The University of California, Irvine (UCI or UC Irvine) is a public land-grant research university. UCI, one of the ten campuses of the University of California system, provides 87 undergraduate degrees and 129 graduate and professional degrees, and as of Fall 2019, around 30,000 undergraduates and 6,000 graduate students are enrolled at UCI. The university is designated as “R1: Doctoral Universities – Very high research activity,” with $436.6 million in R&D spending in 2018. In 1996, UCI joined the Association of American Universities. In 1985 and 2001 polls comparing publicly funded colleges that the authors said provide an education similar to the Ivy League, the university was regarded as one of the “Public Ivies.”
The institution also manages the UC Irvine Medical Center and its linked health sciences system, as well as the University of California, Irvine Arboretum and a component of the University of California Natural Reserve System. The University of California, Irvine, established the first Earth System Science Department in the United States.
UC Irvine was one of three new UC campuses constructed in the 1960s to handle the UC system’s expanding enrollment. A site in Orange County was selected in 1959, and the Irvine Company sold the University of California 1,000 acres (400 ha) of land for one dollar the following year to create the new campus. President Lyndon B. Johnson dedicated the campus in 1964, and President Barack Obama delivered a commencement speech fifty years later.
As of January 2022, the university had 8 Nobel laureates, 7 Pulitzer Prize winners, 6 MacArthur “Genius Grant” recipients, 37 Guggenheim Fellows, and 1 Turing Award winner as alumni, faculty, or researchers.
The UC Irvine Anteaters are members of the Big West Conference and participate in NCAA Division I. The teams competed at the NCAA Division II level in the early years of the school’s existence. The Anteaters have won 28 national championships in nine different team sports, 64 individual national championships, and 53 trips to the Olympics, winning a total of 33 Olympic medals.
The central campus is laid out in the shape of a rough circle, with Aldrich Park (formerly known as Central Park) in the center, flanked by the Ring Mall and buildings surrounding the road. Academic units are positioned relative to the center to emphasize the arrangement, with undergraduate schools being closer to the center than graduate schools.
Aldrich Park has about 11,120 trees (the entire campus has over 24,000 trees), including 33 types of eucalyptus. In 1990, two ceremonial trees were planted, one for Arbor Day and the other for previous chancellor Daniel Aldrich, who died that year. On the first anniversary of the September 11th attacks, the chancellor planted a bay laurel tree in honor of the heroes and victims of that day. The tree itself was given as a gift by the UCI Staff Assembly. “Wayzgoose,” a medieval student event hosted each year in connection with the “Celebrate UCI” open house, is held in Aldrich Park. It also hosts a wide range of extracurricular activities.
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