UC San Diego News Center


King Triton welcomes all members of the campus community to the Nov. 12 Farmers’ Market event. Photos by Erik Jepsen/UC San Diego Publications

Happy Founders Day UC San Diego!

Building the future of data science. Teaching kids how to code. Transforming abandoned oil rigs into artificial reefs. These are just three of the many ways that UC San Diego has worked to spark discovery and advance society since its establishment in 1960.

This year’s Founders Celebration highlights nearly 60 years of championing curious minds whose ideas challenge what we believe to be possible. It is also an opportunity to celebrate another significant landmark in our history: the achievement of the Campaign for UC San Diego $2 billion milestone in our journey toward a bold vision for the university’s future.

“Since the birth of our experimental campus, UC San Diego has encouraged collaboration between explorers, researchers and brilliant artistic minds to solve societal challenges and drive progress,” said Chancellor Pradeep K. Khosla. “Each year to commemorate our university’s founding, we celebrate our achievements, recommit to our Principles of Community, and renew our quest to redefine what it means to be a world-class public research university.”

On Nov. 12, the campus community kicked off the Founders Celebration festivities with a very special Farmers’ Market. Faculty, staff and students enjoyed a ceremonial cake cutting party complete with a pep band performance, cookies and giveaways in UC San Diego’s Town Square. To mark the historic occasion, campus leadership shared brief remarks recognizing the university’s journey in becoming one of the top 20 research institutions in the world.

“I think it’s really interesting that this university started as Scripps Institution of Oceanography and has grown into this incredibly huge research machine,” said Graduate Student Association President Rachel Flanagan, who spoke at the Nov. 12 campus event. As a fourth year Ph.D. student studying mechanical engineering, she was first drawn to UC San Diego’s impressive roster of accomplished scientists who are considered icons in their respective industries. “Founder’s Celebration to me is a remembrance of our university’s storied past—I think we have such an exciting history! But it’s also about looking forward to how we can make the future better and continue the non-tradition,” she added.


Graduate Student Association President Rachel Flanagan gives a high five to Associated Students President Eleanor Grudin at the Nov. 12 campus celebration.

At the campus celebration, Associated Students President Eleanor Grudin also acknowledged the impact of all those who have helped UC San Diego grow into the institution it is today. “We are reflecting on those who’ve contributed as faculty, staff, students and alumni to make UC San Diego a place where students are able to succeed and flourish into the individuals that become the changemakers in our communities,” she said.

In addition to the Nov. 12 event for the campus community, Chancellor Khosla will bestow the annual Chancellor’s and Revelle Medals upon a distinguished group of honorees as part of Founders Celebration. Receiving the Revelle Medal—which recognizes current and former faculty members for sustained, distinguished and extraordinary service to UC San Diego—will be Marjorie C. Caserio, Ann L. Craig, Lawrence B. Krause and Joseph W. Watson. This year’s awardees for the Chancellor’s Medal, one of the highest honors given by the university to recognize exceptional service in support of the campus’ mission, include Taner Halıcıoğlu ’96, the Gordon and Betty Moore Foundation, Iris Lynn and Matthew Strauss, and Andrew J. Viterbi.


The UC San Diego Pep Band performs for Founders Celebration attendees.

Officially founded on Nov. 18, 1960, UC San Diego was created to be a different kind of university than its Californian predecessors. As the seventh campus in the UC System, our founders were driven to design a unique institution that would produce scholars who think beyond conventional wisdom to improve the quality of human life. Almost six decades later, that same vision continues to unite the campus’ academic community and encourages students, faculty and researchers to look deeper.

We have lived up to our founders call to be distinctive. Today, UC San Diego is in the midst of a major transformation. Walk through campus and you can’t miss the physical changes that are coming to life. From new buildings and student housing to the arrival of the UC San Diego Blue Line trolley, the campus is set to become a true learning-living environment and a destination for art, culture, recreation and world-class patient care.

As the university enters its 59th year, we recognize UC San Diego’s impressive trajectory and future strides towards supporting the vision of its original founders.