Welcome to Cowell College!

View of the Cowell Dorms

Founded in 1965, Cowell was the first residential college of UCSC. The college is named after Henry Cowell and the Cowell family, who lived on the land that is now UCSC. The land was acquired by the University of California for the purpose of founding a university based on innovative teaching methods, cross-disciplinary undergraduate education, progressive and modern research.

Cowell has focused not on a theme or a specific set of disciplines, but on a motto: The Pursuit of Truth in the Company of Friends. Convinced that learning involves a committed search for knowledge through reasoned discussion and debate and that such debate develops best in an atmosphere of mutual respect and friendship, the faculty, staff, and student leadership of Cowell College invite you to challenge yourself with new ideas, to think and reason with vigor, and to extend a hand of friendship to your companions in this endeavor. There are lectures and community events that contribute to the Cowell student’s pursuit of knowledge, and core classes taken by frosh to help in building an intellectual community.

Cowell resides on what was previously the Cowell ranch, flanked by redwoods and over-looking the Monterey Bay. It is also near the University restaurants, gym, libraries, pool, track, and Bay Tree bookstore. Cowell also houses the Philosophy departmentLanguage program, and is located near the Humanities building.

Cowell college is also home to the Eloise Pickard Smith Gallery that focuses on art of the central coast and exhibitions that focus on subjects pertinent to the College; the Page Smith Library, named after Cowell’s first Provost, that houses a small private collection of books; a printing press that teaches students about book making.