The grand opening of UCI’s groundbreaking eSports arena in September drew 1,500 gaming enthusiasts. Steve Zylius / UCI

As the University of California, Irvine ended its 50th anniversary celebration and entered its second half-century, 2016 brought other important milestones: An aggressive new strategic plan. Record amounts of research and philanthropic funding. The most-ever freshman and transfer applications. The first eSports arena at a public college. As always, it was a good year to be an Anteater.

  • UCI astronomer Aaron Barth and colleagues used data from the Atacama Large Millimeter Array in Chile to determine the mass of a supermassive black hole at the heart of galaxy NGC 1332 to be 660 million times greater than that of the sun. ALMA (NRAO/ESO/NAOJ); Hubble Space Telescope (NASA/ESA); Carnegie-Irvine Galaxy Survey

Here are the highlights in numbers.

660 millionTimes larger than the mass of the sun – the measurement of the mass of a black hole determined by UCI astronomer Aaron Barth using the ALMA observatory in Chile
 395 millionResearch funding in dollars (record)
 132.5 millionPhilanthropic support in dollars (record)
 230,000Square feet of Bermuda grass planted on Microsemi Field for the Rams’ preseason training camp
 200,000Times that chemistry graduate student Mya Le Thai cycled a specially coated gold nanowire battery electrode; current lithium-ion batteries can be cycled only around 7,000 times
 98,000Freshman and transfer student applications to UCI (record)
 75,000Square feet in the new Anteater Learning Pavilion
 50,000Hours of community service completed by UCI volunteers as part of the “Fifty for 50” campus challenge
 20,521California-resident Chicano/Latino freshman applicants (most in UC system)
 8,000Pounds of trash recycled each day
 6,000Students fed on opening day of the Anteatery, the food court in the new Mesa Court Towers housing complex
 2,000Peanut butter-and-jelly sandwiches made by UCI students for local soup kitchens during Hunger & Homelessness Awareness Week
 1,500People – some in elaborate costumes – who mobbed the grand opening of the eSports arena, the first of its kind at a public college
 1,200Pieces of California impressionist art donated by the Irvine family to UCI
 935Beds in the three new, six-story Mesa Court Towers dorms
 700Anteaters who participated in an early voting opportunity at the flagpoles Nov. 1
 100Orange County K-12 educators who will receive training in teaching computer science by the year 2020 through UCI’s CS1C@OC program
 7Consecutive years UCI has made the top 10 of Sierra magazine’s “Cool Schools” (only university to do so)
 4.10Mean grade-point average of new class of California residents admitted to UCI (highest ever)
 2New pedestrian bridges opened, one connecting Mesa Court to the UCI Student Center and the other linking the Division of Continuing Education building with the main campus loop
 1New strategic plan, unveiled in February