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Open Access Publications from the University of California

Richard C. Atkinson served as the University of California's seventeenth president from 1995 to 2003. The Atkinson years were a time of dramatic expansion and landmark issues for UC. Enrollments, research programs, and funding all grew rapidly to new highs. The University faced the imperative of pursuing diversity in the post-affirmative action age, created new paradigms for industry-university cooperative research, and challenged the validity of the SAT I, the nation's most widely used college entrance examination.

The speeches, lectures, and other papers gathered here document these and a variety of other issues. The principal theme of this collection is the University of California itself, and the role it plays as a public research university in a diverse, dynamic, and knowledge-based society. We hope you will enjoy this introduction to the events and challenges of the Atkinson presidency.

Academic Quality
Achievement versus Aptitude
Race and Diversity
The Atkinson Presidency
The Research University
The University and the Economy
University Admissions
University of California

Cover page of Opportunity in a Democratic Society: Race and Economic Status in Higher Education

Opportunity in a Democratic Society: Race and Economic Status in Higher Education


In July 1995, the University of California s Board of Regents voted to ban consideration of race and ethnicity in admissions and employment—a ban that was extended to all state agencies when the voters of California approved Proposition 209 in November 1996. This paper discusses the national controversy over affirmative action and analyzes the experience of the University of California as a case study in how an elite public university responded to the end of nearly three decades of affirmative action. It concludes that profound social and demographic change in American society since the 1960s, especially the growth of income inequality, requires a rethinking of affirmative action, and of how the goal of diversity can be achieved in elite public universities.

Cover page of The Future Arrives First in California

The Future Arrives First in California


Article on challenges facing the University of California.

Cover page of Investing in California's Children

Investing in California's Children


Remarks at the California Senate Fiscal Retreat, an annual policy forum for California political leaders sponsored by the Senate Budget and Fiscal Review Committee and the UC California Policy Seminar.

Cover page of California's Library Without Limits

California's Library Without Limits


Opinion piece on UC’s digital library.

Cover page of Binational Development and the Quest for Knowledge

Binational Development and the Quest for Knowledge


Remarks at the signing of the Agreement of Cooperation between UC and the Consejo Nacional de Ciencia y Tecnologia (CONACYT), Mexico City, July 1997.

Cover page of Town and Gown Join Forces to Boost State

Town and Gown Join Forces to Boost State


Opinion piece on UC’s partnerships with industry to ensure the state’s economic leadership.

Cover page of High Stakes for Knowledge

High Stakes for Knowledge


Opinion piece on the importance of funding university research.