The roots of the campus date back to 1907 when the California State Legislature established the Citrus Experiment Station to conduct research on the agricultural problems of Southern California. Graduate work was conducted early in the station's history, and today, graduate education is central to its mission.
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In 1948 the Regents approved the establishment of the College of Letters and Science. Necessary legislation was passed by the Academic Senate in 1951, and the college opened for classes in February 1954. The Riverside campus was declared a general campus by act of the Regents in 1959, with a mandate to develop appropriate areas of study. In 1960, the Graduate Division was established, and graduate and professional programs were added.
The 1,200-acre Riverside campus of the University of California is conveniently located approximately 50 miles east of Los Angeles within easy driving distance to most of the major cultural and recreational offerings in Southern California. In addition, it is about an hour drive from the desert, the mountains, and the ocean.
The city of Riverside, with the UCR campus on its eastern edge, is accessible by several main highways. The nearby Ontario International Airport has daily flights to most of the nation's major cities as well as connecting commuter flights to the Los Angeles International Airport. Metrolink train service is available to Los Angeles.
Adjoining the campus is University Village, a retail and office complex, a joint project between UCR, the city of Riverside, and a private developer. The project includes 10 theaters, some used during the day as UCR classrooms. UCR and other professional offices, restaurants, and retail shops are also part of the complex.
Enrollment at UCR is presently about 14,571 undergrads and 2,051 graduate students. The campus continues to expand, with a number of buildings being constructed or remodeled. These include academic settings such as laboratories, libraries, and performing arts studios, as well as housing and recreational facilities. Prominent features of the campus include the 161-foot carillon tower, the Botanic Gardens, and acres of citrus groves.