Monthly Message from Chancellor Howard Gillman

November 2016

It’s application season for the UC system, which means thousands of hopeful students will spend the next couple of weeks drafting the perfect personal statement in hopes of becoming an Anteater. Last year, UCI received nearly 100,000 applications, a compelling confirmation that our beautiful campus is a premier destination for those seeking world-class academics, accomplished faculty and endless opportunities to learn, develop and grow.

Earlier this month, Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Thomas Parham visited Compton High School to encourage high-achieving, low-income students to apply to UCI. His message was simple: An affordable, elite education is within reach for those who work hard, regardless of their personal or economic backgrounds. Vice Chancellor Parham was joined by UCI alumnus Keith Curry, Ed.D. ’11, CEO of the Compton Community College District, who offered insights into his time at UCI and provided tools for success. The duo spoke at the campus as part of Achieve UC, an initiative that aims to increase diversity among undergraduates systemwide.

Excellence in diversity, leadership

Diversity is a priority at any comprehensive university. At UCI, we recognize that when people with a variety of backgrounds and viewpoints come together, we can participate in meaningful discussion and learn from one another. Earlier this year, UCI was named an Asian American and Native American Pacific Islander-Serving Institution, becoming the first UC campus and first member of the Association of American Universities to receive the title from the U.S. Department of Education. The distinction enabled UCI to receive a $1.7 million grant to support the Graduate Division’s Diverse Educational Community and Doctoral Experience Partnering in Leadership for Undergraduate Students program, more commonly known as DECADE PLUS. The unique program aspires to enhance undergraduate retention through mentorship from peers and graduate student coaches. It also provides an excellent opportunity for our talented graduate students to gain valuable leadership and development skills. You can learn more about DECADE PLUS here.

New School of Nursing dean

I am pleased to share that Adeline Nyamathi has been appointed director of UCI’s nursing science program, professor of nursing science and future founding dean of the anticipated Sue & Bill Gross School of Nursing. Professor Nyamathi currently serves as associate dean for research and international scholarship at UCLA’s School of Nursing, where she has led teams on more than a dozen NIH-funded research projects on HIV/AIDS, tuberculosis and hepatitis. A renowned scholar, she has authored more than 200 peer-reviewed publications and investigated the living conditions of women with AIDS in rural India. Professor Nyamathi holds a master’s degree in nursing and an adult nurse practitioner certification from the State University of New York at Stony Brook and a doctorate from Case Western Reserve University’s Frances Payne Bolton School of Nursing. She begins her appointment at UCI in January.

Research news

UCI faculty play a key role in examining the world’s great mysteries and are vigorously seeking solutions to problems that have a direct impact on life as we know it. Bernd Scheuchl, a professor of Earth system science, has partnered with NASA to study the effects of climate change on West Antarctica. Their research found the fastest ongoing rates of glacier retreat ever observed in the region. By investigating glacier bedrock and ocean conditions, scientists hope they can better anticipate future ice loss and sea level rise and prepare for the global consequences.

Locally, Kristin Turney, associate professor of sociology, has been examining the health risks of children in foster care. For a recent article in Pediatrics, she analyzed survey data from 900,000 children to find that those in the foster care system are at considerably higher risk of mental and physical health issues such as depression, anxiety, attention deficit disorder, hearing and vision impairments, asthma and obesity. The research provides a deeper understanding of how foster care affects a child’s comprehensive well-being and may be used as a resource for pediatricians and social workers.

Shane Ardo, assistant professor of chemistry, recently was named one of five inaugural Moore Inventor Fellows by the Gordon & Betty Moore Foundation. The designation comes with $825,000 to fund the development of solar-powered desalination technologies. Professor Ardo’s laboratory is working on a plastic bottle that could purify seawater for personal use. The devices would make freshwater available more readily, more cheaply and with less environmental impact than conventional desalination plants.

Social ecology field study program

One of the most crucial steps students can take in college is to engage in real-life work experience related to their field, be it through volunteerism or a paid internship. Brooke Herd ’16, an alumna of the School of Social Ecology field study program, spent several months with Coastline Community College’s Acquired Brain Injury Program, helping to rehabilitate people suffering from speech and memory disabilities. As part of her duties, Brooke took notes for patients who couldn’t remember how to write and re-taught skills such as how to use a computer. Each year, the students in the field study program, a requirement for social ecology undergrads, log more than 100,000 hours of service at more than 230 organizations. Projects range from aiding law enforcement agencies to assisting youth shelters and food distribution centers – mutually beneficial experiences for both students and the local community. For Brooke, the program provided invaluable hands-on training that she hopes to apply in her future career. Her goal is to become a geriatric neuropsychologist.

Art donation

UCI is humbled and honored to be the recipient of the generous donation of the Irvine Museum’s art collection, as announced by the organization’s president, James Irvine Swinden. Valued at $17 million, it’s the campus’s single largest gift of art to date. This donation reaffirms a long and supportive relationship between UCI and the Irvine family, and it lays a foundation for advancing our campus as a destination for people who want to understand the world and human experience through California art. UCI aspires to be a hub for the study and appreciation of this unique artwork, and we believe our campus is the ideal location to serve as steward of this vibrant part of our state’s cultural history. The curated collection features some of the most exquisite pieces of California impressionism in the world – works from notable artists such as William Wendt, Franz A. Bischoff, George Brandriff, Frank Cuprien, Joseph Kleitsch and Donna Schuster. The art will continue to be on display at the Irvine Museum until an alternative site is identified at UCI. You can read more about the collection in the Daily Pilot and the Orange County Register. Please join me in expressing our deepest gratitude to the Irvine family for their continued philanthropy and friendship.

In memoriam: Ralph Cicerone

It is with deep sadness that I share the passing of Ralph J. Cicerone, chancellor emeritus and longtime friend of the university. Ralph arrived on campus in 1989 as a renowned scientist and expert in atmospheric chemistry who went on to found UCI’s Department of Earth System Science and serve as dean of the School of Physical Sciences. He was appointed UCI’s fourth chancellor in 1998. During his administration, UCI experienced an overwhelming period of growth and achievement. The campus soared in national rankings, undergraduate admissions became increasingly selective, private funding grew tremendously, and construction began on the $375 million teaching hospital at UC Irvine Medical Center. For his powerful and profound work as a chemist and Earth system scientist, and for his recognized stature in his discipline, we in academia salute him. For his courageous work uncovering the causes and effects of climate change, the world owes him a debt of gratitude. And from UCI, we offer Ralph our own special thanks for his extraordinary contribution to the global preeminence of this institution. Our sincerest condolences go out to Ralph’s wife, Carol; their daughter, Sara Cicerone; and their twin grandchildren.

Admirable Anteaters

In recognition of the recent Veterans Day holiday, I would like to share a bit about two exceptional Anteaters who are doing their part to bring awareness and aid to fellow veterans. David J. Morris, M.F.A. ’09, a former Marine infantry officer, will return to campus later this month to speak as part of the School of Humanities’ “Documenting War” series. A war correspondent in Iraq from 2004 to 2007, David is the author of The Evil Hours: A Biography of Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder, a critically acclaimed book that shares accounts of people battling PTSD, including his own struggle; examines the psychological effects of trauma; and explores the history of treating PTSD in the United States.

Aaron Anderson ’13, an international studies alumnus and current MBA student at UCI, is the founder of the Green Beret Foundation, a nonprofit that aids Army Special Forces soldiers and their families. The cause is particularly important to Aaron, a former Green Beret who enlisted shortly after the 9/11 terrorist attacks. Following a near-death experience in Afghanistan that resulted in life-altering injuries, Aaron started the foundation as a way to fill the gap he saw in funding and resources for veterans in transitional phases, such as injury recovery. The foundation sends financial support and supplies to wounded Green Berets in the hospital and has even provided college scholarships for their children. We applaud David and Aaron for their service and meaningful work.

As many of you prepare to visit family and friends for Thanksgiving, I hope you will take time to acknowledge the people who have positively affected your life. I am particularly thankful to the entire Anteater community for your unwavering support of our mission.

Fiat Lux,

Chancellor Howard Gillman