Thousands of Anteater alumni, students and supporters and their families and friends thronged Aldrich Park on Saturday, March 3, for our annual homecoming celebration and family weekend, connecting with the campus through a day of fun, discovery, innovation, athletics and school pride. The classes of ’68, ’78, ’93, ’08 and ’13 celebrated milestone reunions, exchanging stories of their undergraduate days and catching up on the years since graduation. The Ferris wheel offered a different view of the campus, the alumni-owned food trucks provided food from around the world, Peter the Anteater was very popular with Anteaters of all ages, and the fireworks show was spectacular! The day ended with a sold-out basketball game pitting UCI against conference rival UC Davis. You can watch a video of some of the day’s activities on the UCI YouTube channel here or view a slideshow here.
United to End Homelessness
Great public research universities exist to generate knowledge for the benefit of humankind. Sometimes we tackle global challenges, such as when our Nobel Prize-winning scientists discovered that chlorofluorocarbons destroy the ozone layer and thus saved the planet. Sometimes we mobilize the best minds across all relevant disciplines to identify and address pressing issues within our communities. Last year, professors David Snow and Rachel Goldberg of the School of Social Sciences examined expenditures by Orange County, its various cities and its nongovernmental agencies to provide services to the county’s homeless population. Using their comprehensive report as a springboard, top leaders from Orange County’s corporate, philanthropic, faith-based, government and nonprofit sectors gathered two weeks ago at UCI for the official launch of United to End Homelessness. The communitywide initiative led by Orange County United Way aims to ensure that integrated and sustainable solutions based on the report’s recommendations are implemented.
Women’s History Month
In honor of Women’s History Month, UCI is profiling on its website one Anteater a week who embodies what it means to be “fierce.” Once reserved for soldiers and athletes, the term has been popularized by music stars Katy Perry, Beyonce and others and now describes enormous positive strength of all kinds. Each of the women we’re showcasing has leaped over a variety of obstacles to transform herself, our campus community and, in some cases, the world. Lydia Natoolo is a student body president who overcame homelessness to earn her degree this June and who started a nonprofit to provide clean water, solar power and more to her impoverished African birthplace. Katie Salen is a pioneering informatics professor who’s been dubbed one of the five most influential women in “gamification” for her work using play to better educate people. Anne Krieghoff is UC’s top recycling manager and survived October’s mass shooting in Las Vegas. And Viridiana Chabolla Mendoza is a law school student and DACA recipient offering wise counsel to others as she challenges the White House in court. They’re just a few of UCI’s fiercest female students, faculty and staff worth saluting this month and all year.Women making history
One of the most joyous rites of spring on our campus is the annual Match Day celebration at the School of Medicine, when soon-to-be graduates find out where they will pursue their specialty training as residents. Last Friday, this year’s class, 99 strong, gathered at the Bren Events Center, where – one at a time – the future doctors were called to the podium to open an envelope and read aloud before hundreds of family members, friends and classmates the name and location of the hospital where they will spend the next three to seven years of their professional lives. It was truly heartening to share in their passion and pleasure as their dreams were being realized. Congratulations to them all!Meeting their match
UC Charter Day
Friday, March 23, the University of California marks its 150th anniversary as the leader in American public higher education. The decision of the people of California to create this extraordinary system should go down in history as one of the most visionary decisions ever made by a free, democratic people in support of their own well-being. An institution created by the people in order to serve the people, the UC in all its roles – educating undergraduates, preparing the next generation of scholars and professionals, exploring the frontiers of science, addressing pressing social challenges, engaging fundamental questions of morality and human value, devising new clinical practices, unleashing new forms of creative expression, and forging partnerships with communities – has played a central role in the creation and advancement of modern California.
The motto of the University of California is Fiat Lux – Let There Be Light – the light of knowledge, the light of self-determination, the light of a better life for each succeeding generation. This is the noble mission of the UC, and I feel privileged to be part of it.