Chancellor's Friday Letters

Campus Alive With Hope

Campus Alive With Hope

September 23, 2011

Dear Friends,

Welcome to my Friday Letter, the first of the 2011-12 academic year, which launched this week. I will write weekly, with some insights into this wonderful campus. You are encouraged to share your thoughts and comments; see the URL below my signature. Finally, at the bottom you will find a few snippets of current events that may interest you.

I absolutely love this campus when it is teeming with students, faculty and staff… a residential research university campus has a palpable vibrancy that is hard to put into words.  But when you are in it you know it, and you realize how special it is.  Our University is a powerful antidote of hope to all the tough issues confronting our world these days.

This past week included move–in, both on and off campus.  There was a combination of pride, joy, concern, worry and fear across the faces of parents and students alike…particularly for families who haven’t been through this previously. But it came off smoothly, largely because our staff and faculty have worked so tirelessly to make the launch of a new academic year successful.  I couldn’t be more proud.

You know what it’s like when you have house guests coming for the weekend…We have twenty-one thousand coming for the next nine months!  Food… locks… bikes… books… computer hook-ups… ID cards… classes… labs… clubs… traffic… parking… parking tickets… coffee (or tea)… sleep deprivation… directions… orientations… sports… social events… safety… health… and the list goes on.

Convocation was Monday, filling a warm building late in the day:

  • The world-renowned UCR Highlander Pipe Band and the UCR Highlander Band performed.
  • Our student LéCourtenay Long was absolutely stunning singing the national anthem and our alma mater.
  • Professor Mary Gauvain inspired from the faculty perspective.
  • Dave Cunningham extolled from the viewpoint of our alumni. Stephen Lee encouraged from his standpoint as our undergraduate student body president.
  • Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Jim Sandoval provided wise guidance to the event and our students, and afterwards our athletic director Brian Wickstrom infused some Highlander energy into the crowd of more than 3,000 new students.

During convocation I had a chance to share some serious thoughts with our new undergraduates, and then finished with “Tim’s Top Ten”…things to do this year beyond academics:

# 10: Register to vote and then vote. Whether you are red, blue, purple or green, your voice matters.  Study the issues, the policy implications, and the needs our society has.

# 9: Get to know your professor and graduate assistant and sit in the front rows. It improves GPA – guaranteed.

# 8: “To ‘C’ or not to ‘C’,” that is the question. Hike up. Just remember… I live near the bottom of the mountain.

# 7: Hit the Block Party this Friday night.

# 6: Be Blue and Gold!  Support your fellow students in government, theater, dance, music and athletics.

# 5: Be Green! Commit to sustainable practices at the University.  Help with our organic garden that provides fresh vegetables to the underserved in our community, or get involved in the way we re-use, reduce and recycle.

# 4: Be Amazed! Visit the World’s Largest Photograph. We’ve got it – it’s currently on display at UCR’s ARTSBlock in downtown Riverside. At 32 x 111 feet, the photo is longer and wider than a tennis court.

# 3: Be Quantitative! It is said that the UCR Bell Tower has more than 5,000 decorative apertures; first right answer I’ll take to lunch.

# 2: Find the libraries…all four of them. It will be the biggest downer when your parents visit and you need a map to take them to a library.

# 1: Because many of you are away from home, or spending a lot more time away from home, and relationships may be in flux….it’s time to hook up with the new!

After a few moments of pause and nervous anticipation following this last point, I clarified that we have hundreds of clubs our students can join, or that they could create their own organizations, join our network of peer counselors, or mentor the underserved. Plus there are thousands of people their age here they haven’t yet met… I encouraged them to say hi… have coffee… make new friends for life.

As we concluded our Convocation on Monday, we sang together with our newest students our alma mater, “Hail Fair UCR”.  It was abundantly and joyfully clear that “Fiat Lux– a shining vision, light to set minds free” has launched well for a new academic year.

Warm regards,

Tim White, Chancellor

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

Tartan Heroes
The coaches and student-athletes of UCR’s past and present came out for an inspiring and memorable Athletics Hall of Fame ceremony that honored seven people: Frank Lindeburg, John Masi, Chris Rinne, Don Edwards, Sue Gozansky, Jack Smitheran and Ray Dalke. See pictures and a video from the evening’s festivities:

Search and Rescue
James Dixon works outside all day as a grounds crew member at UCR. He likes to spend his free time outdoors as well, volunteering for the San Bernardino Mountain Search and Rescue Team. On his last venture he was a key part of the team that rescued a young boy with autism.

Creating a Neighborly Relationship
Back to school means new neighbors in residence halls, homes and apartments. A new website provides resources and tips for a successful student neighbor-experience including volunteer efforts.

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

More Information

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University of California, Riverside
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Riverside, CA 92521
Tel: (951) 827-1012

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Office of the Chancellor
4108 Hinderaker Hall

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

E-mail: chancellor@ucr.edu