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Cowell College was the first college to be founded at UCSC. In the Fall of 1965 the college opened with 516 freshmen and 100 junior transfer students. Page Smith was the first provost.
Cowell houses the philosophy and language studies departments.
Cowell's dorms are the oldest on campus.
Cowell has a view of the Monterey Bay. It is the only college to house a printing press. Cowell courses include book-binding and printmaking classes.