50th Anniversary Book
Available at The Hill, UCI Bright Past, Brilliant Future is a photo-rich story of the campus from 1964 to the future. Jocelyn Lee / UCI

Where to start?

That was the question facing writers Sharon Roan and John Westcott three years ago as they tackled the story of UCI’s first half-century. Encompassing early Orange County land barons, presidential visits and iconoclastic scholars, the tale offered such a wealth of detail that it was tough to know not only where to begin but how to stop.

With expert editing from Marina Dundjerski, who wrote and edited UCLA’s 100th anniversary book, a tight and colorful history of the Irvine campus emerged. UCI: Bright Past, Brilliant Future is available now at The Hill.

Test your UCI IQ with this trivia quiz, pulled from the pages of the book.

  1. Chief Push Ma-Ta-Ha ran a trading post on the Irvine Ranch land that
    would become UCI. What import from Kansas did he sell at the post?
  2. True or false? America’s first Nobel laureate in the sciences, Albert
    Michelson, measured the speed of light in an Irvine Company bean field that
    later became part of UCI.
  3. What local newspaper aligned itself with Joan Irvine Smith to lobby hard
    on its editorial page for a University of California campus in Orange
  4. Rank these chancellors in order of their UCI tenures: Daniel G. Aldrich
    Jr., Ralph Cicerone, Dr. Michael V. Drake, Howard Gillman, Jack Peltason and
    Laurel Wilkening
  5. Which U.S. president dedicated the land for UCI?
  6. UCI’s distinctive early architecture, conceived by William Pereira and
    used as a background for the film “Conquest of the Planet of the Apes,” belongs to
    what school of design?


    1. Minimalism
    2. Cheese-graterism
    3. Brutalism
    4. Postapocalypticism
  7. True or false? UCI tore down a building designed by Frank Gehry.
  8. UCI was the first UC campus to establish which of the following?
    1. A school of social ecology
    2. A school of information & computer sciences
    3. A computer gaming major
    4. All of the above
  9. Founding chemistry professor F. Sherwood Rowland won a Nobel Prize for
    what discovery?
  10. True or false? The $235 million Douglas Hospital at UC Irvine Medical
    Center is Orange County’s only Level 1 trauma center.
  11. Peter the Anteater made “The Huntley-Brinkley Report” and the pages of
    Sports Illustrated when he was chosen as UCI’s mascot in 1965. What was the
    runner-up on the mascot ballot?


    1. None of the above
    2. The unicorn
    3. The bison
    4. The sea eagle
  12. True or false? UCI was the second UC campus to create a cross-cultural
  13. True or false? UCI’s first basketball team won a game against UCLA when
    the Bruins’ center was Lew Alcindor (later known as Kareem Abdul-Jabbar).
  14. What year was the first Greek rush week held at UCI?
    1. 1965, of course
    2. 1972, after the Supreme Court ruled that prohibiting fraternities and
      sororities on campus was a violation of First Amendment rights
    3. 1974. It took us two years after the Supreme Court ruling to get our act together.
  15. The first large student demonstration at UCI was over what issue?
    1. The war in Vietnam
    2. Civil rights
    3. The dismissal of UC President Clark Kerr by regents
    4. The denial of tenure to three humanities professors
  16. Which of the following is not true? UCI scientists are responsible for:
    1. Two Nobel Prizes
    2. 60 spin-off companies
    3. 334 active patents
    4. 901 inventions
  17. In what year did UCI’s New Swan Shakespeare Festival make its debut as
    the only outdoor festival of its kind in Orange County?
  18. Dr. J. Stuart Nelson, medical director of UCI’s Beckman Laser Institute
    & Medical Clinic, had the aha! moment for his patented Dynamic Cooling
    Device while watching which of the following on television?


    1. “Charlie’s Angels”
    2. A baseball game
    3. “Bill Nye the Science Guy”
    4. Julia Child
  19. Which two schools at UCI are named for members of the Bren family?
  20. Who said at the 2014 commencement ceremony that “UCI is ahead of the


  1. Bison burgers
  2. True. From early on, the land was the site of scientific inquiry.
  3. The Daily Pilot
  4. Daniel G. Aldrich Jr., Jack Peltason, Laurel Wilkening, Ralph Cicerone, Dr. Michael V. Drake, Howard Gillman
  5. President Lyndon B. Johnson
  6. C
  7. True. The building was not thought to be one of Gehry’s best efforts, but its demolition was still controversial.
  8. D
  9. CFCs were destroying the ozone layer.
  10. True
  11. A lot of voters didn’t like any of the options.
  12. False. It was the first to create a cross-cultural center.
  13. False. But they believed they could win.
  14. C
  15. Regents thought Kerr was too lenient with students in the free speech movement.
  16. A. UCI faculty have been awarded three Nobel Prizes.
  17. 2012
  18. B
  19. The Donald Bren School of Information & Computer Sciences and the Claire Trevor School of the Arts
  20. President Barack Obama