Even our “beginning” is a bit nontraditional. Before
there was UC San Diego, there was Scripps Institution of Oceanography. With beginnings just as
humble, Scripps began in an early 1900s Coronado boathouse and then became a “little green
lab” at La Jolla Shores before making our campus
coastline the global destination for environmental
understanding. Scripps was where our exploratory
spirit was born, where the legends of the time like
Charles Keeling first detailed the effects of climate
change, and where living legends like Walter Munk
became the first proto-alumni of UC San Diego.
Your Tradition, Your Way
As a young university, we create our own traditions—and even those are a bit
nontraditional. For instance, our habit of dropping gourds off buildings.
The brainy origins: when a professor’s exam asked the terminal velocity
of a watermelon dropped from seven stories up, our first undergraduate class of 1965 got hands-on with the answer. A court of
watermelon queens have continued this tradition each June,
and in 1974, students in Muir College created the annual
Halloween pumpkin drop. (Less science, more candy.)
Now over a century strong, Scripps has evolved
from wooden masts and canvas sails to a fleet of
four state-of-the-art ships, like our latest R/V Sally
Ride. Though based on our beach, our fleet and
researchers span the world at any moment, living
up to the legacy that keeps us the leader in understanding our oceans, Earth and atmosphere, and
the authority on strategizing our future relationship with our world—how we will respond, adapt
and thrive on our planet.
Long before libraries and Sun Gods, Scripps Pier (circa 1931) could be considered UC San Diego’s first signature landmark. Scripps
Institution of Oceanography was the progenitor of our expeditionary spirit, from work in the lab (left, circa 1933) to the above 1939
Gulf of California Expedition that forever changed the scientific view of our seafloor. Roger Revelle (secondfromleft aboardthe E. W.
Scripps) is now the namesake of one of Scripps’ four active research vessels, including the latest, R/V Sally Ride.