Why We Love O.C. | Breaking Down UC Irvine’s Elite Status

The university is a star in our midst, achieving elite status in many areas.
Why We Love O.C. | Breaking Down UC Irvine’s Elite Status
Illustration by Tram Nguyen

We turned to community leaders, residents, statistics, history, and even a few former presidents to tell you something incredible about every one of the 34 cities we call home.


➜ Presidential Acclaim In 2014, President Barack Obama delivered the commencement address at a special university-wide graduation ceremony at Angel Stadium.

 Nobel Prize Winners Three UCI researchers have won Nobel Prizes—two in chemistry and one in physics.

➜ Top 10 School The university is ranked No. 9 in Top Public Schools by U.S. News and World Report.

➜ The Place for Arts UCI’s Claire Trevor School of the Arts hosts more than 200 student performances a year.

 Notable Alumni Actor Jon Lovitz, Olympic diver Greg Louganis, and “Freedom Writers” author Erin Gruwell

 Decreasing the Gap The New York Times has twice named it the school “doing the most for the American dream” in terms of contributing to upward mobility.

 Women in the Lead The Paul Merage School of Business has the world’s highest percentage of female faculty (47 percent) for a business school.

 Show Them the Money The school scored a record-breaking $527 million in funding (grants, contracts, and gifts) in 2015-2016.

 Early Adopters It was the first public university to develop an official esports program and on‑campus esports arena.

 Green Accolades It’s the only university Sierra Magazine has named a top 10 “Cool School” for eight consecutive years for its sustainability practices.

 Top Law School UC Irvine School of Law opened in 2009. In six years it premiered in the U.S. News rankings at No. 30 in the nation. It’s now ranked No. 21.

 National Champions Anteaters play in 18 NCAA Division I sports, having won 28 national championships in nine sports—most recently in men’s volleyball (2013).

➜ Job Bank It is one of the top three employers in the county, boasting nearly 16,000 non-student employees and a $5 billion annual economic impact on the county.

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