Campus update: Gearing up for commencement; celebrating Pride month; professor among Time magazine’s 100 most influential people

To: UCSC Community

From: Cynthia Larive, Chancellor

We are now in the home stretch of spring quarter, with finals next week and commencement celebrations beginning June 9. To our students, I wish you good luck as you prepare for final exams. Remember, the whole campus is behind you and rooting for your success. You’ve got this!

For those of you who are graduating, congratulations! We are so excited to see what you will accomplish as alumni, and hope that you will stay engaged with UC Santa Cruz as you progress through the next stages of your life.

This has been a remarkable academic year—from the return to largely in-person instruction to many historic moments, including the naming and dedication of John R. Lewis College and leading the effort to produce the first truly complete sequence of a human genome. Our community’s strength, energy, and determination continue to amaze me.

The Highlights

  • Gearing up for commencement
  • Celebrating Pride month
  • Professor among Time magazine’s 100 most influential people
  • Let’s Double the Pell
  • Sign up for Summer Session

Gearing up for commencement

Graduation is such an exciting time at UC Santa Cruz. Family, friends and our campus community will join together next week to celebrate all that the Class of 2022 has accomplished.

Commencement 2022 will be a combination of virtual and in-person experiences. Virtual commencement will launch on June 9 at 4 p.m. on the commencement website and will be available to view until this time next year. Slug Crossing, our in-person commencement ceremonies, will happen from June 9–12 on the East Field. The schedule is online.

Faculty and staff can support this year’s commencement activities in two ways. The first is to attend and cheer on our graduates who are participating in Slug Crossing. Employees can also volunteer to help Slug Crossing run smoothly.

We are also celebrating our graduates by asking friends, family, faculty, and staff to submit brief congratulatory notes. Our Class of 2022 website launched today with stories about some of our graduates and the congratulatory notes will be shared on that site next week.

Celebrating Pride month

June marks the start of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Queer (LGBTQ) Pride Month. It’s a time to celebrate the success that the LGBTQIA+ community has had in creating a more inclusive and equitable world. However, we should all recognize that those advancements are under attack with some states passing discriminatory legislation that targets members of the LGBTQIA+ community. UC Santa Cruz leadership stands opposed to these efforts and we must all speak out against these efforts.

One opportunity to learn more and show your support is by attending Santa Cruz Pride 2022. Established 47 years ago, our city is home to the third-oldest Pride Parade and Festival in California. Santa Cruz Pride 2022 starts Friday with a film screening and continues through the weekend with additional events.

I am proud to be joining a group of UC Santa Cruz community members who will be participating in the 47th annual Santa Cruz Pride parade, and I encourage our community to head downtown and cheer on all the participants. The parade starts at 11 a.m. Sunday, June 5 on Pacific Avenue between Cathcart and Church streets.

Professor among Time magazine’s 100 most influential people

I was delighted to see Karen Miga, assistant professor of biomolecular engineering, named one of the 100 most influential people of 2022 by Time magazine.

Professor Miga and three colleagues from other institutions led an international team of scientists—known as the Telomere-to-Telomere Consortium (or T2T)—that April 1 released the first truly complete sequence of a human genome, covering each chromosome from end to end with no gaps and unprecedented accuracy. This scientific feat opens up new territories for scientists, with a promise of practical applications in the realm of personalized medicine and advances our understanding of human diversity and evolution.

This is a wonderful achievement for Karen, and highlights the transformational biomolecular science taking place at UC Santa Cruz. Our campus is proud of our long history of pioneering research advances in this field. The first working draft of a human genome was assembled at UCSC in 2000, which led to enormous leaps in our collective understanding of human biology and disease.

Let’s Double the Pell

UC Santa Cruz is a social mobility engine, delivering a world-class education to a diverse student body that includes low income and first-generation students. This broad access to higher education is driven in large part by the Pell Grant, the federal financial aid program that helps low-income students afford college. The program was created in 1972 and every year it opens the doors of higher education for millions of students.

Nearly a third of UC Santa Cruz undergraduates are supported by Pell Grants, providing critical financial support. For more than a year, the University of California and many other champions of higher education have called on Congress to double the Pell Grant’s maximum award to $13,000.

Doubling the Pell would directly support our students—and millions more—by reducing the need for loans, supporting basic needs and ultimately helping students graduate from the university.

June 23 marks the Pell Program’s 50th anniversary, and the University of California and the UC Student Association are celebrating this milestone by asking people to sign an online birthday card that will be delivered to Congress. I signed—and I encourage you to do so, too.

Sign up for Summer Session

While summer can be a time for internships and jobs, vacations, and taking a break, it also provides opportunities for students to make progress toward their educational goals. Summer Session continues to expand offerings to meet students’ needs and has grown in popularity. There’s still time to add classes and significant grant funding is available for students eligible for financial aid.

A wide array of courses are available online and in-person to complete major or general education requirements. Summer Session classes are open to everyone, so faculty, staff, alumni, community members and even high school students can learn from our stellar instructors.

In closing

This will be my last monthly update until we approach the start of fall quarter, though we’ll continue to share important updates in Tuesday Newsday and in our newscenter. As we wrap up the spring quarter, I hope everyone in our campus community is able to take some time this summer to take part in the activities that bring them joy.