I applaud the successful efforts of the many friends and supporters of Shakespeare Santa Cruz who, as of noon today, have raised $416,417 since their first public appeal on December 14.

This is an important first step in reversing the program's significant operating deficits and helping it become truly self-sustaining. Clearly, SSC's future viability requires stronger private support, increased revenues from ticket sales and other sources, and reduced operating costs.

Shakespeare Santa Cruz has brought superb performances to Santa Cruz for 27 years. Throughout, UCSC has offered Shakespeare Santa Cruz financial and operational support. In recent years, the university has also absorbed the program's mounting budget deficits.

In a period of dwindling state support, we must focus limited resources on UCSC's core mission: preparing students to be engaged citizens while seeking solutions to global challenges through cutting-edge research.

To the many friends of Shakespeare Santa Cruz who have worked tirelessly on behalf of this treasured campus and community asset, I commend and thank you. The outpouring of recent community support, especially in these difficult economic times, is impressive.