Investiture Speech

  • Good morning.  I’m glad to see so many of you here today.
  • It is a great honor for me to be standing here to celebrate two wonderful events – our celebration of Founders’ Day, to honor our founding leaders, and embedded within that, the investiture of a new chancellor.
  • I’d like to acknowledge:
    • University of California President Mark Yudof and his wife, Judith
    • UC Regent Charlene Zettel; UC Chancellors, past and present, from this campus and other UC campuses
    • Our founders who are here today; UC San Diego faculty, staff, students, alumni and community members
    • My mentors and friends who have traveled from afar to be here
    • And my family – my wife, two sons, daughter and extended family.
  • It means so much to me to have my family and friends here, along with my Triton family.
  • As UC San Diego’s eighth Chancellor, I look forward to working with you to define our future and create opportunity for all.
  • The founder and father of UC San Diego, Roger Revelle, once said that the way to the future may derive from honoring the past.
  • That is what this Founders’ Celebration is about, and I want us to continue to build on the vision of Roger, who wanted to create a distinctive university.
  • He and our founders, like Herb York, had the goal of establishing an experimental campus, one that would define the future of education and research at a public university.
  • Their vision, their work and their successes, led us on an upward trajectory to where we are today – one of the top public research universities in the country and the 15th best university in the world.
  • Our amazing ascent happened because of our people:
    • Our founders and esteemed faculty, visionaries at the forefronts of their fields.
    • Our brilliant students and graduates, who over the decades have reaped tremendous success.
    • Our dedicated staff who run our daily operations.
    • And our community supporters, who have helped us to grow and transform into a true San Diego jewel.
  • With each passing year, each passing anniversary, we continue to evolve.
  • And we do more than change with the times.  We initiate the change.  We envision the future.  And we make it happen.
  • From our translational bench-to-bedside research that is saving lives; to our investigations deep into the world’s oceans, discovering new species and looking for marine medicine; to our search for new food and fuel sources, we are changing the world.
  • And we remain true to our values, the excellence established by our founders. 'We are still risk-takers and innovators.  Leaders and pioneers.  We overcome hurdles and defy challenges.
  • Right now is a challenging time for higher education with the continuous disinvestment in state funding.
  • We are pleased that the citizens of California recognize the value of higher education, but we also realize we have moved into a different era.
    • One where we need to be more self-sufficient.
    • Where we need to think outside the box.
    • Where we need to take risks to move forward.
    • Where we need to look for opportunities where we see challenges.
  • And we need to go back to our roots, to our founders’ vision of an experimental campus, to reevaluate and redefine the future of education and research.
  • One of the things I’ve said from day one is that our students are the reason we are here, the reason universities exist.  We must make them our priority. 
  • The fact is, we are a student-centered university and a research university.
    • From our early outreach, to ensuring accessibility and affordability, to creating the best possible student experience, it is our responsibility to educate the next generation of scientists, artists, doctors and engineers.
  • Our students are our greatest amplification.  Each year, we graduate more than 6,000 students.
  • We already have more than 140,000 Triton alumni around the world.
    • They carry our message, our intellectual DNA, and they carry on our legacy.
    • They are using their UC San Diego education to improve human life and improve our world.
    • And with each generation of Tritons, our impact increases.
    • Our presence is being felt more and more with each passing year.
    • Tritons are also paying it forward, and giving others opportunities, like the ones they had on this campus.
  • I also personally recognize the importance of opportunity.  I am where I am today because of the opportunity that I was provided.
  • Thirty years ago, I set foot on the land of this great country because I was given the opportunity to do graduate research.  Today, I stand in front of you because of that first opportunity, and the multiple opportunities that I’ve been provided by this incredible country, its citizens and our outstanding university system. 
  • And with great opportunity comes great responsibility.  As your Chancellor, I know that I must pay it forward. 
  • That means providing avenues for education, discovery and creation. 
  • Training students to be critical thinkers, to use their left and right brains, to work across disciplines, to collaborate with others who have diverse backgrounds and perspectives.
    • This type of education, training and experience leads to better leadership and problem-solving.
  • We must provide our faculty with the resources they need to investigate and address global problems – such as food and water shortages, environmental concerns and health issues.
  • We must ensure a collaborative environment where multi-disciplinary work can flourish and advance our knowledge.
    • Where discoveries can be translated from idea to implementation.
    • Where we can tackle disease by developing new treatments, strengthen structures by developing new materials, and improve communication through art and technology.
    • Where we can seek, build and expand partnerships and connections with fellow public research universities and foundations for the benefit of the greater San Diego and Imperial County regions
  • In my first weeks on the job, I was asked what my dream goal is for this campus.  It's to be the premier place that answers questions for humanity; that transforms lives, educates, enlightens, opens minds; that acts locally and impacts globally.
  • My vision is to ensure that this is a campus that provides opportunity for all.
    • That we are student-focused and student-centered.
    • That we are a campus that is the hallmark for the future of education and research and service.
  • We must continue to challenge ourselves and each other, to further our knowledge, to blaze new trails and initiate the change that will define our future.  All with the end goal of making human life better and richer. 
  • Just as the University of California has 10 stellar campuses, each excellent in their own way, UC San Diego has strengths across a wide range of disciplines.
  • And they each play a vital role in shaping who we are, and pushing us to become even better.
    • Science, engineering, technology and medicine improve and save lives.
    • The arts and humanities and social sciences help us to understand who we are and enhance our lives.
  • We have multiple pillars of excellence – yet we are one campus.  One UC San Diego. 
  • We carry on the tradition of our founders to recruit the best scholars and students.
    • We have built state-of-the-art, sustainable facilities so we can continue their legacy of exploration and discovery.
    • And we are uniquely poised to make a difference, to make this world a better place.
  • UC San Diego has come a long way in 52 years, and we are still growing up.  And, I believe, getting better with age.
    • But we were born in the right era.  In the era of discovery.  The era of innovation.  The era of opportunity. 
  • And I look forward to working with you to further our impact, to develop a shared vision to define the future of UC San Diego.
  • We’ve already begun our strategic planning process, and each and every member of this campus will have the opportunity to participate.
    • This will be an all-inclusive, bottom-up process.
    • In the coming weeks and months, we will hold Town Hall meetings, focus groups, and one-on-one interviews.
    • There will be surveys and workshops.
    • We want to tap the talents and expertise of everyone on our campus, and hear your perspective, so we can identify shared goals.
    • These goals will provide common threads to unite our campus, and guide us as we contend with future fiscal challenges.
    • They will give us an opportunity to think about how we can individually and collectively contribute to this university and make it a better place.
    • And they will help us to lead this campus to greater recognition and reputation.
  • Your involvement in the strategic planning process is crucial because you are the people who’ve helped to shape our past and present, and you will shape our future. 
  • It’s time that we come together, as one campus, to take UC San Diego to the next level, to define our future, and to ensure opportunity for all. 
  • We began the program with a video about each of UC San Diego’s chancellors. With each Chancellor begins a new chapter.  I’m excited to celebrate this new beginning with you today, and to honor our founders who laid the groundwork for our excellence.