This is the happiest time of the year at UCI. After all the years, after so many thousands of hours of work and so many long days and late nights, after all the sacrifices and after all the setbacks that were overcome and the triumphs that were celebrated, this past weekend 9,548 Anteaters received diplomas in recognition of the successful completion of their studies. For those of us who have had the privilege of walking alongside our students on this journey, it is always a great moment when they shift their tassels from one side to the other or don their graduate hoods for the first time — especially when, for the second year in a row, fully half of those who earned bachelor’s degrees are the very first in their families to do so. We are all terribly proud of the Class of 2018 as its members leave us to make their own marks on the world.
Competitive, organized esports is one of the fastest-growing activities on American college campuses. UCI started its varsity esports team two and a half years ago — making us a pioneer in this fast-paced and challenging pastime — and earlier this month, our UCI team won the 2018 League of Legends College Championship, upsetting Columbia College in the final, which was watched online by tens of thousands of people around the world. This is our first esports national championship but surely not the last, as all the members of our powerful team will be back next year to represent UCI. Congratulations to them on their tremendous success!
Golden Age ranking
Each year, Times Higher Education ranks the top universities around the world founded between 1945 and 1967, what it calls the Golden Age in global higher education, a period marked by rapid university expansion and increasing investment in research. For the second year in a row, UCI placed ninth, reflecting its international stature as a research university.The same magazine ranks UCI in the top 100 of all universities in the world. These designations are gratifying, but we are not resting on our laurels. As we have done throughout our history, we strive every day to become even better at fulfilling our mission of mobilizing knowledge to serve the public good and educating the best and brightest regardless of background.
UCI is an exceptional, world-class university thanks to the outstanding scholarly achievements of our talented faculty. Recently, biological chemistry professor Robert Moyzis and chemistry professor Sergey Nizkorodov were elected fellows of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, an honor bestowed on AAAS members by their peers. Professor Moyzis was lauded for the discovery and molecular cloning of the human telomere, a notable addition to what we know about the structure and function of chromosomes. Professor Nizkorodov was recognized for his tremendous contributions to fundamental molecular chemistry and the photochemistry of complex organic aerosols. With their addition to this year’s class, UCI now has 141 fellows in the association. Congratulations, Robert and Sergey!UCI sustainability efforts earn rare STARS platinum rating
Honor for human resources
UCI’s human resources team has received the prestigious College & University Professional Association for Human Resources’ 2018 HR Innovation Award. It earned this honor for the creation and implementation of our new HR business model, which provides for streamlined and consistent processes and procedures and the alignment of resources across the university’s three HR organizations: campus, medical center and health sciences. Congratulations to Ramona Agrela, associate chancellor and chief human resources executive, and her leadership team for spearheading this important advance in our work culture.
UCI Engage awards
UCI Engage coordinates, amplifies and celebrates the incredible work being done through collaborations between our faculty and community organizations. Recently, at its inaugural Celebration of Community Engagement, 27 local groups and UCI students, staff, faculty and alumni were honored for their efforts to make life better for our nearby friends and neighbors. I encourage you to take a moment to view the winners.
Retirement of Coach Gillespie
Mike Gillespie, the legendary and much-revered coach of our baseball team, has retired after 11 seasons leading the Anteaters. Few have accomplished as much as he has during his storied career as a college baseball coach. Twice named national coach of the year, he is one of only two men to have earned College World Series championships as a player and a coach. Under his guidance, UCI competed in the postseason five times, winning regional titles in 2008, 2011 and 2014, when the team went on to play in the College World Series. In recognition of what he has meant to college baseball and to UCI, his uniform number, 19, has been retired and will forever be enshrined on the outfield wall at Cicerone Field.The legacy of Skip
Summer activities on campus
This is my last monthly message of the academic year, but that does not mean the campus is going quiet. In addition to all the activities associated with our two-session summer quarter, there will be lots going on. For example, the New Swan Theatre will once again be offering Shakespeare under the stars. This year’s plays are “A Midsummer Night’s Dream” and “The Winter’s Tale.” In August, Langson Library is holding two First Folio Fridays, during which UCI’s own copy of a Shakespeare First Folio will be on display and expert commentary will be provided. For the third year, UCI is hosting the Los Angeles Rams training camp; fans can attend football practice, cheer on the players and mingle with other fans. Please check our transportation website in a few weeks for full details. And at the very end of the summer, just when classes resume, we will present “First Glimpse: Introducing the Buck Collection,” showcasing some of the highlights of the renowned Buck Collection of modern California art. Yes, there’s a lot to see and do this summer, and I hope you will come to campus and enjoy these events. Zot! Zot! Zot!