everyone for their hard work on behalf of the university.  The yearlong celebration wraps up this week with the upcoming Alumni Weekend, June 16-19, which celebrates the intellectual, entrepreneurial, cultural and economic power of UC San Diego’s 130,000 alumni.

The anniversary also served to highlight the importance of student support. Attracting the best and brightest students is integral to UC San Diego’s ability to advance research and impact the regional economy. Because of this, the “Invent the Future” campaign has been the fundraising beneficiary of 50th Anniversary events including the Celebrate50 reception and dinner. The goal of the university’s ongoing student support campaign is to raise $50 million to help fund scholarships and fellowships, ensuring that talented students of all backgrounds have access to a world-class education at UC San Diego. Through this campaign, the campus will continue to sustain and educate the leaders of tomorrow — students who will become the next generation of innovators, trained to lead the region and nation in extraordinary achievement.

UC San Diego was fortunate to have generous sponsors that stepped forward to help support 50th Anniversary celebration events and activities. These sponsors included:

  • Visionary Sponsors: Sempra Energy (Lead Sponsor Green Open House); Cubic Corporation; and Qualcomm
  • Innovator Sponsors: VOLT
  • Overachiever Sponsor: Cymer, Inc.
  • True Blue Triton Sponsors: BKM/Steelcase; Classic Party Rentals; Consolidated Electrical Distributors, Inc. (CED); Swinerton Builders
  • Supporting Sponsors: Clark Construction; Skidmore, Owings and Merrill; Turner Construction Company; USE Credit Union; and Webcor Builders
  • Media Partners: Clear Channel Communications; Diego 91.7/La Mejor FM 99.3; KFMB-TV/CBS 8 San Diego; KURS 1040 AM; and the San Diego Union-Tribune

Now, as UC San Diego concludes its landmark year, the university will continue to build on its foundation as one of the nation’s leading academic and research institutions, and strive for another 50 years of discovery and innovation.

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