Interviewed by Irene Reti and Randall Jarrell; Edited by Irene Reti
On January 23, 1976, UC Santa Cruz’s second chancellor, Mark N. Christensen, resigned from office. He had served the campus from July 1974 to January 1976. This second of two oral history volumes devoted to the Christensen era, is comprised of two interviews with Professor George Von der Muhll. The first was conducted by former Regional History Project director Randall Jarrell in 1976; the second by current Project director Irene Reti in 2014. Both set Christensen’s resignation within the broader context of a tumultuous and transitional moment in the campus’s history and Von der Muhll’s incisive reflections on UC Santa Cruz as a “noble experiment” in public higher education. George Von der Muhll is now an emeritus professor of politics at UCSC. He arrived at UC Santa Cruz in 1969, affiliated with College Five (Porter College), where he was acting provost at the time of the interview conducted by Randall Jarrell in 1976. Von der Muhll earned a BA from Oberlin College; MSc from the London School of Economics, and a PhD from Harvard University. He retired in 1994. Von der Muhll shares his thoughts, not only on the Christensen administration, but also on the reaggregation and reorganization programs of the late 1970s, in which he played a central role. He also contemplates UC Santa Cruz as an experiment in public higher education, from the perspective of fifty years after the campus was founded.