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The Transformation of UC San Diego

October 19, 2017

UC San Diego is transforming physically and intellectually. Look around and you’ll see new buildings rising, columns readying to support the UC San Diego Blue Line trolley and the Gilman Bridge stretching across Interstate 5. These projects are transformational, creating new opportunities and connections—on our campus and in our community—that we’ve never had before. UC San Diego is literally evolving before our eyes and will look very different in five years.

UC San Diego Aerial Shot of Campus Center

These changes are strategic and foster a more connected campus. They are designed to advance our Strategic Plan goals and the three pillars of our ambitious $2 billion Campaign for UC San Diego, which has already surpassed $1.4 billion; these three pillars are enhancing the student experience, sparking research and innovation, and creating a living and learning infrastructure. Every decision we make is aimed at improving the student, faculty and staff experience, now and well into the future. For instance, facilities like three of our new four parking structures are being flexibly designed, so they can be repurposed in the future if necessary. And our visionary efforts to add more than 10,000 beds on campus will make UC San Diego one of the top primarily residential campuses in the University of California system, and will enable us to provide a four-year housing guarantee for undergraduates and Ph.D. students at 20 percent below market cost. This will improve students’ day-to-day campus life and cultivate a strong sense of community.

UC San Diego students in housing

The Mesa Nueva housing project alone is adding 3,500 beds for graduate students—creating one of the largest graduate and professional student housing programs in the University of California system and the country—helping us to recruit and retain the best scholars. We are physically connecting our campus in new ways, like the new pedestrian and bicycle walkway which will soon lead from Mesa Nueva housing to the Gilman Bridge, linking existing campus roads on either side of the freeway and providing ease of access between east and west campus and reducing traffic on busy city streets.

The new Biological and Physical Sciences building, now known as Tata Hall, will add much-needed classrooms to ease the time-to-degree for impacted majors. The soon-to-be constructed Design and Innovation Center will be a beacon of creativity and entrepreneurship. As one of the first buildings people will see when stepping off the trolley, the Center will connect via the light rail to UC San Diego’s Innovative Cultural and Education Hub downtown, creating new opportunities for campus and community collaboration across diverse disciplines.

The North Torrey Pines Living and Learning Neighborhood, an innovative mixed-use community which will become the new home for Sixth College, will further connect students with each other and with faculty and staff, as they walk from apartments to classrooms to faculty offices to retail, all in one area. The project will add 2,000 beds for undergraduates and house two new academic buildings—one for Arts and Humanities, the other for Social Sciences. We are making an enthusiastic statement of support for these disciplines by uniting members of these divisions and investing in these facilities. It’s vital that we support and showcase our balanced and exceptional educational environment, as we are strong in disciplines across the board, including our highly ranked Arts and Humanities and Social Sciences programs.

UC San Diego The North Torrey Pines Living and Learning Neighborhood
Artistic rendering of the North Torrey Pines Living and Learning Neighborhood.

The time is right to think about a new Seventh College, and possible Eighth College, as our student body continues to grow, with more than 28,500 undergraduates on campus this fall and a total student population of 36,400. Our goal has always been to provide our students with a small college experience—around 4,000 students in each college, which we are now exceeding—within the larger university setting. The visioning of these new colleges will be a collaborative endeavor as we think about general education requirements and college themes. This is an opportunity to take a fresh look at our undergraduate education curriculum to ensure we are providing our students with the knowledge and skills they need to be successful, and that we are continuing our nontradition of being an experimental and futuristic campus. Our intellectual transformation can also be seen through new programs focused on areas like design, robotics and practical ethics, and new research centers—like the Tata Institute for Genetics and Society and Data Sciences Institute—that provide interdisciplinary frameworks that allow our brightest minds to tackle our world’s most complex societal challenges.

I look forward to working together with you as we continue to evolve physically and intellectually, plan for our future and redefine what it means to be a world-class public research university.

With kind regards,


Pradeep K. Khosla