Welcome to Fall Quarter

To: UC Santa Cruz Community

From: Chancellor George Blumenthal

Welcome to Fall Quarter and to my new monthly newsletter. I plan to send it each month to share news, celebrate achievements, and give you a heads up on campus issues.

I’m delighted to welcome everyone back to campus, as we celebrate our 50th year, and I especially want to welcome our 51st class — 3,600 freshmen, 1,150 transfers, and 550 graduate students. It’s a smart group distinguished by academic achievement and diversity. You are joining an exceptional teaching and research university committed to your success, (and I hope by now you are finding your way around this beautiful campus).

I am also excited to welcome 35 new faculty, each with an impressive background of scholarship and teaching.

At our “Fiat Fifty” Founders Celebration last weekend, I was fortunate to see many of the visionaries and trailblazers who helped found UC Santa Cruz. I enjoyed two full days of wonderful events, topped by the bestowing of the Fiat Lux award, a fabulous tribute to the pioneer staff and faculty, who, 50 years ago, charted the course for the UC Santa Cruz of today. It was a spectacular weekend, and I could not be more proud of our campus.

Kathy Sullivan, Cowell ’73, was a terrific master of ceremonies for the Fiat Fifty dinner on the East Field. After graduating, Kathy became a space shuttle astronaut, the first American woman to walk in space, and now heads the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration. During her remarks, she shared how she was surprised to discover a love for science while at UC Santa Cruz, a discovery that ultimately led to her successful career.

Alice Waters, the incomparable restaurateur and food activist, winner of our Foundation Medal, called UC Santa Cruz a true leader in a “delicious revolution.”

All the excitement around our anniversary has led to some pretty impressive media coverage. The Los Angeles Times had an excellent article on our 50th,  (alongside similar milestones at UC Irvine and Cal State San Bernardino.) The Santa Cruz Sentinel published nice stories before and after the Founders Celebration. And I hope you didn’t miss the amazing New York Times column and video by food writer Mark Bittman on the farm and the Center for Agroecology and Sustainable Food Systems.

When you watch the video you’ll notice that it was actually raining on the day Bittman visited. Until yesterday’s sprinkle, I think that was the last time we had seen rain. During this exceptional drought, everyone on campus has done a tremendous job conserving water, efforts that resulted in an award from the California Higher Education Sustainability Conference this summer.

We are poised for a great year ahead, and there are two campaigns I want to mention.

First, you’ll be seeing a new “Consent is Sexy” campaign on posters and other media around campus. As a campus we are committed to preventing and responding to sexual violence and sexual assault.

You’ll also be hearing more about the Cool Campus Challenge, a friendly, fun competition among all UC campuses aimed at reducing UC’s carbon footprint and creating a culture of sustainability across campuses.

UC Santa Cruz is a tremendous place to learn, work, and excel. As the Los Angeles Times noted, we now leave the prestigious list of best universities under 50. (We were listed 2nd in the U.S.) As I told the reporter, our 50th anniversary recognizes adulthood — our campus has matured.

I encourage you all to attend, or even better, participate in the Banana Slug Parade and Expo on Sunday morning, October 25 to celebrate 50 years of partnership between the city and university. The city of Santa Cruz and the Downtown Association of Santa Cruz are organizing the celebration. Learn more at http://www.downtownsantacruz.com/slug/. It’s sure to be fun.

Look for my next message in November, and remember, you can always reach me at chancellor@ucsc.edu. I’m listening.