Hearts and Scholars Dinner Celebrates Student Scholars, Thanks Generous Donors

Chancellor Khosla; Nidya Preza Campos, Muir College ’22; and Karen and Jeff Silberman at the 2020 Hearts and Scholars Dinner.

Chancellor Khosla; Nidya Preza Campos, Muir College ’22; and donors Karen and Jeff Silberman at the 2020 Hearts and Scholars Dinner.

Each year at the Hearts and Scholars Dinner, we come together to recognize the profound ways scholarship philanthropy transforms lives. We celebrate our students and their determination to make the most of their UC San Diego experience. And we provide them with an opportunity to say thank you to the individuals and families who have helped make their education possible.

Of all our shared goals as a campus community, there is none more important to me than helping students succeed. The Campaign for UC San Diego is making this possible. One of the highest priorities of the Campaign is to enhance the student experience. What does that mean?

It means ensuring academic success through specialized support programs and services. It means increasing affordable housing options on campus to provide a four-year housing guarantee to every student who wants it. It means improving infrastructure and our campus culture. And, of course, it means increasing support for scholarships.

We are already seeing tremendous outcomes from the Campaign and our shared efforts. Today, more than one-third of our new matriculants identify as first-generation college students. Partly responsible for driving that growth is the Chancellor’s Associates Scholars Program. CASP, which caters to first-generation students, has grown exponentially since its creation in 2012 and now provides more than 800 low-income students loan-free financial aid and proven student support programs every year.

CASP is growing because of donors like Karen and Jeff Silberman. In 2017, they established the Silberman Inspiration Challenge by pledging a $1-million-match of eligible contributions to the Chancellor’s Associates Scholars Program—the largest gift to the program to date.

Executive Vice Chancellor Elizabeth Simmons; David Anyakora, Revelle College ’22; Albana Bakaj, Eleanor Roosevelt College ’20; and Chancellor Khosla at the 2020 Hearts and Scholars Dinner

Executive Vice Chancellor Elizabeth Simmons; David Anyakora, Revelle College ’22; Albana Bakaj, Eleanor Roosevelt College ’20; and Chancellor Khosla at the 2020 Hearts and Scholars Dinner.

UC San Diego is among 30 universities in the nation that have teamed up with the American Talent Initiative to expand opportunity for low-income students. Over the past three years, UC San Diego added 1,642 Pell Grant students, more than any other ATI-member institution.

And finally, UC San Diego students from underrepresented communities have grown from 16% in 2012 to 27% in 2019. Latinx students have increased from 14% in 2012 to 23% in 2019. Diversity has increased, our graduation rates are up, and our time-to-degree is down. Our students are graduating in less time, which means less debt overall.

What we’re doing is working, and UC San Diego is consistently being recognized as a nationwide leader. For nine of the past 10 years, Washington Monthly named UC San Diego the #1 public university in the country for contributions to social mobility, research and public service.

With nearly $29 million awarded in scholarships each year, we are very proud to fuel successful outcomes for dedicated students. We can continue to build on this success with help from our community. Scholarships change lives. It only takes one to launch a student’s journey to become a positive, powerful force for change in their local and global communities.

Chancellor Khosla; Albana Bakaj, Eleanor Roosevelt College ’20; Esperanza Baltazar, Warren College ’23; Miriam Lopez, Warren College ’23; and UC San Diego Foundation Board Trustee Brian Powers at the 2020 Hearts and Scholars Dinner

Chancellor Khosla; Albana Bakaj, Eleanor Roosevelt College ’20; Esperanza Baltazar, Warren College ’23; Miriam Lopez, Warren College ’23; and UC San Diego Foundation Board Trustee Brian Powers at the 2020 Hearts and Scholars Dinner.

Strides in Diversity: Triton Women Who Lead

Audience from the sold out 2020 Triton Women Who Lead Forum

Over the past few days, I attended several events including the annual, two-day Triton Leaders Conference + Celebration. I was invited to give welcome remarks at “Triton Women Who Lead Forum” and the annual Women Faculty Reception.

In preparing my welcome remarks, I had an opportunity to reflect on the tremendous progress we have made in our goal to diversify senior leadership at UC San Diego since I began my tenure as chancellor in 2012.

Welcoming the Triton Women Who Lead Forum

When I first arrived at UC San Diego, I found a campus that had women leaders and faculty, certainly, but very few of them had risen to senior leadership roles. It was clear to me that we needed to address that disparity.

And not because it was the politically correct thing to do or to meet an industry trend, but because this campus was missing out on hiring truly excellent leaders. We were missing out on brilliant strategists and experts who knew their industry inside and out. We were missing out on keen analysis, progressive ideas and remarkably effective solutions. We were missing out on 51% of the world’s greatest leaders.

So, I asked our team to change course. We set forth strategies to both widen our recruitment searches and to look more closely at the abilities of our candidates to translate experience that demonstrated leadership and leadership potential. It is an effort that is paying off.

We began to find dynamic candidates with excellent credentials and deep experience, some from our very own ranks here at UC San Diego. We found curious minds that were eager to look deeper into complex issues. We found broad perspectives, fearless prospectors willing to mine new ideas and probe new frontiers. Above all, we found incredibly capable leaders.

And we hired them.

Associate Chancellor Suzi Sterner, Vice Chancellors Becky Petitt and Allyson Satterlund, and Deans Kit Pogliano and Lisa D. Ordóñez shared their personal stories of leadership and women’s empowerment at the sold-out “Triton Women Who Lead Forum.”

When I first arrived, there were only three women on the chancellor’s cabinet. Today, 10 of the 17 cabinet members are women. When I first arrived, there were no women academic deans. Today, five of 10 academic deans are women, and four of seven provosts are women. And when I first arrived, there were only 424 women in management and senior professional positions. Today, there are 822—nearly double the number MSP positions.

Graph of UC San Diego senior leadership by gender

Today, women occupy 53% of management and senior professional roles and 63% of all senior leadership roles at UC San Diego. And since 2014, the number of women ladder ranked faculty and teaching professors have increased by 37%, outpacing the 17% total growth of ladder ranked faculty and teaching professors.

Graph of UC San Diego management and senior professionals by gender

We did this by searching wider and looking deeper into our candidate pools. This conscious effort made the difference. And that difference began a cascade of change across campus.

Our Triton women in senior leadership positions have set excellent examples for everyone on campus. And their visibility is inspiring our students. This year, the Associated Students and the Graduate Student Association are led by women—Eleanor Grudin and Rachel Flanagan. Last year—in her third year at UC San Diego—Caroline Siegel Singh served as UC Student Association President. This year, Caroline was appointed by Governor Gavin Newsome as the Student Representative on the California Student Aid Commission.

Great student leaders become great alumni who lead. Triton alumni ranks are full of amazing women leaders. They are changing the world in both subtle and amazing ways. They lead on every level—neighborhood, local, regional, state, federal and international. They make a difference wherever they are in various industries.

Triton Women Who Lead Forum Panel Discussion

Today, one is out of this world and miles above the rest, literally. Astronaut Jessica Meir is currently conducting research and completing a six-month mission on the International Space Station. She and fellow astronaut Christina Koch made history in October, completing the first all-woman spacewalk. What a statement for women and girls today. And I’m NOT surprised. UC San Diego is ranked first in the nation for enrolling and graduating the most women with majors in science, technology, engineering and math (STEM).

I’m also NOT surprised that iconic political activist Angela Davis is a Triton alumna. For nine of the past 10 years, UC San Diego was named the #1 public university in the country for contributions to social mobility, research and public service. This outcome was seeded by the long history of Triton philosophies that inspire students, faculty and alumni to look deeper at the world around them to find effective solutions to society’s greatest challenges.

Angela epitomizes that approach. She changed the national conversation about incarceration and started an international movement to better understand tools of oppression.

Following in her trail-blazing footsteps, another alumna—Alicia Garza—started a national movement around civil rights and rights for domestic workers. Alicia’s Black Lives Matter stands as one of the most significant movements of our time. Alicia, Angela, and Jessica are three amazing Triton leaders of thousands and thousands more.

I’m proud of the phenomenal progress UC San Diego has made to hire and promote women leaders and the strong message that sends to our students, our alumni, and our greater community.

Triton Women Who Lead Forum panelists Dean Lisa D. Ordóñez and Vice Chancellor Becky Petitt

Welcoming Dr. Helen Griffith to The Preuss School

Dr. Helen Griffith, Dr. Elizabeth Simmons, Dr. Becky Pettit, Dr. Pradeep Khosla at an event honoring Dr. Griffith

On Monday, I held a special reception at the Geisel House to welcome Dr. Helen Griffith into her new role as inaugural executive director of The Preuss School UC San Diego. Located on the UC San Diego campus, The Preuss School is a unique charter middle and high school for low-income students who strive to become the first in their families to graduate from college. 

Dr. Helen Griffith, Executive Director of The Preuss School UC San Diego

For Griffith, the role is a return to UC San Diego, where she earned her bachelor’s degree in communication. Most recently, Griffith was the founding executive director and CEO of е3 Civic High, a public charter high school located in the San Diego Central Public Library. She is a passionate education innovator who has led the launch and successful growth of three K-12 schools in San Diego. As executive director, she will partner with campus and community leadership to invigorate opportunity for Preuss students and propel the school’s innovative strategic vision.

AVC Alison Sanders, Dr. Helen Griffith, EVC Elizabeth Simmons, and Dean Lisa Ordoñez at an event welcoming Dr. Griffith.

The event drew many supporters of The Preuss School, some who have been involved since its inception 20 years ago. Griffith has begun getting to know every faculty, staff and board member individually to learn their perspective and inform a plan for the school’s future. Already ranked the best high school in San Diego County and seventh in the state by U.S. News & World Report, she has a vision to launch The Preuss School into the national and international spotlight as a model for closing the achievement gap.

When I first arrived at UC San Diego as Chancellor in 2012, I began to think about making a bigger commitment to equity, diversity and inclusion. One of the proudest investments we’ve made is creating the Chancellor’s Associates Scholars Program, which offers local low-income students a four-year, loan-free education at UC San Diego. The Preuss School was among the first three partner schools to benefit from the program. Today we have more than 800 scholars on our campus, with a goal of growing the number to 1,000.  

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