First Day of Classes

Students walk on campus on the first day of classes
Students walk on campus on the first day of classes

On October 4, 1965, UC Irvine officially opened to welcome its students, staff and faculty.  Originally 1,000 students were to be accepted for the fall opening, but by the spring of 1965 the University had already accepted more than 1,500.  The final tally for the first day of classes was 1,589 students, 241 staff members, 119 faculty, and 43 teaching assistants.  From opening day Bachelor's, Master's, and Ph.D. degrees were offered.

Many students had participated in orientation the preceding week.  Faculty members held two-hour meetings with their students to discuss the book The Aims of Education, which was suggested reading for incoming students.  The familial atmosphere of these meetings was evident in the fact that many of the gatherings took place at professors' homes.

The first day of classes was perhaps the only time in its history that the campus population outnumbered the trees.  Landscaping had barely begun in October, but it quickly gained speed over the course of the first year.  With only a handful of buildings completed and others under construction, students bustled to and from buildings along dusty trails to attend classes and lectures.  Spare time on campus was spent studying or gathering to eat, since so few student facilities existed.

Samuel McCulloch, Instant University (Irvine: University of California, Irvine, 1996), 53-55

Photograph: University of California, Irvine, early campus photograph albums. AS-056, Box 4. Special Collections and Archives, The UC Irvine Libraries, Irvine, California. Accessed Dec. 1, 2017.