The University of Sapphire at New Cleveland is an Academic Mega-Corporation located in the City of New Cleveland on the planet Sapphire. It is one of the planet’s pre-eminent centers of learning (some would argue the pre-eminent center of learning) and operates enterprises in a range of industries.
Founded: AS 4656 (as New Cleveland Lakeside Academy and Waffle Hut) The first class consisted of some thirty students and two professors, one of whom was Lexington Keeler himself, meeting on the shores of Lake of the Loons, and frequently devolved into wrestling matches and sexual orgies. Nevertheless, the school gradually grew and became established as a worthy center of learning over the next two decades.
Lexington Keeler believed that a proper education could not be achieved in isolation from the normal commerce and industry of society as a whole. His university was structured to combine academic and commercial activities in a profitable and self-sustaining environment that provided students, faculty, and staff with practical, real world expertise and help make himself rich in the process. And if a few young females with pliant standards of virtue were thrown in, so much the better. In the beginning, students at New Cleveland University paid their professors directly for the cost of their education. Students still pay for classes on an a la carte basis, negotiating tuition with individual professors, with courses highest in demand commanding the highest tuition.
Over the centuries, the university expanded and grew as its reputation increased. In 5467, eight hundred years after its founding and shortly after the start of the Great Silence, the school somewhat reluctantly changed its name to the University of Sapphire at New Cleveland. This was during a time of financial difficulty for the University, and in exchange for financial support from the planetary government in Corvallis, the college affiliated itself with the Global University System. (The Keeler family objected vigorously, but lacked the power to do much about it).
Eventually, the school was able to re-establish independence, which it achieved before the collapse of the Global University System in 6103 (during the ‘Thousand Year Blight’). The USNC has been self-supporting ever since, and its schools operate as incorporated business enterprises, with students working as associates, providing labor in addition to their studies.
As of the 74th Century, the campus of USNC covers more than 100 square kilometers in the city of New Cleveland and environs, and owns 63 buildings, including such landmarks including AA Tower, the Red Jacket Financial Center, the Mindbomb Communications Center, the Tampering in the Allbeing’s Domain Advanced Physics Laboratory, and the Thunderdome. That number does not include leased space in buildings not owned by the University, nor student apartments and dormitories, which are privately owned and managed. Through its schools and affiliated enterprises, USNC is the major employer in the Greater New Cleveland Metropolitan region, directly employing nearly 30% of the local workforce.
Schools, Colleges, and Enterprises
College of Engineering and Technology: Sells its engineering capabilities as consultants across the two systems. Major projects include: the Loki Terraforming Project, Advanced Starflight, Geophysical Energy Harvesting, Artificial Intelligence, and Advanced Hyperspace Navigation Systems. Courses of study include Spatial Architecture, Artificial Intelligence, Quantum Engineering, Defense Against the Dark Arts, Terraforming and Geo-Engineering, Chemical and Atomic Engineering, Energy and Power Engineering, Biomechanical Engineering, Systems Engineering, Industrial Design, Extraction Engineering (Terrestrial and Deep Space), Bioform Engineering,
College of Architecture and Infrastructure – To support its programs in Civil Engineering and Architecture, the college sells these capabilities throughout the Sapphire and Republic systems, and recently opened a consultancies with Bountiful, Wolf’s Head, Denali, and Bella La Cava colonies to design buildings, cities, and major infrastructure on the planet. Courses are within the disciplines of Terrestrial Architecture, Space Architecture, and Architecture in Challenging Environments (e.g. planets with different gravitational and atmospheric conditions than Sapphire and other Terra Class worlds) and their counterparts Terrestrial Infrastructures, Space Infrastructures, Infrastructures for Challenging Environments.
College of Business and Management: Operates a range of enterprises and business services in Sapphire’s retail, banking, and investment industries. USNC Bank and USNC Investments rank among the most successful financial houses on the planet. Also runs the very successful “Angry Chef” chain of bistros featuring affordable cuisine in a mildly abusive atmosphere as well as several fine dining establishment under its Culinary Arts division. Courses of study include Entrepreneurship, Managing Enterprises, Maximizing Efficiency, Investment Management, Risk Management, Accounting, Actuarial, Marketing, Espionage, Exploiting the Law, Contracts, and quite a large number of other businessy things.
College of Literature, Cultural, and Arts: Financed by operation of the Mindbomb Entertainment Nexus, the college produces entertainment, sports, and artistic media in a variety of forms.
College of Medicine – Operates the UNSC Medical Enterprise that provides healing to the entire Greater New Cleveland region, and consulting services. Includes the Colleges of Therapeutic Pharmcology and Recreational Pharmacology.
College of Useful Trades – The University operates an apprentice program providing instruction and mastery in trades including Plumbing; Power Systems; Vehicle Maintenance, Repair and Overhaul; Construction Trades; Mechanoid Repair and Maintenance; Agriculture and Horticulture; zero-G Operations; and Metallurgy. Most students work an indentured apprenticeship, repaying the school through a lien on their wages.
College of the Sciences – Includes the university’s renowned History program, of which Professor Bill Keeler is the most distinguished alumnus. The least profitable of the University’s enterprises, it is underwritten by an endowment from the Keeler Trust, Consultancy to the planet’s space transport industry, and holds the distribution rights to Double AA Lager. Apart from history, other courses of study include Anthropology, Chemistry, Mathematics, Meteorology, Planetology and Geophysics, Astrophysics, Stellar Cartography, Biology, Exolinguistics and Exosociology.
Student population: ~36,000 in university studies, ~6,600 in advanced studies
Admission to USNC is highly competitive and based on merit, financial resources and creditworthiness, and the ability to absorb abuse. The vast majority of the student body comes from the population of Sapphire, as well as students from Loki and Republic. The University is open to students from any inhabited world, but most potential students are put off by the need to spend months or years in hypersleep to reach the planet.
As such, the university has begun developing franchises on some of the other inhabited worlds, including Bella La Cava, Wolf’s Head, Denali, Chaldea (in the Bountiful System), Anerin and Tau Matawhakatangihangakoauauotamateapokaiwhenuakitanatahu; usually by acquiring a failing private university on one of those worlds, relocating some ambitious alumni to set up shop, and establishing the school under the name of its affiliate network USapphire-Galactic.
University Mascot – The Armpit Avengers (The nickname Admiral Lexington Keeler gave to his crew during the Ninth Crusade). Periodic attempts to change the name to the ‘Red Jackets’ (the name of Admiral Keeler’s privateer) have routinely been rejected by wide margins.
University colors: Black and Gold
University Motto: "Premum Pecunia" ("Cash up front.")
Sports and Athletics
Most athletic competitions take place at the Double A Sports Complex located northeast of the Main Academic campus, primarily in a large Arena known as Thunderdome, and are broadcast across the University-owned Alpha Dog Sport Nexus.
- Aerial Inertial Combat
- Air Hockey
- Centrifugal Bumble Puppy
- Co-Ed Naked Beach Walleyball
- Cyborg Gladiator Deathmatch
- Hide and Seek
- Ice Hockey
- Iron Cross
- Jetcar Racing
- Land Hockey
- Motorcycle Roundball
- Water Polo
Most Athletic Competitions take place with other schools and colleges of the Southern Tesseract Conference (named for a constellation called The Tesseract, visible only in Sapphire’s southern hemisphere) consisting of Major Universities Across Oz (Alpha) Continent.
Major athletic rivals include the University of Southern Panrovia (Strongmen), University of Sapphire – Arcadia (Hawkmen), University of Sapphire – Baden Baden Baden (Labradors), University of Matthias Bay (Molluscs), Great Forest University (Arborials), Thistledown University (Stalking Cats), and Graceland Continental University (Combine Harvesters).
Athletic Logo: Two letter A’s joined by black and gold splatter; similar to the stencil used by Lexington Keeler’s crew to identify their property.
Fight song: “Oil and Gold”