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November 17, 1997

Regional History Project publishes Kenneth Thimann's oral history

Kenneth Thimann

By Barbara McKenna

The University Library's Regional History Project has just published Kenneth V. Thimann: Early UCSC History and the Founding of Crown College, the oral history memoir of the respected scientist, who died in January 1997.

Thimann came to UCSC in 1965, at the invitation of founding UCSC Chancellor Dean McHenry. McHenry asked Thimann to head what would become Crown College and to build the science faculty at UCSC.

Prior to coming to UCSC, Thimann was an internationally renowned plant physiologist and held the Higgins Chair in Biology at Harvard University. He was the first UCSC faculty member to become a member of the National Academy of Sciences. During his tenure here, his illustrious reputation and intellectual distinction enabled him to attract to the fledgling campus top-notch scientists.

Thimann's narration focuses on three major areas: building and developing Crown College, the campus's first science-oriented college; recruiting science faculty and creating graduate programs in the sciences; and his views on UCSC's evolution, including the Narrative Evaluation System, McHenry's tenure as chancellor, and the founding of the Crown Chamber Players.

Other subjects in Thimann's commentary include the decline of the college system in the 1970s, the founding of the Arboretum, and Thimann's role in establishing the Minority Biomedical Research Support Program.

This volume may be purchased at cost by research collections and libraries. It is available in Special Collections at McHenry Library and at Bancroft Library, UC Berkeley. For more information, contact the Regional History Project at (408) 459-2847 or at ihreti@cats.ucsc.edu.

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