You really shouldn't be a stranger to that 140-year-old real-estate development giant. Based in Newport Beach and owned by squillionaire Donald Bren, the Irvine Co. is responsible for implanting all those suburban master-planned communities you and the rest Orange County are so very fond of. Looking out the window of your basic Irvine Co.-owned apartment in the city that bears the name, you will behold rows upon rows of these planned communities. A truly depressing sight: the nearly identical, neatly trimmed trees, identical neatly trimmed lawns, identical streets of identical houses and identical apartments, all in varying shades of beige stucco.
While the place looks nice (if you dig uniformity), the bland suburban stucco thing just isn't for everyone. But, it must also be said: The Irvine Co. is ultimately partially responsible for UC Irvine, having donated 1,000 acres (and sold 500 acres) to the school in 1959. And in the years to come, the company and Bren himself have also donated oodles of cash to UC Irvine. As the name of one of UCI's most popular Facebook groups goes, "I Hate the Irvine Company but Don't Tell Them or Else They'll Stop Giving UCI Money."