Chancellor's Friday Letters

Year-end Review

Year-end Review

June 4, 2010

Dear Friends,

It seems just yesterday that I penned my first Friday Letter to you at the beginning of the academic year.

And now the end of the academic year is upon us.

In that first Friday letter I wrote about visiting with families who were helping their students settle into the residence halls:  “It was moving to see Moms adjusting the towels on the towel rack, as if they were setting up a retail display… but what it really showed was the pride, love and support they have in their student.”

Today, I tracked down first-year student Esmeralda, whose mother inspired that observation.  She is just completing her first year.

Esmeralda came to UCR from Apple Valley, in the high desert.  It is a small town, where everyone knows everyone, and precious few from her high school ever go to college.

Esmeralda herself is first in her family to graduate from high school, let alone attend college.

And when it comes to freeways, well, Esmeralda had never driven on one until she came to UCR.

Esmeralda’s large family is very important to her; she is the eldest child. She found that leaving home was leaving a security blanket. Here at UCR, she feels much more on her own… for both the good and scary aspects of what that means to live in a faster-paced city environment.

Esmeralda found everyone at UCR to be “so welcoming,” an attribute she noticed since orientation.  She was inspired by the accomplished people she met at UCR, as well as their great humility, pride, and ambition.

Esmeralda was knocked off her game a bit when she first arrived. College life was overwhelming. She never felt lost (other than trying to find a building or two!) because she knew she could handle it, but she needed to change some of her habits.

She used to be asleep by 9 p.m., and now 9 p.m. feels like 5 p.m. (imagine that…).

She had to work through some issues with roommates, but overall found dorm life to be phenomenal. Esmeralda relished that there were no curfews and limits… but she also figured out quickly that she needed to create her own limits in order to succeed at school. She also managed to relax, enjoy, and have fun with others.

Indeed, her academics suffered a bit during the first quarter, but throughout the next two quarters she found her academic legs and finished very strong.

Esmeralda reflects that her first year at UCR – in all its dimensions – has allowed her to grow and take on new responsibility and heightened aspirations. She is happy she lost her sense of fear (but not caution), and is confident that she can explore a new world that she previously didn’t understand.

Esmeralda has grown to appreciate the variety of ethnicities at UCR, learning both differences and commonalities.   She was exposed to many things that she came to appreciate because they stretched her personally.  She has valued encountering people of differing behaviors, religious views, sexual orientations, and politics.

And now it’s time to leave for the summer.  Excited to go home to family. Sad to lose the closeness with all her new friends, surroundings, and classes.

In her sophomore year Esmeralda will live off campus, and other than having to pay her own rent, this 19-year-old student looks forward to the indpendence and responsibility of providing for herself, preparing her own meals, etc.  She is confident in her future, and finds her strong commitment to her faith to be important as she encounters all that is continuously new at UCR.

Best regards,


Tim White, Chancellor

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Take the opportunity to see “RACE: Are We So Different?” an exhibit that just opened at the Riverside Metropolitan Museum. Not only is it co-curated by UCR’s Yolanda Moses, but our graduate students in anthropology and history will present their own locally based research projects on identity, race, ethnicity and culture in a special event from 3 to 5 p.m. tomorrow.

Making Tracks to the National Championships
Last weekend, UCR’s Brenda Martinez won her NCAA West Regional semi-final heat in the 1500 meters in 4:18 in Austin, Texas. She got jostled in the pack but maintained her poise and qualified for the NCAA Championships in Eugene, Oregon, next weekend. Good luck Brenda.

Grass is Always Greener at UC Riverside
UCR’s turfgrass expert Jim Baird explains his research in UCTV’s magazine show “State of Minds.” It is the third segment in the 30-minute program.

Find out what else is going on at UC Riverside: http://www.ucr.edu/happenings/

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