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The History of Revelle College at UC San Diego

In 1964, the first undergraduates enroll at UC San Diego. A basic curriculum would prepare students for majors in the humanities, the social sciences, the biological sciences, the physical sciences, and mathematics. The first undergraduate library was established in Building E, which is now known as Galbraith Hall. Between 1964 and 1965, approximately 560 students and 140 faculty members studied and taught at UC San Diego. Through the lens of time we develop an understanding of where we began, our travels along the way, and where we are now...

Academic Heritage

Revelle College, the first college at UC San Diego, was founded in the early 1960's when nationally the Great Books Programs, piloted by The University of Chicago and Columbia University, influenced Humanities curricula; and a post-Sputnik resurgence of Science and Mathematics shaped Universities' technical programs. The original Revelle College faculty believed that the educated American should be acquainted with the specific and fundamental disciplines: all graduates should know some of the literature, art, science and social issues that define our culture.

Revelle College's core course, the Humanities sequence, has the highest percentage of senior faculty instructors of all the University’s core courses, and the Revelle faculty has included Nobel Prize winners such as Harold Urey, Francis Crick, and recently, Professor Roger Tsien, Nobel Laureate in Chemistry.

The Curriculum ~ 1968

The initiation of Revelle College in 1964 provided the faculty with the opportunity to design a complete undergraduate curriculum for some of the country’s best-prepared students. Between 1964 and 1965, approximately 560 students and 140 faculty members studied and taught at UC San Diego. The faculty asked the fundamental question: What should an educated person know? The Revelle College general education requirements offer a specific but broad introduction to the academic disciplines of the university. A student graduating from Revelle College will have attained

  1. a basic knowledge of calculus; foreign language; the physical, biological, and social sciences; the fine arts; and the humanities
  2. a high level of competence in an academic discipline 

First Chancellor, UC San Diego - Herbert York

First Provost, Revelle College - Edward D. Goldberg

Founding Department Chairs

  • Aeronautical and Mechanical Engineering Sciences — Stanford Sol Penner
  • Biology — David Bonner
  • Chemistry — James Arnold
  • Linguistics — Leonard Newmark
  • Literature — Roy Harvey Pearce
  • Mathematics — Stephen Warschawski
  • Philosophy — Richard Popkin
  • Physics — Keith Brueckner
  • Psychology — George Mandler