July 1, 2008
UC San Diego has rapidly achieved the status as one of the nation’s leading higher education and research universities. One of the advantages of being a relatively young campus is we’re still evolving and expanding. We’ve created a tradition of excellence and innovation, but we’re also still creating our traditions. We’ve built a solid foundation in the arts and sciences, but we’re still building our campus. And while we’ve been working to enhance student life at the university, we’re also working to strengthen the connection between our alumni and UC San Diego.
One of our new traditions kicked off this year, the All Campus Graduation Celebration, on June 19 at RIMAC Field. Students had expressed interest in a joint graduation ceremony for years, and this provided all of our graduates with the opportunity to unite and commemorate their milestone accomplishments together as members of the UC San Diego family. Nearly 500 students and their friends and family members attended the inaugural ceremony. This year we also created two new awards to recognize an Outstanding Senior and an Outstanding Graduate Student. The awards were presented to Emma Sandoe and Serena Moseman during the celebration. I congratulate them, and all of our graduates, on their achievements.
As you may know, I filled in as the keynote speaker at the graduation celebration since our scheduled speaker, Robert F. Kennedy, Jr., decided to honor the request of the American Federation of State, County and Municipal Employees (AFSCME), which asked commencement speakers across the UC system not to give their commencement addresses. The University of California Office of the President and AFSCME union representatives continue to negotiate toward a mutually agreeable contract. I have great personal sympathy for our staff colleagues who work so hard for our university in one of the most expensive regions of our nation. I have expressed to the UC Office of the President my conviction that both sides are eager to reach a contract agreement so that we may continue to serve higher education in California.
Another new tradition, Senior Week, started this year. The goal of Senior Week was to have a series of events and field trips for seniors who had a one-week gap between finals and commencement because of the impact of the U.S. Open at the Torrey Pines Golf Course. The Senior Week Committee planned myriad activities including excursions to Mission Bay, the San Diego Zoo, SeaWorld and a Padres game. There was also an “End of The Finals” party and an “Official Grad Night.” Also during Senior Week, the Class of 2008 plaque was unveiled in a special ceremony on Library Walk. We are truly grateful to all of the Senior Week committee members for creating fun and memorable activities for our graduates. The week’s events allowed our seniors to bond one last time before graduation and also helped create a lasting connection between our seniors and the university. We hope to continue the Senior Week tradition next year.
There was an aura of excitement in the air during the week of the U.S. Open at the Torrey Pines Golf Course. Even if you’re not a big golf fan, you probably noticed the buzz of activity across the street from campus. The event drew tens of thousands of spectators and lasted a day longer than expected when Tiger Woods took on Rocco Mediate in a playoff to win the title. I am pleased to report, thanks to our U.S. Open Committee’s proactive planning and communication with the USGA, our community partners and our staff, students, faculty and visitors, there was no impact on the university’s day-to-day operations, and traffic wasn’t too bad either. It helped that about 1,000 employees took advantage of flexible work arrangements, including telecommuting and off-campus retreats. The USGA, the city and Caltrans also worked with UCSD to protect university parking spots and prevent traffic jams around campus. I personally enjoyed visiting the golf course and spending time with students, faculty, staff, alumni and university friends.
I thank all of our staff, students and faculty who spent much time and effort planning and coordinating all of the recent special events on and around our campus. June was an incredible and memorable month at UC San Diego. Enjoy the summer.
With warm regards,
Marye Anne Fox