In fall 1979, I enrolled as a freshman at UC Irvine. I gradually came to detest the gray, sterile campus atmosphere--especially the buildings, which resembled giant air-conditioning units. Even worse was the area around the campus, a mass of dirt lots sporting signs that advertised future mall sites, school sites, residential sites and my personal favorite, "worship sites."
For me, UCI and the area around it represented all that was wrong with my native Orange County. I transferred to UCLA at the beginning of my junior year and I never looked back.
Until last month, that is. Now all the vacant, graded lots in Irvine have buildings on them, and UCI no longer looks like the set for science-fiction films. The campus seems far more diverse and alive than it did.
If UCI can grow into something special, then I still have hope for Orange County.
WILLIAM D. MCCANTS