Chancellor's Friday Letters

A Transformation Begins

A Transformation Begins

September 24, 2010

Dear Friends,

Welcome to my Friday Letter, the first of the new academic year.

I will connect with you in this fashion weekly, with what I hope you will find to be a short and engaging e-letter with some insights into this wonderful campus of the University of California. And you are encouraged to write back with thoughts and comments; see the URL below my name. Finally, at the bottom you will find a few snippets of current events that may interest you.

The beginning of fall term is a cacophony of energy, anticipation, worry, and expectation on our campus, as students and their families are either returning to campus after being at home over the summer, or arriving for the first time. This annual ritual throws me back to the day I went off to college… why did my strong and stoic mother have tears in her eyes?  Now I know.

Our New Student Convocation was held on September 20th.  It was standing-room-only for several thousand students, with an additional several hundred in a video-connected overflow room.

We gathered to hear from our student body president, the chair of our faculty Academic Senate, the president of our alumni association, and our vice chancellor for student affairs.  The UCR Highlander band, the UCR Pipe Band, and our student a cappella singers (the ‘Not So Sharp A Cappella”) added to both the festive and solemn moments of convocation.

The messages delivered to our students were clear: engage in your studies as well as campus and community life; make good decisions… the onus is now firmly on your shoulders to do so; seek out your professors and find academic experiences such as  research and creative activities, outside of the formal classroom setting; know that while we challenge our students in every dimension, we are also here to support, encourage and help students succeed;  participate in clubs, and support other students who perform in the arts and athletics.  And the list went on.

Our students also witnessed the ceremonial lighting of the class candle by ASUCR President Chris Kim, and recited with him our solemn statement of commitment: “I, as a member of the University of California, Riverside, commit myself to sharing in the search for knowledge, to integrity and honesty in my academic endeavors, and to the principles of community that guarantee each individual the right to live, study, teach and learn in a respectful, cooperative and professional environment.

I also had a chance to share with them my thoughts about the transformative journey they were embarking on, and had several observations and provocations to share.

To the drum beat of the Highlander Band, I also offered “Tim’s Top Ten” of things to accomplish:

10: Register to vote and then vote. Whether you are red, blue, green, or purple, your voice matters.

9: Get to know your professor and sit in the front rows. It improves your grade-point-average – guaranteed.

8: Hike to the C. Pack out more than you pack in.

7: Hit the Block Party this Friday night.

6: Support your fellow students in government, theater, dance, music, and athletics.

5: Commit to sustainable practices at the University.  Help with our organic garden, which provides fresh vegetables to the underserved in our community, to the way we re-use, reduce and recycle.

4: Visit UCR’s ARTSblock … it is downtown, close to the Mission Inn… take the bus; it’s free.  Indulge in the hot new treat of Casey’s Cupcakes.

3: Join in. We have several hundred clubs on campus for interests ranging from Salsa Dancing to SCUBA Diving.  If you don’t find what you are looking for, leave a legacy and start your own… if you were the founding president of the Unicycle Palm Tree Climbers Club, it could be a great resume builder.

2: Join our network of peer counselors, or mentor underserved youth, who are able but often struggling students from surrounding neighborhoods through the University Eastside Community Collaborative.

And finally, Number 1: Now that you are in College, it may be time to find a new squeeze in your life… so be sure to order fresh-squeezed OJ that comes direct from UCR’s famous orange trees.

Fiat Lux, indeed!  It is a vibrant week here… the first of many to come.

With best regards,


Tim White, Chancellor

Share your thoughts: http://fridayletters.ucr.edu/leavefeedback

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Our Professor and Chair of Chemical & Environmental Engineering, Yushan Yan, will share a $6.25 million grant to fund research that aims to replace heavy batteries with lightweight fuel cells. Currently, armed service members carry up to 30 pounds of batteries for a mission of 72 hours to power everything from night-vision goggles to GPS devices.

Partners Matter
The campus and City are hosting a statewide “Town-Gown Conference” on Oct. 7 and 8, which is open to the public. We are delighted to share some of our best practices and to learn new ways for our campus and surrounding communities to work together.

Find out what else is going on at UC Riverside: 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
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Department Information

Office of the Chancellor
4108 Hinderaker Hall

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

E-mail: chancellor@ucr.edu