January 2015

I hope you had a restful, refreshing and/or productive holiday season. Our students, faculty and staff returned to campus eager to tackle a new year and pursue new goals. Students are absorbed in their winter classes and service projects, faculty are deep into their research and actively developing fresh programs, and New Year’s resolutions are coming to fruition through our Fifty for 50 Volunteer Program.

This year, UCI will offer an array of opportunities for the Anteater family and friends to learn, grow and engage as we celebrate our 50th Anniversary. From our annual Homecoming celebration this month to the 5K Family Fun Run and 50th Anniversary Festival of Discovery in October, I hope you will join us throughout the year to commemorate this historic milestone.

Resolving to give back

Several UCI students got a jump on their New Year’s resolution to give back to the community by launching a free health clinic in Garden Grove. Under the direction and supervision of Dr. Baotran Vo, a family medicine and primary care specialist, medical students administer patient care and undergraduates observe and manage operational duties, including ordering medical supplies. The project started as a student club last year and quickly gained support from other students, faculty and local health organizations. To raise funds for the clinic, students sold Vietnamese sandwiches and hot chocolate on campus.

Resolving to give back: Students open free clinic in Garden Grove 

Student awards

Christine Pham
Christine Pham, a biological sciences major, received a Donald A. Strauss Public Service Scholarship.

UCI students are passionate about making the world a better place by improving the lives of people in Orange County. Christine Pham, a biological sciences major, received a Donald A. Strauss Public Service Scholarship and is currently leading an exercise and nutrition course for grade school students in Orange. In collaboration with THINK Together, a local after-school program, Pham teaches fourth- and fifth-grade students about the benefits of physical activity and healthy eating.

Five UCI students were recently awarded UC Global Food Initiative Fellowships to establish and develop community gardens, food pantries, urban agriculture and sustainable food systems. Implemented by UC President Janet Napolitano, the initiative unites UC campuses to focus on issues related to agriculture, medicine, nutrition, climate science, public policy, social science, biological science, humanities, arts and law.

UCI's Scholarship Opportunities Program helps students snag funding 

Attracting even more of the best and brightest

The word is out: UCI continues to be a top choice for high-achieving students looking for a world-class education. We received nearly 89,000 freshman and transfer applications for fall 2015, an impressive 7.7 percent increase over last year. UCI can now boast the second-largest number of in-state applications in the entire UC system. UCI also received more freshman applications from Chicano/Latino students than any other UC campus. This surge in applicants is a testament to the amazing work done every day by members of this community, the stories our students tell about their outstanding experiences, and the advocacy efforts of our supporters. Now the work begins to make admissions decisions, and then to bring a great new group of students to campus in the fall.

Applications numbers point to another record year for UCI 

Faculty highlights

This month, Professor of Law Mario L. Barnes and Assistant Professor of Law Seth Davis were celebrated at the Association of American Law Schools Annual Meeting in Washington, D.C., for excellence in legal education. Barnes received the Clyde Ferguson Award, the highest honor bestowed by the AALS Section on Minority Groups to law professors for outstanding work in public service, teaching and scholarship. Davis was recognized with the Section on Federal Courts Best Article Award for his superb piece, “Implied Public Rights of Action,” published by the Columbia Law Review journal.

Marc Madou, Chancellor’s Professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering, was named a fellow of the National Academy of Inventors. Madou has devoted his career to solving chemical and biological problems and has more than 100 issued patents and invention disclosures. In addition to starting five businesses, including a company that develops high-energy batteries, he has authored eight books, more than a dozen chapters and over 330 academic papers.

John C. Hemminger, vice chancellor for research and professor of chemistry, was recognized with a special Festschrift issue of the Journal of Physical Chemistry published in his honor. Hemminger, a UCI alumnus, is a renowned surface scientist whose research has influenced generations of chemists and physicists. Among his many career achievements, he has served as chair of the Basic Energy Sciences Advisory Committee for the U.S. Department of Energy and shared his research findings before Congress.

Hemminger honored with Festschrift issue of physical chemistry journal 

In remembrance

On a somber note, UCI is mourning the loss of Al Irwin, our first men’s water polo and swimming coach, who passed away in his Newport Beach home last month at the age of 96. A World War II Navy veteran and Orange County sports legend, Irwin was essential in the development of UCI’s athletics department. Under his leadership, the Anteaters had their first water polo victory in 1965 and were named NCAA swimming and diving champions in 1969. He was inducted into the UCI Athletics Hall of Fame in 1983 and honored in 2013 with the dedication of the Al Irwin Academic Center, a state-of-the-art student-athlete academic support and study space.

We also said goodbye to UCI nuclear fusion pioneer Norman Rostoker, who passed away on Christmas Day at 89 years old. Rostoker co-founded Tri Alpha Energy with celebrated physicists, including Nobel Prize winner Glenn Seaborg, to develop a clean source of fusion-based energy. His groundbreaking research was vital in the creation of plasma-based fusion reactors.

This month, we remember one of UCI’s dearest friends, Margaret “Peggie” Sprague, who passed away in her Corona del Mar home. A philanthropist and lifelong learner, Peggie and her husband, Robert, spent much of their lives making Orange County a better place. In 2008, they received the Spirit of Philanthropy Lifetime Achievement Award and in 1998 they were awarded the UCI Medal, the university’s highest honor. Peggie and Robert’s support has touched UCI in significant ways, leading to the establishment of the Robert R. Sprague Endowed Chair and the opening of Sprague Hall, which houses our Cancer Research Institute at the School of Medicine. We are honored by the legacy the Spragues have left on our campus and in the community.

Orange County's movers and shakers

UCI has touched the lives of countless people in Orange County and throughout the world. Last month, more than a dozen UCI affiliates – students, faculty, donors and supporters – were named among the most influential people in the region by the Orange County Register. Honorees included Mamadou Ndiaye, the tallest player in college basketball and UCI’s star center; Kerry Parker Burnight, professor of gerontology; Scott Samuelsen, director of the National Fuel Cell Research Center and professor emeritus of mechanical and aerospace engineering; Susan Huang, director of epidemiology and infection prevention; and Emile Haddad, chair of the UC Irvine Foundation board of trustees.

Anteaters among OC Register's 'Most Influential People' 

Shaping the future

The start of a new year is an excellent opportunity to reflect on how far our university has come, in large part due to the support of friends, alumni and donors. UCI has received more than $950 million toward the Shaping the Future Campaign, our $1 billion fundraising effort to advance programs that create a brighter future for our community, nation and world. Throughout the campaign, more than 87,000 people have made gifts for causes they believe in. A shining example is the Gavin Herbert Eye Institute, a world class ophthalmology research center at UC Irvine made possible by $39 million in private support. Staffed by a team of lauded physicians, surgeons and scientists, the institute actively improves the quality of life for those with cataracts, glaucoma, macular degeneration and other eye disorders. I encourage you to learn more about the Shaping the Future Campaign and discover the ways UCI education, innovation and problem-solving research are impacting the world.


Next week, UCI will host a special Homecoming celebration to commemorate our 50th Anniversary. The event will feature a festival in Aldrich Park with live music and student performances, academic open houses, exhibits, lectures and games. We’ll also serve a signature golden anniversary Anteater Ale, specially brewed for the occasion. Homecoming is a wonderful occasion to see and experience what makes UCI such a terrific place to thrive. I hope to see you there!

 Homecoming 2015: Celebrating 50 years of UCI