Saturday, January 3, 1970

Orange Coast College days (1956-58)

Event: September 1956-June 1958
Updated: 12 Dec 2014

In the fall of 1956 I enrolled in pre-engineering at Orange Coast College (OCC) in Costa Mesa, California, having previously been refused entry to the College of Engineering at UC Berkeley. My decision to study engineering and science was hardly well thought out.

I had previously been accepted at Berkeley in political science in early March 1956, having applied from my post in Berlin while still in the US Army. At that time I had anticipated specializing in Soviet-American affairs, because of my then classified military experience. However, after separating from the Army and reporting for new duty to CIA headquarters in Washington, D.C., I was in for a rude surprise to be told "Sorry, we have nothing for you."

This was profoundly disorienting and I became angry at being frustrated at being denied further government service. "If I can't serve", I thought to myself outside the HQ building, "then I'll make money!" With that in mind I looked in the newspaper want ads for the largest salaries offered for anything. They were for engineers and scientists. "I don't know what that is, but that's what I'm going to be!", I declared to myself. And off I went to UC Berkeley, having already been accepted in the College of Letters and Science. Little did I anticipate that a change of major from political science to engineering was impossible at Berkeley unless I could meet the entrance requirements for engineering, which I couldn't. But I was determined to change majors. The Berkeley administrators suggested I take a lower division degree in pre-engineering at a UC approved junior college and then come back to Berkeley for upper division work if I could make it. This took me to Orange Coast College, it being close to property, which my parents and I owned in Capistrano Beach.

To be continued....

OCC campaign poster 1958
Winning NDEA Title IV fellowship while at UC Berkeley

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