The importance of vaccine boosters, recognizing our 2021 accomplishments

To: UCSC Community

From: Chancellor Larive

I am continually inspired by all in our Banana Slug family who lift each other up during trying times. You reveal your compassion for others by following public health guidance and observing our campus COVID protocols. By doing so, you have kept campus COVID rates extremely low during this pandemic, and for that I am forever grateful.

Unfortunately, the pandemic is not over. The new Omicron variant appears especially vexing, and new variants are likely to emerge in the coming months. In response, I urge all eligible members of our campus community to get a booster dose of a COVID-19 vaccine, in line with guidance from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention as well as local, state and federal health officials. If at all possible, please get your booster before returning to campus for the start of Winter Quarter classes. Boosters are not a fail-safe preventive, but along with masking they are our best line of defense. You can find information about vaccination centers and appointments online.

The end of a calendar year naturally spurs reflection. It’s a time to think back on both the challenges we’ve faced individually and collectively, and to celebrate our accomplishments. There have been many.

Naming College Ten in honor of civil rights leader John R. Lewis was a momentous day for both the college and for our campus as a whole, one that we will continue to celebrate as the calendar flips to 2022, when the formal naming takes place. The announcement highlighted our work as a national leader in the social justice and equity movement, and having Representative Lewis’ name attached to our campus gives us further inspiration and responsibility to follow his legacy.

We launched our Student Success Initiative, doubling down on our commitment to be a truly student-serving institution with an extraordinary research profile and impact. We will continue to do all in our power to ensure that students have full access to the wide range of opportunities our incredible university provides. I’m excited to watch this initiative unfold.

It was wonderful earlier this fall to see Regents overwhelmingly endorse our vision for the main campus and the Westside Research Park, unanimously approving our 2021 Long Range Development Plan. This plan will guide us through the next two decades, providing us a framework to support students well into the future. The approval capped four years of work by campus planners and leaders, and involved gathering input from hundreds in our campus community and beyond. We will continue to work closely with our community partners to ensure the plan is implemented smartly, reducing community impacts, showing us to be a good neighbor.

Giving Day 2021 proved to be a huge success, with 3,000-plus donors kicking in more than $700,000, our most successful Giving Day ever. In difficult economic times, seeing our community of friends and supporters step up to support our students so generously is incredibly gratifying.

Over the past 18 months we have welcomed to UCSC three incredibly smart, talented and inspirational deans, with Jasmine Alinder (Humanities), Peter Biehl (Graduate Studies), and Celine Parreñas Shimizu (Arts) joining an already strong cohort of academic leaders. We are doing great things campuswide — purpose-driven work that advances justice, pushes the envelope of knowledge, and advocates for transformative change — and we are poised to accomplish even more in the year ahead.

This is also a good time to reaffirm our shared commitment to advancing diversity, equity, inclusion, and justice. Earlier this year we launched our new Latinx Initiative for Future Teachers program. LIFT enables students to earn a master’s in education and earn credentials for teaching in math, science, history or English in just 12 months and receive mentorship and financial support. The goal is for graduates to become leading advocates for equity, social justice and antiracism in the schools where they land. We have more work to do in this area, and we are committed to doing it.

As we approach the end of a year that has demanded much of all of us all, I feel incredibly proud of all we have accomplished together and I offer my thanks and gratitude to all in our community who have helped to push our university to greater heights. Enjoy the winter break, and I look forward to reconnecting in the new year!