Winter quarter message from Chancellor Blumenthal

To: UCSC Community

From: Chancellor George Blumenthal

I hope you had a restful, restorative winter break. I want to take a moment to reflect on some of the opportunities and challenges awaiting us in coming weeks and months.

First, on this momentous day, I want to make special note of the engagement of our students in the political process. Many were involved in voter registration drives and campaigning, and many others had the opportunity to cast their first ballots in this historic election.

I also want to acknowledge how our students, staff, and faculty invested time, personal resources and boundless energy in making the holidays brighter for thousands in our community. Altogether, our campus community contributed more than 57,000 pounds of food and cash equivalent to the annual Second Harvest Food Bank, more than twice last year's total. Our Student Volunteer Center collected, organized, and delivered more than 200 holiday gifts to local children from economically disadvantaged families.

These extraordinary collaborative efforts, and your many individual acts of grace and generosity that often go unacknowledged, affirm UCSC's enduring relationship with the Santa Cruz community. I want to express my gratitude to you all for strengthening those bonds.

UCSC's talented faculty continues to garner well-deserved recognition. In the past month, three UCSC professors - Phillip Crews, Darrell Long, and Pradip Mascharak - were elected by their peers to the American Association for the Advancement of Science (AAAS). Math professor Alexander Gamburd won a Presidential Early Career Award for Scientists and Engineers - the highest honor a young scientist or engineer can receive in the United States.

These accomplishments are further evidence of the character of our students, respect for our faculty and the uncommon quality of their teaching and research, and deepening relationships between our campus and local community.

Maintaining our momentum in these challenging economic times will require our collective intellectual and entrepreneurial efforts. In a time of dwindling public support, we need to direct available resources - including our talented faculty and academic and administrative staffs - to initiatives that can have the greatest local and global impact.

EVC Dave Kliger, our academic deans, and principal officers continue to work proactively and strategically to identify how limited resources can best advance our core mission. As that process and state budget discussions continue, we will keep you informed of what we know as we know it - including implications of anticipated mid-year budget cuts.

I want to close by highlighting three upcoming events that celebrate the mission and promise of UCSC. Our annual Scholarship Benefit Dinner, on Saturday, January 31, will honor Chancellor Emeritus Karl Pister and his wife Rita Olsen Pister for their extraordinary leadership in increasing support for student scholarships. I'm delighted to note the dinner has sold out. Proceeds will fund scholarships for deserving UCSC students. Information is available at

On February 10, Professor Patricia Zavella will deliver the distinguished Faculty Research Lecture at 8 p.m. at the Music Recital Hall.

Two days later, on February 12, UCSC will host the 25th Rev. Martin Luther King Jr. Memorial Convocation at the Santa Cruz Civic Auditorium. We're privileged and excited this year to welcome Van Jones, the noted sustainability and social justice advocate and author of "The Green Collar Economy," as keynote speaker. You can learn more at (Jones, by the way, is the subject of a profile in the January 12 issue of The New Yorker.)

I look forward to seeing you at one or all of these events, or around campus.