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UCI Site Selection — Was This the First Choice? April 22, 2011

Posted by ucisca in Early UCI Campus.
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Signing of agreement for campus site on July 22, 1960. Sitting at the table are UC President Clark Kerr (right) and UC Regent Ed Pauley (left).

On June 19, 1958, the Regents’ Site Selection Committee met to hear architect William Pereira present a large number of potential sites for the location of the UCI campus. The Irvine Ranch was one of the four finalists considered in Orange County and the one Pereira considered to be the best. However, the Regents’ first choice was a site in Newport Beach on the slopes of what is now known as Spyglass Hill, near the current location of Fashion Island. The site had a beautiful view of the coast and Catalina Island. While discussions of the proposed site were occurring, land at the center of the site was sold to the Pacific View Memorial Park cemetery. Joan Irvine Smith offered the cemetery an alternative site, including access to a water supply, a needed road, and an equally amazing view. However, Pacific View remained committed to their site. Due to the fact that several burials had occurred in the meantime, the cemetery’s original choice became secured. The second choice for the UCI campus was on the Irvine Ranch, and it was that site that was eventually selected.

AS-090. Agreements Between UCI and Irvine Company. Special Collections and Archives, the U.C. Irvine Libraries, Irvine, California.

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