University of California, Santa Cruz

University in Santa Cruz

Check it: the school mascot is a banana slug! Established in 1965 in the hills above town, UCSC is known for its creative, liberal bent. The rural campus has fine stands of redwoods and architecturally interesting buildings – some made with recycled materials – designed to blend in with rolling pastureland. Amble around the peaceful arboretum and picturesquely decaying 19th-century structures from Cowell Ranch, upon which the campus was built.

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