Although the Alumni Association of the University of California, Santa Barbara, was incorporated as a non-profit organization in 1965, its history begins early in the twentieth century.
In March 1909 the California Legislature and Governor James S. Gillett turned an existing city normal school into Santa Barbara State Normal School of Manual Arts and Home Economics with Ednah Rich as president. It was a two-year school dedicated to training teachers in two specialized disciplines. Over the next half century the school would evolve with appropriate name changes until attaining its present status as a general campus of the University of California in 1958. The first change came in 1919 under its new president, Clarence Phelps, when the school's mission was broadened to the training of all elementary teachers and the name was shortened to Santa Barbara State Normal School. In 1921, when the Legislature agreed with Phelps and others that elementary teachers should have a four-year college education and redesignated all state normal schools, Santa Barbara State Normal School became Santa Barbara State Teachers College. When it was recognized in 1935 that the state teachers colleges had diversified their academic offering and were granting liberal arts degrees, they were allowed to drop the word "teachers" from their titles. Santa Barbara State College, however, existed only until 1944 when new legislation abolished it and created in its stead the University of California, Santa Barbara College.
The first organized alumni effort recorded took place in February 1919 when the Class of 1918 organized the Alumni Association of the Santa Barbara Normal School Manual Arts and Home Economics. The total alumni body then was 600. The Association's objective was "to foster a greater love in the graduates for their Alma Mater and to render greater service to the public, to education and to members of the association." Any graduate could be a member, but only those who paid annual dues of one dollar could vote. Mrs. J.C. Miller was appointed as permanent secretary.
An informal Alumni Association existed for the next several decades with volunteers organizing reunions around athletic events and homecoming parades. Although the university gave no financial support to the organization, there were various dues programs, and faculty members and college deans worked on programming. Hoy Dia, the Santa Barbara State College alumni publication, was published in a variety of formats from 1931 to 1947 when the name was changed to Santa Barbara Alumnus.
On November 17, 1944, Robert Sibley, executive manager of the California Alumni Association at UC Berkeley, invited the alumni of Santa Barbara College and former students of Santa Barbara State College who completed two years of academic work to join the California Alumni Association and to form the Santa Barbara Chapter of the California Alumni Association (the President of the group to become an ex-officio member of the general council of the California Alumni Association.)
UCSBC Provost J. Harold Williams appointed E. L. 'Chally' Chalberg, director of placement, to be Alumni Counselor in 1954. He recruited a dedicated board of directors which adopted a Constitution and Bylaws and began some of the programs which persist to this day. Chalberg was replaced by Professor of History Robert Kelley '48 in 1960.
In 1962, for the first time, the University allocated funds in support of the Alumni Relations Program. These funds provided the salary for a part-time secretary to the faculty alumni director and for record-keeping. Under Chancellor Vernon I. Cheadle, the support grew, and eventually the University hired a full-time professional alumni director. In September 1965, the UCSB Alumni Association incorporated under the laws of California as a non-profit, charitable organization and became the publisher of the alumni publication which was then called UCSB Alumnus.
Through the rest of the 60s and early 70s an executive director and a secretary guided the growth of the Association. A part-time Alumnus editor and office assistant provided program and membership support. Early fundraising efforts to provide scholarships for local high school students centered around selling pumpkins out of a pumpkin patch in Carpinteria. New Year's Eve and Fiesta parties were sponsored by the Alumni Association and were well attended as alumni interest in UCSB increased. The Association also designed and implemented the University's first Annual Fund Campaign using alumni volunteers to call other alumni and Santa Barbara, Los Angeles, and San Diego to support the University.
In 1969, the Association opened the Alumni Vacation Center at Francisco Torres residence hall in Isla Vista. After three years, the program moved to campus and is now known as the Family Vacation Center, serving some 2,700 UC alumni and friends each summer.
In 1973, the Board of Directors of the Alumni Association voted to underwrite the initial operational expenses of the UCSB Foundation, a charitable organization formed to accept gifts on behalf of the campus. Douglas E. Schmidt '60, George D. Kieffer '69, Franklin T. Lloyd '62. Phillip D. Rowe '60, Roger W. Whalen '61, Gary C. Gallup '61, William Rauth '66, Lynn Reitnouer '55, Mark Bertelsen '66, Steve Mendel '63, and Stephen E. Cooper '68 have each served as chair of the UCSB Foundation.
In the mid-70s, the Association hired a full-time associate director and a membership/travel director, and appointed committees on investments, financial self-sufficiency and Regent selection. The Association also launched the successful UCSB Alumni Association Theater Program (since closed) and assumed temporary responsibility for the University's Athletic Hall of Fame. It also opened, and subsequently closed after three years, another vacation center in San Diego.
An Alumni Regent has always served on the Board of Regents of the University of California. In the 1970's this was expanded to two Alumni Regents. It has been the responsibility of the combined Alumni Associations of the University of California (AAUC) to provide these two ex-officio alumni members of the Board of Regents. Every four years. one of the voting Regents is a past or present member of the UCSB Alumni Association Board of Directors. Edward Morris '50 (1975-76), George D. Kieffer '69 (1979-80), Douglas E. Schmidt '61 (1983-84), R. Marilyn Lee '69 (1987-88), Gail Greenwald Uilkema '65 (1991-92) and Ralph Carmona M.A. '74, Ph.D. '84 (1995-1996), Kent Vining '70 (1999-2000), and Barbara Bodine '70 are the UCSB Alumni who have served as Alumni Regent.
Philip J. Bugay '81 served as UCSB Alumni Regent through 2007-2008. In 1987, Governor George Deukmejian appointed former UCSB Alumni Association President Meredith Ford Khachigian '66 to a regular seat on the Board of Regents where she served as Chair in 1991-1993 and in 1997-1998. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger appointed Bruce Varner '58 to the Board of regents in 2006.
Growth of the Association has enabled it to become more financially self sufficient. Increases in dues, marketing, investment and other income has meant the Association can rely less on the University for support. Under a plan drafted in 1976 by alumni and University leaders, an orderly phase down of University support was begun.
In 1980, The Alumnus, then a tabloid, adopted a magazine format. The magazine began to print in color, partially subsidizing its expense by accepting advertising. In 1981, the name of the magazine was changed to Coastlines.
Since 1982 membership in the Association nearly tripled from 6,000 members to over 20,000 members. Membership benefits include: career services, group health and life insurance, loan programs, UC library privileges, special on-campus privileges and an array of financial services and discounts.
There are now regional UCSB alumni clubs all over the United States. There are also several constituent groups.
A long-range planning process begun in 1991 by the Board of Directors is reviewed and updated annually to guide the Association.
The Mosher Alumni House is a building located on campus that is a central location for all events related to the Alumni Association.
Structured fiscal commitments to other priorities limit the ability of the State of California to provide opportunities for higher education to the citizens of our state. It is the responsibility of the members of the Alumni Association to do all that they can to support higher education in the state of California. This will be the major goal of the Association in the coming decade.