To mark UCSD’s 50th anniversary, the Light is asking people for their thoughts on how the university has affected La Jolla. Today, we hear from Peggy Chodorow, who has been involved in La Jolla real estate for more than 38 years, having moved here from New York in the late 1960s with her husband Stan, a professor emeritus at UCSD. She and their son Eric make up Team Chodorow, one of the area's top-selling teams of Realtors.
We arrived in La Jolla in 1968 when my husband Stan began his career at UCSD. Our impression of the town was mixed. The weather was fabulous, especially compared to Ithaca, N.Y. The cultural life was less exciting compared to the East Coast. For a few years, we were determined to return to the East, but the university and the town grew and grew on us.
UCSD was a small institution in the late 1960s; Salk Institute was also young; Scripps Clinic was in old quarters in downtown La Jolla. The main UCSD campus had 1,200 acres, covered mostly by eucalyptus and coastal desert. There were more rabbits and reptiles on the mesa than students and faculty. In the first 15 or so years of the university, the campus was pretty isolated, and the relationship between the school’s population and the people of La Jolla was tenuous. There was little to do on campus and little for students in town.
I started in real estate in 1972 and became increasingly embedded in our community. Through the 1970s Stan and I saw the university and community slowly draw together. The university and its sister institutions, Salk and the Scripps Research Foundation, spawned dozens of new companies that transformed the economy of our region and brought a diverse and energetic population to La Jolla. The university developed programs in the arts that attracted members of the community and then began to reach out with public lecture series, the Osher Institute for retired persons, the Revelle Forum, the Edison lectures and many other programs.
Over the 42 years we have been in La Jolla, the town has changed. What was once a small, idyllic village along the Cove with a grocery store and one-screen theater on Girard Avenue is now a vibrant town, a destination for vacationers and a cultural center. We have grown up with La Jolla and the university and wonder why we ever wanted to return to the East Coast.
If you have any thoughts on how UCSD has changed La Jolla, send them to