University of California, Santa Cruz
Renowned for its distinctive architecture and spectacular setting in the lush hills above Santa Cruz amid groves of redwood trees, the university comprises a loop of 10 distinct college campuses surrounding an academic and administrative core. It claims an enrollment of more than 14,000.In 1965 the State of California purchased 2,000 acres of ranchland from the Cowell family and carefully integrating the original ranch structures into its new University of California campus. Occupying the hillsides on either side of Coolidge Drive are 14 structures from the Cowell Ranch established in the 1860s by Henry Cowell, a wealthy county landowner and entrepreneur. A number of these buildings, including the simple ranch house, carriage house and barns, now house university-related services. The picturesque remains of Cowell's lime kiln are a prominent feature on the old ranch site. The Mary Porter-Sesnon Art Gallery at Porter College (831-459-3606) and the Eloise Pickard Smith Gallery (831-459-5667) at Cowell College mount changing exhibits of contemporary art; the university's arboretum is devoted to exotic flora, particularly from South Africa, Australia and New Zealand (open year-round daily 9am-5pm; closed Thanksgiving Day & Dec 25; 831-427-2998; www2.ucsc.eduarboretum).