Featured Oral History Book

Seeds of Something Different

An Oral History of the University of California at Santa Cruz

Two volumes

Irene Reti
Cameron Vanderscoff
Sara Rabkin 

Published 2020 | Print and eBook |
Volume I and Volume II: 928 pages

“Only oral history could bring insight and meaning to telling the big story of the first 50 years of the innovative UCSC campus. I am so pleased that this collection of first person voices tells this compelling story. I am honored to have been a co-editor along with Irene Reti and Sarah Rabkin”

~ Cameron Vanderscoff

This celebrated two volume oral history on the first 50 years of the innovative university, University of California at Santa Cruz, features first-person interviews with faculty, administrators, architects, designers, plus images, including works by photographer Ansel Adams. Print and ebook.

In the 1960’s, a small team of innovators gathered on a stunning sweep of land overlooking the California coast. They envisioned a new and different kind of university – one that could reinvent public higher education in the United States. Through this oral history of the University of California, Santa Cruz, we hear first-person accounts of the campus’s evolution, from the origins of an audacious dream through the sea changes of five decades. More than two hundred narrators and a trove of archival images contribute to this dynamic, nuanced account. 

Today, UC Santa Cruz is a leading research university with experimental roots. This is the story of what was learned, what was lost, and what has grown along the way.


“I was enthusiastic about colleges. But most of all, I was enthusiastic about the thought of a new campus, something different. Anything could happen.”  
~ Dr. Jasper Rose, Professor and Provost

“This extraordinary history presents a luminous storytelling quilt. Diverse voices of undergraduate and graduate students, administrators, faculty, and staff … 
~Bettina Aptheker, Distinguished Professor Emeritus, Feminist Studies, UC Santa Cruz