Crown College:

The Early Years

O Pioneers!
The classes of 1968 to 1972


Updated April 18, 2023

We were an odd, selected, and self-selected crew at a special time and place. Rather than go to Berkeley, UCLA, Cal Tech or an Ivy League, we each decided to join an experiment in undergraduate education. No grades. Small classes. Direct relationships with faculty members (who had also self-selected to be there). Vietnam sparked self-reflection and political action. All this among the redwoods, Alan Chadwick’s garden, and a view of Monterey Bay and the Pacific, stretching to the horizon.

There were no traditions. We were pioneers. And, like pioneers in other times, we were both independent of and dependent upon each other. We created a community of seekers after truth. The luckiest among us found life-long partners. All of us found friends.

Now, Crown College is at a crossroads. Unlike the ‘60s and ‘70s, many college programs and activities that formed the unique college identities now require financial support from the colleges themselves. The college concept that we enjoyed will continue to shrink in importance unless the provosts have sufficient funds to maintain and enhance the unique college programs and activities. The distinctive features of Crown College that were most meaningful to us–the small classes, the friendships with faculty, the unique core courses, and the pleasure of living with, dining with, and attending classes and college nights with our Crown cohort–are all at risk of vanishing. 


We want you to join us in preserving the best things about Crown College for future generations. We have set a goal of raising $1,000,000 for the Crown College Endowment Fund and the Crown College Current Fund to ensure that current and future provosts have the funds to preserve Crown’s identity. As of today, we’ve raised $920,000 for the Crown College Endowment Fund and the Crown College Current Fund. We are nearly there! Only $80,000 to go until we reach the $1,000,000 goal.

Thanks to a generous matching grant of $400,000 from an anonymous Crown alumnus, for every dollar donated to Crown in 2023, one dollar is added to the donation. The important takeaway is that as of April 18, 2023, $60,000 still remains in the 1:1 matching grant fund UNTIL July 1, 2023. As you can imagine, we really want to take advantage of this gift which will help get us to our goal of $1,000,000. And we would like you to be part of this plan.

After tracking the previous donations, we found that many of you preferred to give between $2,000 and $10,000, not all at once, but spread out over two to five years. The anonymous donor and the UCSC Alumni Engagement team gave their approval of up to a five-year pledge that would be eligible for the full 100% match. Here’s how it works:

1. Make a pledge of any amount to be paid over five years beginning in 2023. The most popular pledge amounts have been $2,000, $5,000, and $10,000.

2. At the time of your pledge, pay the first installment.

3. As soon as you pay the first installment, UCSC will apply the 100% match to your total pledge amount quickly bringing us closer to our goal. 

4. Continue to make your annual payments until your pledge is fulfilled.

If the above approach fits into your financial plans, you can make your pledge and earn the 100% match today. Please complete this form, enclose a check for the amount of your first payment, and mail the form and check to: UC Santa Cruz Foundation, Attn: Gift Administration, 1156 High St, Santa Cruz, CA 95064.


Formed Reunion Committee

In April 2020, three members of the Crown Provost Advisory Committee volunteered to lead the planning for a 50th reunion of the classes of ’70 and ’71. We are from left to right: Su Nerton (Crown ’71), Jim Lapsley (Crown ’71), and Lisa Rose (Crown ’72).

Held Focus Groups

In April 2020, we emailed the classes of ’70 and ’71 for focus group volunteers. Two Zoom meetings were held in May to identify general preferences upon which we could base a survey to be emailed to alumni of the classes of ’70 and ’71. 

Created a Website

In the summer of 2020, we created this website. The aim is to reacquaint ourselves with the Crown community of the early years, bring us together in the spring of 2022, and pave the way for new and renewed friendships.

Altered Reunion Plans

As the pandemic raged, we postponed the in-person 50th reunion of the classes of ’70, ’71, and ’72 until April 2022. But then, we had a wild idea, let’s have a combined 50th reunion of the classes of ’68, ’69, ’70, ’71, and ’72, bringing together all the founding students of Crown College. What a great idea! Find out what’s happening and how you can help.