Chancellor's Friday Letters

White House trip for educators

White House trip for educators

October 22, 2010

Dear Friends,

Earlier this week, I attended an education summit at the Organization of American States in Washington DC. This event was followed by a ceremony in which President Obama signed an Executive Order in the East Room of the White House.

The logistics involved in holding these events were quite interesting.

Such events are organized in a very short time frame (less than a week), because of the uncertainties of the President’s schedule. And even then, if “stuff happens” domestically or internationally, the President may have to cancel at the last second. Fortunately, that didn’t happen this time.

Those who participated from around the nation had to quickly put other commitments aside in order to participate. It was well worth it.

The purpose of these events was to focus attention on the need to improve educational opportunity for our growing Hispanic population. For the U.S. to compete in the global economy, all sectors of our population must have access to, and be successful with, education… not only completing the P-12 pipeline, but in some form of post secondary education.

From a substantive point of view, the summit convened nearly 300 participants, including key Education Department and Obama administration officials, representatives from national Hispanic education, and community and business leaders, who shared their expertise and resources to assist communities in expanding education opportunities and improving education outcomes for Hispanic students. In addition, viewing parties were held around the country, including one right here at UCR.

Several presidents of the southern Cal State University campuses were in attendance, as these comprehensive, non-research campuses have many Hispanic/Latino students. But I was the only leader of a research university from California, and indeed, from the entire western U.S. Being a research university with a full suite of baccalaureate, masters, and doctoral programs creates both opportunities and challenges for students. Thus, we bring a unique and important perspective to the discussion.

President Barack Obama signed an Executive Order that renewed and strengthened the White House Initiative on Educational Excellence for Hispanics. I was honored to join with about 100 individuals – representing the entire education spectrum above – in the East Room of the White House. Javier Garcia, a poised and talented seventh-grader and resident of Brownsville, Texas, gave brief remarks before introducing the president.

You can read the Executive Order (http://www.whitehouse.gov/the-press-office/2010/10/19/executive-order-white-house-initiative-educational-excellence-hispanics ) and view a 15-minute video of the entire ceremony (http://www.whitehouse.gov/blog/2010/10/19/watch-live-150-president-obama-sign-executive-order-education-and-hispanics ).

While I was in DC, I also talked with Tim Farley, a host on POTUS, a political radio show carried on Sirius XM. If you are interested, you can listen to the 8-minute interview (http://bit.ly/9LOrer ).

Oh, and in case you are wondering, I spoke to Javier and his very proud parents after the signing. I left him my UCR business card, and did my best to recruit him to the University of California, Riverside, when he is ready for college in 5 years – the class of 2020.

With warm regards,


Tim White, Chancellor

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