As defined during its creation, the Mission Statement for the UC Observatories (UCO) is to Provide UC Astronomers with continuing access to preeminent observing and instrumental facilities

• Design and build advanced equipment for the Lick and Keck Telescopes, including major optics, instruments, detectors, and software systems.

• Maintain and operate Lick Observatory on Mount Hamilton, for use by scientists and students from all UC campuses, the Lawrence Berkeley Lab and LLNL.

• Provide an administrative interface for UC and scientific support to the Keck and TMT Observatories.

• Support through its faculty and facilities graduate and undergraduate teaching and the training of astronomy Ph.D.s throughout the UC system.

• Conduct forefront research in astronomy and astrophysics.

• Provide an organization that can unite and coordinate astronomy groups throughout the UC system in support of the Keck and Lick Observatories.

• Represent the interests of UCO/IR astronomers in external forums such as Keck Observatory, TMT and on the national and international level.

• Promote science literacy through public service to help strengthen public interest in and knowledge of science and the scientific method in communities throughout California.

Our founding documents

James Lick

James Lick’s will stipulated that all of his fortune should be used for the public good, including $700,000 for the building of the observatory.

(Below) James Lick’s original charter from his last will and testament.

(Below) The US Senate and House of Representatives of the United States Congress set aside the use of US lands (Mount Hamilton) to be used for James Lick’s Observatory. Dated June 7, 1876.

In 1888, Lick Observatory was completed and given to the University of California as the Lick Astronomical Department. The Observatory was the first permanently staffed mountain top observatory in the world and housed the largest refracting telescope in the world at that time.

(Below) In 1964 the headquarters for Lick Observatory was moved from Mount Hamilton to the University of California Santa Cruz. UC Regents Board minutes of November 20, 1964.