Chancellor's Friday Letters

Educating those to come

Educating those to come

March 4, 2011

Dear Friends,

Earlier this week I was in Sacramento and I wasn’t, by any means, alone.

I’ll come back to this trip in a moment.  But first I wish to touch on a theme that is becoming more and more evident to me in the public discourse about higher education, and yet I haven’t seen it receive the recognition I believe it deserves.

For me, this emerging theme is both poignant and compelling, and I ask you to give it some thought.

The theme isn’t as much about us in the “me, here, and now” sense, but rather about future students, faculty and staff, and the future of this great state. … The underlying and sobering theme is: What opportunity will they have if we falter today?

I am very moved when I hear that message from one of our students … perhaps a student who is the first in their family to go off to college or a student from a long line of college-educated individuals.

On one hand, they express concern, if not anger, about decreased public investment in public education and how it is negatively changing their learning environment.  However, more and more often they become pensive or plaintive, their voice softens, and they articulate their fear about what further degradation of the University would mean for their little sister or future son.

It is crushing to hear that very earnest revelation of concern about something so important, and so personal.

It is powerful and compelling when individuals who feel that they are being shortchanged at the moment, speak in a louder voice and at a higher level that it isn’t about them, but rather those yet to come.

This is the stuff of legacies, and I hope that it informs the public discourse on where we, in California, seek to spend our public dollars.  It is concerning and inspiring to know that while these students can manage at great sacrifice today, they are increasingly concerned that those yet to come will not find a way through.

I ask you to reflect on this.  I know our elected officials do.  These folks are working in a different way this year to find solutions that will last, solutions to problems that have developed over decades in California and now, on their watch, they must solve.

And I know the large UCR contingent that traveled this week to Sacramento understood what is at stake, as they met with elected and appointed officials to speak about issues that matter to the future of our region and our state.

Indeed, the University of California was well represented, with the president, several chancellors and campuses hosting a UC Day where students, alumni, parents and friends arranged literally hundreds of meetings to express support for our University.  I congratulate the leadership and staff of UCR’s Government Affairs, University Advancement and the Alumni Association for their amazing effort in having UCR so well represented.

Our students, parents, alumni and friends are to be thanked. They brought enormous value by expressing the importance they place on UC’s contributions to the economic, social and cultural vitality of California. They told stories of the impact of UC’s education, research and public service programs in all corners of the state.

It is an interesting and vulnerable time in California, and so much is at stake.  Please make your voice heard.



Tim White, Chancellor

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Join Karen and me Saturday night
Tomorrow night’s basketball game is a wonderful moment for all of us to honor our veterans. The game starts at 7 p.m. and those with military ID get in free. During halftime, my wife, Karen, and I will be joined at center court by our military and veteran students to announce the launch of Operation Education, a new program here that provides academic, social and economic support to our veterans so they can earn a degree at UCR, as seen in this link

Living longer
Professor Howard Friedman’s long-term interest in the psychological factors affecting lifespan earned him the cover of last Sunday’s Parade magazine in an article about his new book, “The Longevity Project,” published this week. He worked with his colleague Leslie R. Martin, who is a psychology professor at La Sierra University. Read a story in USA Today:

Ready for our close-up
A UCTV show called “State of Minds” was hosted from the Riverside campus recently. It featured UCR research related to air quality as well as work on other campuses. Look for it on your TV schedules at home, or just watch it on the Web:

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

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