From The Overstory, by Richard Powers, p. 257:
He’s admitted to the new social psychology graduate program down at Santa Cruz. The campus is an enchanted garden perched on a mountainside overlooking Monterey Bay. It’s the worst place he can imagine for finishing a doctorate—or doing any real work whatsoever. On the other hand, it’s perfect for making interspecies contact with sea lions down by the pier, climbing the Sunset Tree naked and stoned at night, and lying on his back in the Great Meadow, searching for a thesis topic in the mad cloud of stars.
This parody, like all parodies, is founded on truth, in part. In my day (1969-72) we called Santa Cruz (the town, not just the university) Hippie Heaven. Plenty of flakiness—so much that when I moved to Oregon a few years later I had an immediate aversion to that state’s Santa Cruz simulacrum, Eugene, and happily continued north to the state capital, Salem, which was as much like a boring midwestern town as anything west of the Rockies. What a relief! When I was at UCSC two highly-touted professors recruited to the school left after just one year for East Coast schools where students were serious about their studies. Plenty of UCSC students and teachers were serious about their studies—I was one of them—but the tone of the place was definitely set by the “middle-class white-boy”* faux hippies and their silliness. I had a few great teachers; I learned a lot; but I was happy to drop out in the middle of my third year when they demanded that I declare a major, and I have never had the least desire to go back.
*”Middle Class White Boy” is one of Mose Allison’s inimitable classics.