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The Big Plan: History of Irvine and UCI, From Ranch to Global Community

In-Person / Online

Hybrid Book Talk and Lecture on the History of the City of Irvine and UCI

UCI Libraries welcome H. Pike Oliver and C. Michael Stockstill, authors of Transforming the Irvine Ranch: Joan Irvine, William Pereira, Ray Watson, and the Big Plan, and Robert Dannenbrink, former UCI campus planner, for an insiders’ account of the history of UCI and its surrounding community.


The Big Plan: History of Irvine and UCI, From Ranch to Global Community
Book Talk and Lecture
Thursday, February 2, 2023
1:00 – 2:00 pm
Hybrid (Langson Library's Holden Room and via Zoom)


Drawing on interviews, personal records, and archival materials from UCI Libraries’ Special Collections and Archives, Stockstill and Oliver’s book tells the story of how the Irvine Ranch, a 93,000-acre Southern California agricultural empire, transformed into a world-renowned planned community with a top 10 public university.

Join us in person or online to learn how the University of California’s search for a new campus in the late 1950s ties into the origin of a city, family drama, and post-WWII affordable housing. As a bonus, Dannenbrink will share first-hand accounts of the evolution of the UCI campus and its surrounding community, with a special look at “Inclusions, Exclusions, and the Campus that Never Was.”

Transforming the Irvine Ranch: The Big Plan combines memoir, oral history, and in-depth research to show how big personalities and bigger ambitions propelled Irvine from ranchland to metropolis. Innovative urban planning, corporate infighting, and expansion of California’s university system are part of this fascinating story.

— D.J. Waldie, author of Becoming Los Angeles: Myth, Memory, and a Sense of Place


Krystal Tribbett, PhD, Curator for Orange County Regional History and Research Librarian for Orange County


H. Pike Oliver has worked on real estate development strategies and master-planned communities since the early 1970s, including nearly eight years at the Irvine Company. As the founder and sole proprietor of URBANEXUS, he works on advancing equitable and sustainable real estate development and natural lands management.

C. Michael Stockstill worked as a reporter and editor in Orange County before joining the Irvine Company in 1978. During his 13-year career there, he helped formulate and implement strategy for major planning and policy issues. Prior to his retirement, he also worked as a public affairs consultant and for CalOptima, Southern California Edison, and Transportation Corridor Agencies.

Robert Dannenbrink is a nationally recognized urban designer and planner with 50 years of experience in architecture, urban design, and city and campus planning for public and private organizations. Formerly with the Irvine Company and UCI, he has supervised several national, state, and local award-winning projects.

Thursday, February 2, 2023
1:00pm - 2:00pm
Langson Library - Holden Faculty and Graduate Reading Room
  Alumni     Faculty     General Public     Graduate Students     Staff     Undergraduate Students  
  Book Discussion     Lecture/Presentations     Speakers     Special Events  
This is an online event. Event URL will be sent via registration email.
Registration has closed.

This event will be hybrid. Guests are welcome to join us in the Langson Library's Holden Room or via Zoom.

Parking permits are required on the UCI campus at all times. For campus maps and parking rates, see the UCI Parking Permits webpage.

For questions about this or other UCI Libraries events, please contact partners@uci.edu.