UCR Magazine The Magazine of UC Riverside

Winter 2017

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Living the Promise

The campaign for UC Riverside aims to raise $300 million by the year 2020. Read why this mission is crucial for campus growth

Lilledeshan Bose

It was a clear, sunny day in mid-October at the University of California, Riverside. Balloons were flying, burgers were grilling, and the UCR band was playing to herald a new age for the campus. On the quad, before heading to the bell tower, people were winding colorful yarn around tent poles to make a giant sunburst. The eight points of the sun symbolized food, technology, health, sustainability, community, culture, student success, and research support — the pillar themes of the campaign. In that moment, Chancellor Kim A. Wilcox took the stage and issued a clarion call — officially launching “Living the Promise: The Campaign for UC Riverside.”

“All indicators of quality are rising at UC Riverside,” said Wilcox. “This is our moment to tell the compelling stories of impact and transformation that draw support for our students, faculty, and programs.”

By announcing the public phase of a $300 million comprehensive fundraising campaign, Wilcox defined the promise of UCR; one that its students, faculty members, and alumni have always lived. From the seeds planted as the UC Citrus Experiment Station in 1907, more than 104,000 alumni have grown.

Gabrielle C. Adoh, watch her video

Gabrielle C. Adoh watch her video

This year, 22,921 students are attending UCR; the campus’s biggest population yet. Its 850 faculty members include 48 Fulbright Fellows, 19 recipients of Guggenheim Fellowships, and 49 National Endowment for the Humanities Fellows. UCR’s research and creative works — in the arts, entomology, public policy, health services, the economy, technology, and more — are world-renowned. When measured by graduation rates, economic diversity, quality of faculty, affordability, and community service, UC Riverside is rated among the best in the nation.

“With the help of generous supporters, we are excited to begin the public phase of our fundraising campaign to continue to lead the nation into the future,” Wilcox said.

We meant to dance with the elephant in the room
and go against the current
We meant to be different on purpose
We meant to have purpose.

UCR has already secured $166 million in gifts toward the effort, which will conclude in 2020. The gifts will be used to aid students, create faculty support, fund research and university programs, and build new infrastructure around campus. It will also fund endowed chairs; UC Riverside currently has 55 faculty members who hold endowed chairs, 18 of which were created in the past three years. These provide financial support for research and more. Wilcox hopes to raise that number to 75 by 2020.

At a university where 57 percent of undergraduate students are eligible for Pell grants (meaning they’re from low-income families) and most are the first in their families to attend college, it’s significant that Highlanders are also determined to give back to their communities and their society. Through the years, graduates of UC Riverside have lived their promise in community building, in friendships, in conducting research that affects our lives, and in our government.

Thomas Haider, read about him

Thomas Haider Read about him

In a visit to campus, former Secretary of Labor Robert Reich described that spirit: “UCR has the energy of an underdog that knows it’s winning the race that’s worth winning — not the mindless U.S. News & World Report college rankings but the Washington Monthly’s far more thoughtful rankings … [which] include graduation rates, economic diversity, quality of faculty, affordability, and community service. I wish we could clone UCR all over America.”

For those that give the gift of giving
For others to be able to give that gift to the present

Ten years ago, 140 faculty members, administrators, staff, students, alumni, donors, and community members created “UCR 2020: The Path to Preeminence.” It was a strategic plan that aimed to enhance opportunities for undergraduate students; increase graduate student support; add new professional schools and expand existing graduate and professional programs; and increase the percentage of graduate and professional school students to 20 percent of the student population. It was through this plan that UCR created the blueprint to provide California residents more access to higher education.

“My UCR degrees have made possible my own career as a successful entrepreneur,” said UCR Foundation Chair Darin Anderson, chairman and CEO of Salas O’Brien, who was recently selected to serve a term as alumni regent on the UC Board of Regents. The campaign will not only strengthen support for student success, faculty research and creativity, and community engagement, he says. “I see this playing out among my classmates and colleagues as UCR’s global footprint expands.”

In the end, that is all we truly want to be,
Which is able to say that we left our legacy

The fundraising initiative, co-chaired by longtime UCR and community supporters Thomas T. Haider, M.D., president and CEO of the Haider Spine Center, and S. Sue Johnson, former UC Regent and board chair of the University of California system, is not simply about raising money. With 104,000 living alumni, the campaign will also be a catalyst to increase alumni and community engagement, fuel pride, and galvanize support around UCR’s goals.

In addition to focused efforts within seven colleges and schools, the library system, and intercollegiate athletics, UCR will focus on six key themes: Social Innovation and Empowerment; New Voices and Visions; Health and Wellness; From Genomics to Harvest; Emerging Technologies; and Renewable Nature.

S. Sue Johnson

S. Sue Johnson Read about her

And at the end of the comprehensive fundraising campaign, the hope is that investing in UCR’s future will feel like second nature to its alumni, donors, the region, and other campus constituents. It’s a way of not only keeping UCR’s promise to California to the world, but of living the promise.

On Oct. 15, UCR held a gala event to launch the campaign for supporters, alumni, and friends.

Concha Rivera, right, widow of UCR Chancellor Tomás Rivera, with Harold Larson.

Rivera lawn was transformed to give everyone a glimpse into what makes UCR both special and exceptional.

Even Scotty was dressed up for the night.

School of Medicine Dean Deborah Deas, left, with Campaign Co-chair S. Sue Johnson.

Athletics Director Tamica Smith Jones, left, with Cal Poly Pomona President Soraya M. Coley.

Campaign Co-chair Tom Haider, M.D.

The evening included an interactive reception featuring demonstrations, student research presentations, and video vignettes.

Displays featured research focused on plant genetics, aside from art, astronomy and music.

Guests received UCR citrus olive oil and vinegar as mementos of the night.

A performance by the UCR Chamber Singers capped off the night.

Left to right: Deepta Dhillon with UCR Foundation (UCRF) Trustees Dr. Harkeerat Dhillon and William Dahling Jr.

UCR is nationally recognized for student graduation rates that are nearly equal across all racial and ethnic groups — a rarity among colleges and universities.

UCR Student Advancement Ambassadors told their stories to the delight of guests at the gate.

The night was lit magically.

Displays also featured research focused on bees and pollination.

For mementos of the night, guests also received framed photos.

Chancellor Kim A. Wilcox and his wife, Diane Del Buono.

Left to right: Mark Rubin and UCRF Trustee Pam Rubin with Jed Schwendiman.

Left to right: Campaign Co-chair and UCRF Trustee Tom Haider and his wife Salma, with Elizabeth Leonard and her husband, UCRF Trustee John Leonard, Ph.D. ’78.

David Cunningham Jr. ’62, left, with UCRF Emeritus Trustee Charles D. Field ’58.

Left to right: Clyde Derrick, UCRF Trustee Barbara Robinson, Jo Dutton, Ph.D ’96, and Ted Dutton.

Taking UCR’s Good Work Public

The Living the Promise symposia series seeks to educate the public about UCR’s research and outreach

When teacher, activist, and UC Riverside alumna Carrie Garcia ‘05, said she wanted to change the world, an elder within her Soboba Band of Luiseño Indians just laughed.

“But I told him, ‘I cannot change the world we live in, but I can change the community where I live. And if I can do it, then you can do it, too,’” Garcia said Nov. 10, at UCR’s Living the Promise Symposium on Social Innovation and Empowerment.

UCR is taking the campaign’s themes to the public through a series of public events that celebrate UC Riverside’s scholarship, and the contributions it makes to students and to the community.

Garcia was one of seven UCR faculty members and alumni who were honored for their work in solving social problems and empowering others to succeed. The event was part of a yearlong series of symposia to highlight the six key themes in the university’s Living the Promise campaign to raise $300 million for student support, faculty research, and infrastructure by 2020.

Meet the Honorees:


From Genomics to Harvest — March 17
Renewable Nature — April 19
New Voices and Visions — May 4

For more information visit campaign.ucr.edu/events