Chancellor's Friday Letters

Fullfilling a Promise

Fullfilling a Promise

April 13, 2012

Dear Friends,

May 1st will be the first anniversary of UCR’s appearance on the CBS show, Undercover Boss.  While not without risk and some controversy at the time, it turned out to have been, and continues to be, a positive experience for UCR, Riverside, and public higher education across the nation.

Because the first anniversary is approaching, when I noticed a mischievous alteration recently to the large C in the Box Springs Mountain above the campus, it made me think about doing another “show.”

The alteration was the placement of an equal sign to the right of the C, so that it became C=.  (See photograph below.)  As I asked around campus about this, it wasn’t clear what was intended.  Some people think it was a statement about equal and open access to the UC.  Others think it was about equality for all humans in society.  Both of these are reasoned and principled interpretations.

When I saw the C=, what came to mind was a call for a sequel!

So this year on April 21st, I am “performing” in Dancing with the Stars at the Riverside Fox Theatre…a fundraiser for the Janet Goeske Foundation, which delivers services and programming to meet the needs and demands of our senior population.

And you can help by voting for my performance before I actually perform!  While voting before rather than after the performance is unusual, it is probably a good thing in this case.  My dance partner for this community event is the talented Paige Zellerbach, DDS; however, my dancing skills are best described by the notion of “doofus.”

As I write this letter we are in third place, so I seek a little help from the extended Highlander family.  Because it’s a fund-raiser, each vote costs $1…help if you can…it’s for a good cause! (http://www.iamjgf.org/news-and-events/events/a-senior-salute-foxy/dancing-with-the-stars-i-e-edition/)

Speaking of last year’s TV show, in one scene “Pete” joined Professor Catharine Larsen to help her teach an organic chemistry lecture (http://chancellor.ucr.edu/ub/).  Because of the generosity of donors in our community, we were able to establish the Catharine Larsen Women in Science Award, and just this week the first recipient was identified.

She is UCR junior Michelle Okoreeh, a biological science major whose research proposal focuses on cannabinol analogues with Professor Marsella in the Chemistry Department.  Like many students, Michelle has family and friends who serve as an inspiration for studying compounds whose therapeutic activity ranges from reducing pain to combating diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s.

Additionally, Michelle plans to create an all-encompassing Woman in Science club at UCR to encourage women to engage in undergraduate research.  Her ambitious life journey is to conduct biomedical research as an MD/PhD.

Congratulations Michele – you inspired the selection committee, comprised of professors Julie Bergner (Mathematics), Catharine Larsen (Chemistry), Nicole zur Nieden (Cell Biology & Neuroscience), who found you to be “exceptionally articulate, mature, and enthusiastic” during finalist interviews.

Let me close this Letter by mentioning my pride and encouraging your participation today and tomorrow at another sort of C=, the Nineteenth Annual Graduate Humanities Conference: (dis)junctions 2012.  Jared Smith, a graduate student in English, brought this conference – organized by our graduate students – to my attention (http://disjunctions2012.wordpress.com/).

(dis)junctions 2012 will explore the construction and definition of “narrative” in all its mediated and mediating forms. As Jared pointed out, the word “narrative” is typically associated with storytelling and plot, but for this year’s conference they seek to understand “narrative” as any instance of producing meaning or “truth.”  It holds good promise to be a fascinating conference.

Best wishes,


Tim White, Chancellor

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Saving Lives
Approximately 1.5 million children die each year from illness caused by contaminated drinking water. Research directed by Marylynn Yates, the dean of UCR’s College of Natural and Agricultural Sciences, speaks to this issue, and helps inform policymakers on how to best monitor, treat and deliver a safe water supply.

Healing the Health-Care Divide
Why UCR’s emerging school of Medicine matters…view an absolutely compelling 7.5 minute video:

Talented Teens Sought
Help connect a teen to the Gluck Fellows Program of the Arts at UC Riverside, which is now taking applications – due May 7th – for its annual summer camp for high school students, held on the UCR campus and at UCR ARTSblock June 18-22 and June 25-28.

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