UCI’s journey is deeply intertwined with the city of Irvine

From the very start, UCI’s journey has been deeply intertwined with the city of Irvine. On June 20, 1964, U.S. President Lyndon B. Johnson arrived by helicopter and dedicated the site of a dusty old ranch as the newest campus in the University of California system. With the encouragement of Joan Irvine Smith, who sold us the land for a mere $1, UCI set a legacy of research and innovation in Irvine that lives on to this day. Throughout the decades, the campus and city have shared a close history rooted in open communication and community development. In fact, the first city council meeting was hosted in our campus's faculty lounge, and we continue to remain invested in Irvine’s future. In return, the city has generously supported our efforts to advance health and wellness, increase knowledge, and build a brilliant future. Our shared ambitions to enhance and serve the community forged a partnership that allows both campus and city to thrive. That partnership continues to be paramount as UCI embarks on new developments, such as creating a state-of-the-art medical center at Presidential Gateway.

Now more than ever, access to advanced care is vital to a city’s public health. When the COVID-19 pandemic began, UCI’s front-line workers and health experts became dedicated to supporting and serving the community. From initiating Orange County’s first drive-thru testing site to developing a workshop to train public health practitioners, students, community leaders and residents in contact tracing, the swift but thoughtful COVID-19 response helped manage the disastrous impact of the pandemic. The hard work and research even led the federal government to tap UCI Health as a model for delivering monoclonal antibody therapy. As the public health crisis continues and Orange County combats COVID-19, our team is prepared to care for and serve Irvine.

Drive through Covid testing

UCI is steadfast in its commitment to evolve with our community and preserve our environment, which is why we've carefully considered how expansions such as Presidential Gateway will impact the surrounding area. With the city and our campus being leaders in environmental innovation and education, sustainability has always been a top priority for both.

In the 1970s and ’80s, Irvine was an epicenter for progressive activism, and safeguarding the environment was one of many key initiatives. In fact, with the discovery by a UCI chemist that chlorofluorocarbons contribute to ozone depletion, Irvine implemented the first comprehensive, city-level ban on CFCs. City leaders went on to host the North American Congress of Local Governments for a Stratospheric Protection Accord, at which officials from across North America gathered to learn how to implement Irvine-style CFC bans.

Environmental stewardship is in Irvine’s DNA, and at UCI, we’re proud to support that effort and further develop that legacy by expanding with care and innovating thoughtfully. We've been No. 1 on Sierra magazine's "Cool Schools" list of the greenest colleges and universities in the U.S. and Canada four times in seven years. We're committed to LEED Platinum construction, recycling leadership, sustainable food service and transportation practices, zero-emission landscape maintenance, and energy and water use reductions to contribute to the sustainability of our community.

UCI has built its legacy by drawing on the unyielding spirit of our faculty, staff and students, who continue to arrive on campus with a dream to inspire change and generate new ideas. Community support for fundraising campaigns ensures that we can continue driving economic growth and technical innovation in one of the nation’s most vibrant and thriving regions. Today, UCI is Orange County’s premier research, health and academic institution. We work tirelessly to provide our community’s 3.3 million members with the highest standard of healthcare, even during the trying times of the COVID-19 pandemic, and we plan to continue protecting the health and well-being of our community with our latest expansion. The new medical center will greatly extend our ability to provide care; it will also create construction and staffing jobs, bring an influx of skilled medical professionals to the region and provide a space for the community to focus on well-being. It is our ambition that Presidential Gateway will become a beacon of hope, where groundbreaking science meets nature and inspires healing, for the people of Irvine.

Researcher in lab

Improving the lives of our community members remains at the heart of all we do, and our accomplishments wouldn’t be possible without the steadfast support of the Irvine community. UCI recently launched the largest fundraising campaign in Orange County’s history. With an audacious goal of $2 billion dollars, it aims to continue to expand opportunity, advance health and wellness, increase our knowledge and insight, support our community, and make a better world. As we continue to grow alongside Irvine, we’re committed to showing the world what’s possible when innate potential meets genuine opportunity. We’re confident that when our community and campus work together, our roots grow deep.