Chancellor's Friday Letters

Losing a promise-in-process

Losing a promise-in-process

May 20, 2011

Dear Friends,

I returned from the UC Regents’ meeting earlier this week determined to capture in this Friday Letter the graveness of the substantive discussions and developments that, if they come to pass, will surely impact our future at UCR and in California.

But now I can’t.

I can’t, because I discovered that we lost a student while I was away from campus on University business.

I must say that, in my experiences as a University senior leader over the past 15 years in Oregon, Idaho and California, I have come to experience and understand that life and death happen on campus.  Sadly, over the past eleven months we have lost six UCR students.

When a student dies it is a particularly poignant, sorrowful and moving occurrence in our close-knit campus community.

Perhaps this is so… because a mother or grandmother should not have to bury a child or grandchild.

Perhaps this is so… because a fellow college student should not have to grieve such a loss, nor bury a friend and peer.

Perhaps this is so… because as we mourn a horrific loss, we simultaneously celebrate the achievements and contributions of that short life, and contemplate what was yet to be – what other gifts, now denied, would have been brought to others?

Sharon Higgins was struck and killed by a big rig while standing outside her car on the shoulder of a Southern California freeway early Tuesday.  This wonderful human being and student – the first in her family to go to college – was a third year dance major and African American Studies minor, a talented artist, and an active member of Afrikan Student Alliance and 909 Dance Troupe.

I ask that each of us pause to reflect on Sharon’s passing, and do so for her, her family, her friends, and for what we value most at UCR: the accomplishments, power and potential of our people.

Last evening, the UCR Dance Department and the Afrikan Student Alliance hosted a UCR Community Memorial and Vigil in the Highlander Union Building to celebrate Sharon’s life and contributions.

Plans for a funeral/memorial service to be held in Oakland, California, are underway and details will be shared as they become available.  Donations to support the expenses of the service are welcomed and can be sent to Sharon’s grandmother who shares her name:  Sharon Higgins, 1681 Detroit Ave. Apt. #1, Concord, CA 94520.

In sorrow and with respect,


Tim White, Chancellor

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P.S. As is our policy and practice at the University of California, Riverside, help and support is available to students, faculty and staff who may be impacted by this tragic accident.

Contact the Student Affairs Case Manager in the Dean of Students office, (951) 827-6095 (http://deanofstudents.ucr.edu/MentalHealthInitiatives/Student+Affairs+Case+Manager.htm ) or the University Counseling Center located in Veitch Student Center ( http://counseling.ucr.edu/). The UCR Counseling Center operates from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. Monday through Friday. For appointments, call 951-UCR-TALK (951-827-8255).

The Center also offers a walk-in service for consultations and for individuals who are in need of crisis counseling between the hours of 8:30 a.m. to 4:30 p.m. After hours, mental health therapists are available for crisis counseling and consultation by phone 951-UCR-TALK or 2-TALK from campus phones.

Ideas for schools
As California grapples with how best to support K-12 teachers and reinvent community colleges to train a 21st century workforce, discover the hands-on approach of faculty in the  Graduate School of Education, in areas such as bilingual education, autism, and workforce preparation.

Thank you Bill
Longtime UCR Band Director Bill Helms is retiring. He conducts his last concert at 8 p.m. Thursday, May 26…join and enjoy the UCR Jazz Ensemble and the Highlander Concert Band.

Catch up with your roots
Highlanders gather for social events around the area. Keep track:

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

More Information

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