(Grey Villet/LIFE magazine, via Google Arts & Culture)
An academic ‘catcher in the rye’: the genesis of UC Santa Cruz
One of the University of California system’s 10 campuses is not like the others. Founded in 1965, the university at Santa Cruz was modeled on the “living and learning” environments of Oxford and Cambridge. Students and professors would eat, sleep, and study in close proximity at one of a number of small colleges spread across the redwood forest overlooking Monterey Bay, creating an intimacy absent from larger institutions. Instead of grades, students would get written evaluations charting their growth as scholars.
Four years into the experiment, at the height of the counterculture movement, a reporter and a photographer for LIFE magazine went to UC Santa Cruz and met students who portrayed the institution as a sort of academic “catcher in the rye,” turning directionless young adults into seekers with a philosophy of life. Ron Richardson, a sophomore, explained: “What’s come clear here is that there’s wonder in doing anything — fixing a car, singing, reading, thinking, gardening. To sustain a sense of wonder in learning is what education should be all about. That’s what it really is all about here.”
See a selection of the photos by Grey Villet below, and more here. 👉 Google Arts & Culture
This article is from the California Sun, a newsletter that delivers must-read stories to your inbox each morning . Sign up here.
Get your daily dose of the Golden State.