Chancellor's Friday Letters

An Energetic Homecoming

An Energetic Homecoming

February 12, 2010

Dear Friends,

I start most weeks with my Monday morning Cabinet meeting. This week, as I returned to my office in deep reflection about the substantive topics we discussed, I was surprised by nine students in my office, the a capella group self-titled The Not So Sharps.

After enjoying beautiful renditions of the Highlander Fight Song and Alicia Keys’ “No One,” I was instantly in our Homecoming Week spirit. The visit of The Not So Sharps inspires my Friday Letter.

Most people would say they know what homecoming means, but when pressed to identify its origins and purpose, their stories often become a little fuzzy.

For alumni and friends, homecoming is a chance to reconnect with people, programs and place, and relive some of the energy, memories and dreams that so characterize an earlier time in their lives.

Through the lens of a university, homecoming is a way to help nurture a life-long relationship by creating an opportunity to have fun, and to learn of current ambitions, challenges and opportunities.

Through the lens of current students, homecoming undoubtedly allows them to muse about who all these old folks are anyhow, and to vow, “my-oh-my I’ll never be like them…” Then students turn to getting a bit ahead in their studies so they can enjoy the weekend’s stunning array of events.

The earliest reference to a UCR Homecoming is 1958-59. The “tradition” was abandoned in the ’60s and ’70s, followed by many years of inactivity. Of course, closing the football program in the mid-70s didn’t help, as more often than not homecoming is associated with a fall football game.

Homecoming remained essentially dormant until the 1990s, when the leadership of our Alumni Association, ASUCR, and Student Affairs made a concerted effort to revive it. Today it is embraced across the entire fabric of campus units and residences.

Today we wrap homecoming around our basketball program, campus tours and lectures, college and school open houses, films, karaoke, golf, and wine tasting, and end with the hottest musical concert of the year – The Heat – in the center of campus.

Over the course of the coming weekend we anticipate more than 14,000 people (not a typo) enjoying homecoming (http://rside.ucr.edu/alumni_homecoming_2010.htm). They are bound to add to our growing collection of Highlander homecoming tales, some fact, some folklore.

  • Stories are told late at night of the C, such as turning it into a “C-” during finals only to have our then Dean of Students climb up with his wife and turn it into a “C+.”
  • We know of a Pioneer Class grad who made the traditional hike to the C a few years ago, well into his seventies and wearing his cowboy boots. This year’s Hike to the C starts at 9 am tomorrow.
  • One year, the “C” was painted in the tartan pattern to celebrate Homecoming… beloved by our students and alums, and bemoaned by some members of the community.
  • The bonfire has been a Homecoming tradition for the past 11 years, from meager origins with 50 students to tonight’s mega-event that will attract 4,000 students. Revelers will enjoy blue and gold fireworks, a DJ Party, laser tag and of course, the new and improved bonfire. The bonfire starts at 7 pm by the Student Rec Center.
  • And finally, homecoming is about romance. Last year, two individuals came together in a loving embrace with such intensity and duration that they keeled over, almost taking one of the event tent walls with them… an enduring memory for many – and maybe even the couple!

I look forward to seeing you at Homecoming 2010.

With best regards,


Tim White, Chancellor

Highlander on the field at Super Bowl

A former UCR baseball player was among the officials at last Sunday’s Super Bowl in Miami. Rob Vernatchi, whose day job is with the California Department of Health Services, has been a league official since 2004 but this was his first Super Bowl.

The Loh Down on UCR’s Dead Ants

Radio science commentator Sandra Tsing Loh uncovered some groundbreaking research about how ants recognize their dead from the UCR Department of Entomology. Not a dead-end at all; it has significance for the use of less toxic pesticides.

Missing Emory

Scholars will gather on campus next weekend to honor a man who broke the mold of traditional American Studies during his illustrious career. Emory Elliott, who died last year, took pride in furthering international exchange and collaboration. The Feb. 19 and 20 conference seeks to honor his memory by looking at the international aspects of American studies.

Wondering what else is going on at UCR? It’s all listed at http://www.ucr.edu/happenings/

More Information

General Campus Information

University of California, Riverside
900 University Ave.
Riverside, CA 92521
Tel: (951) 827-1012

Career OpportunitiesUCR Libraries
Campus StatusDirections to UCR

Department Information

Office of the Chancellor
4108 Hinderaker Hall

Tel: (951) 827-5201
Fax: (951) 827-3866

E-mail: chancellor@ucr.edu