Students said they learned of Nelson Mandela's death on social media.
While not every student knew his history, many said they were inspired that one man could make such an impact on the world.
One UCSB African Studies professor said he was in his office listening to a radio station from South Africa Thursday when he heard the news. Prof. Mhoze Chikowero said it hit him like a sledgehammer. He plans to teach a class next winter about Mandela and his fight against oppression.
Terron Wilkerson, a Black Studies major, said he thinks of Mandela like Martin Luther King and Ghandi. He hopes young people will learn more about South Africa's first black president as the world mourns his passing.