UC Riverside was founded as an addition to the UC system in 1954. With the increase in students by the GI Bill, the UC schools were becoming overcrowded, and Riverside became necessary to deal with the overflow.
The school was built to handle a maximum of 1500 students, however it was quickly apparent that this would not be enough for the baby boom generation, and the school made rapid strides towards becoming the 15,000-student institution that it is today.
UCR’s campus, located approximately three miles from downtown Riverside, is 1,112 acres of land divided neatly down the middle by Route 60. The freeway down the center of campus creates two separate areas. East Campus contains the oldest buildings, constructed when the campus was first founded. The major academic buildings are located on this side.
West Campus is currently undergoing massive expansion: nearly half still consists of citrus groves. The developed half of West Campus is occupied by student housing and University Village, a commercial development which features stores, restaurants and even a movie theater.
Riverside, California, is the 61st largest city in the country, with a population of nearly 300,000 people. Students, tell us that Riverside, though close, is not really known for being a college town, and most nights are either spent on campus or in Los Angeles, which is only a short drive away.
Riverside does have a reputation for having a high rate of crime. However, thanks to increases in crime prevention, this number has been steadily declining.
Supposedly, students involved in a particular frat (no word on which) on campus have made it a tradition to streak through Physics 2000 once a year.
Given that the sports teams at UC Riverside are known as the highlanders, there is often bagpiping at sporting events.
Steven Breen (1992) is a Pulitzer Prize-winning editorial cartoonist.
Billy Collins was the 11th poet laureate of the US, serving from 2001 to 2003. Collins was then selected as New York State Poet for 2004.
Rod Pacheco (1980) is the Riverside County, CA district attorney.
Richard R. Shrock (1967) is a recipient of the 2005 Nobel Prize in chemistry.
Shrock is the Frederick G. Keyes Professor of Chemistry at MIT.
Chris Smith (2003) is a pitcher for the Boston Red Sox.
The UC Riverside Highlanders are part of the NCAA Division I Big West Conference. In 2000, as part of a push to improve the school’s image, students voted to pay a slight increase in tuition to add new athletic programs and to join Division I. Since then, the athletic programs at UCR have gained prominence. UCR baseball has made it to the Division I postseason twice since joining, and won the championship in 2007. Women’s basketball has made it to the Division I tournament for the last two consecutive years. In all, UCR has had 17 national championships.
The mascot, Scotty the Bear, has half of his face painted blue as an homage to William Wallace, the Scottish hero.
There are three major housing facilities at UCR: Aberdeen-Inverness (or A-I), Lothian, and Pentland Halls. A-I is the oldest of these dorms, and students seem to dislike it, however it’s also the cheapest dorm to live in, so those who wish to save money may find themselves living there. Lothian and Pentland are newer and, students say, nicer, with more amenities and slightly bigger rooms.
The school also offers a number of residence halls designed for specific groups. For instance, Latino or Chicano students may choose to live in Unete a Mundo. LGBT students may wish to live in gender-neutral Stonewall Hall.
However, only 31% of students live on campus, and only about 80% of freshmen, so living options may not even factor into many students’ experiences.