Meet the Provost

Naha, Fall 2014 trip Day 5, Itoman and Mabuni
Nago, Okinawa, at the Blue Seal Ice Cream Parlor

I’m Alan Christy, the new Provost of Cowell College, starting my term on July 1, 2016.  This is my record of what a Provost of a college at UC Santa Cruz does and what the life at Cowell College is like.

I was born in Boston, MA, in 1963 to California born-and-raised parents who transplanted to the East Coast in 1959 for my father’s graduate work in Physical Chemistry at M.I.T.  Although my parents constantly talked about moving back to California, they never did. My father started a small software company with a friend, bought season tickets to the Red Sox and the Celtics when that company did well and ended up staying there for good.

My sister and I protested every mention of moving to California when we were kids, but I was the one who eventually  left New England. I went to college at Carleton College in far away Minnesota where I took up the study of Japanese history as my passion, graduating in 1985. I lived in Kyoto for a year, during college, Tokyo for a year after graduation, and then I moved back to the Midwest to go to graduate school at the University of Chicago. I lived in Tokyo for four more years while doing my dissertation research and then miraculously (to me) landed a job in the History Department at UC Santa Cruz in 1995.

Like the old time baseball players who were lifers with one team (Carl Yastrzemski from my childhood Red Sox), I have spent my entire career at UC Santa Cruz. In a twist my parents found especially delicious, I am raising California boys who couldn’t conceive of living anywhere else. While I want them to see the world and appreciate the value of all other places, I now kinda get this affection for California. Not a bad place after all!



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