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Open Access Publications from the University of California

ONE UNIVERSITY: The Evolution of an Idea


The one-university idea—that the University of California is a single institution whose campuses are united in the pursuit of a common mission and common standards of quality—has been a guiding organizational principle since UC President Robert Gordon Sproul first articulated it in the 1930s. This paper examines the origins of the one-university idea in the Sproul era, the role it has played in UC’s institutional development through waves of decentralization and campus expansion, and whether it remains relevant today.

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