May 2, 2011
What a year it’s been with UC San Diego’s 50th anniversary commemoration—and it’s not over yet. We still have two months to go until the end of the anniversary celebration and the academic year, and I hope you’ll be a part of the upcoming special events on campus. This month, we’ll have our first Powwow at UC San Diego in nearly 20 years and our fun-filled Alumni Weekend in June will wrap up our anniversary festivities. And there’s still time to be an active part of the 50th anniversary celebration by joining Volunteer50: Chancellor’s Call to Service and participating in an upcoming service project.
Achieving the Extraordinary Through Service
Volunteer50 is about giving back to the community that has supported us for five decades. Since we launched the program in September, more than 3,000 people have signed up for the program and logged 40,000 hours. Our goal is to reach a cumulative 50,000 hours of service by the end of our anniversary celebration in June. It’s not too late to sign up and start your service, or if you’ve been volunteering all year long but haven’t logged your hours, you can start logging today. All you have to do is visit Volunteer50.ucsd.edu and click on sign in/sign up. Any and all volunteer service is encouraged and welcomed, whether or not you serve 50 hours. Also visit our Volunteer50 Facebook page to see photos from our “Hands On San Diego” project at Bell Middle School on April 30, which was organized by our students with AS Volunteer Connection and kicked off “UC San Diego Cares Week.” Volunteers lent helping hands and minds to paint the school and tutor a group of young students in math. I thank all of our volunteers; I am proud of you and this initiative. UC San Diego students, staff, faculty and alumni truly are making a difference. I hope to see you at a future service project.
Faculty Discuss Looming Budget Cuts
In only 50 years, UC San Diego has become the youngest of the best and the best of the youngest. We’ve rapidly evolved from a fledgling campus to a world-renowned research university with a tradition of excellence and innovation. Preserving that academic quality is a top priority that was recently discussed at the April 26 Academic Senate Representative Assembly meeting. Chair Frank Powell led a spirited dialogue regarding questions from faculty members about the looming budget cuts. Joel Sobel, professor of Economics and Academic Senate Vice Chair, gave a concise overview of the budget challenges we face this year and in continuing years. One example cited in the presentation—of the university’s revenues of $3.1 billion, only $269 million, less than 10 percent, comes from the state—still surprises some people. He also pointed out that state support has been trending downward for three decades and, unfortunately, we believe that trend will continue. One of the resulting conclusions presented by Professor Sobel is one that we reached as well and one on which we’ve been working – the university needs to rely less on the state and more on other new and creative sources of funding such as partnerships. For more information on the meeting, visit the Academic Senate website and also check out the Budgetline website.
Future Graduates and Future Students About To Begin New Chapter
As our soon-to-be graduates look forward to commencement, thousands of high school seniors are also looking forward to starting their scholarly careers at UC San Diego. We are truly impressed with the academic quality of our admitted freshmen, who have an average GPA of 4.09 and we’re equally pleased that the number of underrepresented freshmen went up 15 percent this year, as did the number of admitted first-generation students. I want to assure you that, despite the imminent budget cuts, we remain committed to ensuring accessibility and affordability for all qualified students who want to attend UC San Diego. We continue to raise money for undergraduate scholarships and graduate fellowships through our three-year Invent the Future student support campaign; to date, we’ve raised more than $26 million. The University of California’s Blue and Gold Opportunity Plan also covers all systemwide fees for students whose families make less than $80,000.
Celebrating Diversity Through Art, Song and Dance
It is important that the UC San Diego campus and community provide an open and welcoming environment for all students, staff, faculty and visitors. One of the steps we’ve taken to broaden the richness and diversity of our university is to add artwork on campus that showcases underrepresented communities. I’m proud to say that the “Chicano Legacy 40 Años” mural, which was initially a temporary exhibit, is about to become a prominently displayed, permanent fixture on the UC San Diego campus. This month, artist Mario Torero is installing the vibrant mural on Peterson Hall using tile, and is conducting a workshop so students can help complete the artwork—particularly significant because the original design concept was initiated by UC San Diego MEChA. The artwork features iconic figures in Chicano history, such as Cesar Chavez and Dolores Huerta, along with San Diego landmarks Chicano Park and the Coronado Bridge. The mural will be officially unveiled with a ceremony at noon on Wednesday, May 25. I also encourage you to check out the temporary art exhibit at Thurgood Marshall College, “The Boat/El Barco,” which highlights the perils of open water migration between Mexico and the United States. The artwork is the third temporary exhibit commissioned to celebrate the college’s 40th anniversary this year and it will be up until the end of the academic year.
The Native American Student Alliance (NASA) is hosting a Powwow at UC San Diego’s Muir Field from 10 a.m. to 10 p.m. on Saturday, May 21 with the support of several sponsors, including the American Indian Faculty and Staff Association. The Powwow is open to the public and will bring together Native American and non-Native American people to dance, sing, socialize and honor American Indian Culture. It will be the first Powwow on campus since the early 90s and the theme will be "Kumeyaay: Past, Present and Future.” I encourage you to join the celebration. I will be there and I look forward to being a part of the grand entry with all of the other participants. I also look forward to seeing the bird-dancing and the gourd-dancing, and hearing the songs that have been passed down through the generations, reminding us of the rich heritage of Native Americans. For more information on the Powwow, visit the UCSD Native American Student Alliance’s Facebook page. You’ll also soon be able to visit the new NASA student space being created on the second floor of the Price Center.
We have so many exciting events ahead—celebrating diversity, commemorating our 50th anniversary and congratulating our graduates. As the academic year and the anniversary festivities wind down over the next couple of months, I hope you’ll take a few moments to reflect on the achievements of our students, faculty, staff and alumni, now and over the last five decades, and be proud, as I am, that we are a part of the UC San Diego family.
With warm regards,
Marye Anne Fox