How I got to UCSC
I graduated from high school in 1968. Based on his own experience, my grades, and finances my father stipulated that I was going to the University of California and that I would live away from home. In the summer of 1967, we made a tour of UC campuses to help decide where I wanted to apply.
My father was born and raised in Montana and loved the wilderness. From the time his family was quite young we went “camping” every chance we got. I remember the smelly old canvas tent with the precarious center pole that you couldn’t touch the sides of when it was raining or it would leak, and I remember pushing my toys around in the dirt of our campsites. When we were old enough, we started hiking in the Sierra which we all fell in love with in spite of initially wildly inadequate equipment. My summer job from high school and throughout college was working for the Sierra Club cooking on group hiking trips in the Sierra.
My grandfather lived in Carmel and we had often visited the southern Monterey Bay as we were growing up, but oddly had never ventured to Santa Cruz. In 1967 when we got to the base of campus, the eminently Californian grassy hills, and started up the curving road toward the redwood forest I was charmed. When we got to the big trees, I knew I had found my home. I loved the way the buildings snuggled into the forest – seemingly part of nature. I loved the detached design of the campus, knowing that as I went to class I would be walking through the forest. I loved the college concept and the size! My high school in Los Angeles had 4000 students, and my high school graduating class was over 1000.
I applied with UCSC as my first choice – San Diego and Santa Barbara as 2nd and 3rd, but I really didn’t want to go anywhere but UCSC. I remember writing an essay to accompany my application (which I believe was required). Oddly as I remember, mine was primarily about music (I had studied piano for 10 years and was pretty serious about it) – about discipline and beauty. I still have no idea why I was accepted to UCSC – my grades and SAT scores were good, but not spectacular, the competition was fierce, but it sure was the right place for me.
I believe most people can identify a particularly special time in their life when they had critically important experiences, learned pivotal things about themselves, and made lifelong friends. UCSC was that time for me.