Chancellor's Friday Letters

Senior BBQ

Senior BBQ

June 1, 2012

Dear Friends,

Smiles, swagger and seniors…a triple-S week at UCR.

Wednesday, just to the east of the beautiful Golden Rain trees that gracefully embrace the Tomás Rivera Plaza, and under the towering ash, oak, and sycamore trees of Hinderaker lawn, we held a ticket-only lunch for our graduating seniors on Wednesday.

Tickets were intended to allow in only the graduating seniors to a BBQ, and keep all the other hungry students at bay.

But in fact, no tickets were needed.

The way our seniors carried themselves, the smiles on their faces, the pride of their accomplishment were ticket enough to get in.

Swagger was everywhere, in a very positive sense, on the part of attendees and organizers.

Stephen Lee, the president of the Associated Students of UCR, came to the microphone to welcome 1,700 students to the “ASUCR BBQ.”  Such swagger Stephen…it is actually the Chancellor’s Annual Senior BBQ, co-sponsored by the associated students, but I am very happy to have these confident graduates take ownership…indeed it is intended to be all about them.

Hawaiian leis and pineapples on each table, plus music and entertainment from KUCR DJs (are they still called that???) filled the air with music and festivity.

But so evident to me were those smiles.  Every shape.  Every color.

I talked with hundreds of students, and had even more pictures taken with them on the ubiquitous smart phones.

I engaged short conversations on their terms…their love of place, their joy at finishing a baccalaureate, their new and now lifelong friends, their appreciation and awe of the faculty, their gratitude to the staff, the pride of their families and the anticipation of commencement and next steps.

Even the realization that much work remains between now and the end of the academic year –  finishing capstone projects, writing papers, taking examinations, completing performances – didn’t dampen the enthusiasm of the day.

And even the most stoic among the students broke into huge grins when I asked if family and friends were coming in for commencement…the answer was always affirmative…and then I’d ask if they were ready for all the kisses on the cheek, hugs, tears and shrieks of support.

Smiles would then turn to a laugh, the eyes would dart down…I interpreted this as a moment of private anticipation and joy to feel the love of those closest to them for this major accomplishment in their life.

You just gotta love this time of the year.

Best wishes,


Tim White, Chancellor

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