Chancellor's Friday Letters

Invite to the White House

Invite to the White House

January 6, 2012

Dear Friends,

One of the great pleasures in December is that my office receives literally hundreds of holiday greetings from around the globe. Some arrive electronically but many more traditionally. They are placed in one of the “read folders” that traverse my desk daily.

I enjoy looking through the greetings…and around December 7th or so I came across one rather nondescript card with colorful young student art adorning the outside.  On the inside was an invitation to attend a holiday reception on December 14th.

A week later, as Karen and I went through the security for the reception, we looked around and didn’t recognize another soul among the 350 or so people in attendance.

We were directed to the East Wing of the White House, where guests mingled over finger foods and beverages and enjoyed the trees, garland and decorations, and the music of a military band and local high school choir.

We had full reign of the Wing to examine many of America’s great artifacts, art and literature.  We read the cards that adorned the official White House Christmas tree in the Blue Room…poignant and heart-wrenching cards written by children to their parent(s) in active military service.

It was when President Obama and Michelle Obama came down from their living quarters to speak with us that I realized quite clearly that Karen and I were there because of you, and the work you do at UCR.

Yes, that nondescript invitation was from the President and First Lady.  And while it was addressed to me, I now recognize that the invitation conceptually included the entire UCR community of faculty, students and staff.  We were there, representing you, because of the impact UCR makes on the region, the state and, indeed, the nation and world.

President Obama’s comments (which I captured on my iPhone) eloquently explained why he had invited us to gather in the White House that day:

“We have folks [here] from all around the country, who — day in and day out — are helping to advance the cause of opportunity and helping those in need, and making sure that our country is looking after one another… So as I look around the room, I see people from coast to coast who are making their communities better, and making the nation better, every single day.  And that’s really what this season is about.  This season is about us remembering that we are bound together…and we’ve got obligations towards one another.  And, that when we are working together, there is nothing we can’t do.”

“It’s also a [time] to remember that there are a lot of folks who are still hurting out there – and you work with them every day in one form or fashion… We have got to stay committed on behalf of our children, our grand children and our great grand children, to make sure that America continues to be a land of opportunity.  That’s what each of you do every day on your own.”

I could not have said better how the work of our entire UCR community impacts the world in which we live.  We often characterize it as living our individual and collective promise.

The President articulated our underlying values – based on our land grant mission – that drive us to carry out the work that we do.  Whether it is growing better crops, teaching our children, working with local businesses, improving our environment, celebrating the arts, exploring dimensions of our society, improving healthcare, or developing the technology of tomorrow, our students, faculty, staff, and alumni are striving every day to better our world and to create opportunities for our future.

How proud I am to serve an institution – and people – that strategically executes this mission at its very core.



Tim White, Chancellor

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Citrus-flavored History
Eliza Tibbets introduced the navel orange to Riverside. Because of the generosity and vision of her great-great-granddaughter, Patricia Ortlieb, the UCR Libraries now owns the collection of her original documents, family photographs, diaries and letters. A real treasure now preserved in perpetuity.

Star Factory
Astronomers, including UC Riverside’s Bahram Mobasher and
his graduate student Hooshang Nayyeri, have discovered that one of the most
distant galaxies known is churning out stars at a shockingly high rate.

Silk Factory
Professor Cheryl Hayashi gave a talk at a major conference
last year about the wonders of spider silk, and her presentation is available
on line at CNN:

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

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