SC Chancellor Visits UCDC

By Brana Vlasic

California News Service

UC Santa Cruz Chancellor, George Blumenthal praised Banana Slugs for making their mark on the nation’s capital during a Monday visit to the University of California Washington Center.

Blumenthal expressed his excitement over new UC president Janet Napolitano’s interest in UCDC to more than 50 students and alumni gathered in the center’s gallery.

“She is going to be dynamic, she has ideas and is bringing a lot of energy to the position, so stay tuned,’’ Blumenthal said.

The chancellor was introduced by UCDC executive director Helen Shapiro, who was provost of College Nine and College Ten before taking over the Washington Center in September.

Blumenthal opened his speech with a proud reference to UCSC alumni Kathryn Sullivan, the first woman to walk in space and now President Obama’s nominee to be administrator of the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA).

He also mentioned other alums working at Washington establishments including President Obama’s Committee on the Arts and Humanities, CNN, NPR, the Washington Post and the Newseum.

“Banana Slugs have already made their mark and I look to you to make even more of a mark,’’ he told students.

Blumenthal detailed a $300 million fundraising campaign, noting that one Santa Cruz alumnus anonymously donated $2.5 million on the campaign’s first day.

“I think this tells a lot about the kind of people who graduate from UCSC,” Blumenthal said.

He also hailed Santa Cruz’s diversity, noting “we really are a campus that’s fulfilling that part of our mission to reflect the population of California and to make educational opportunity available to all students in California.”

Blumenthal said 60 percent of Santa Cruz students have done research with faculty and that this was the product of campus’ mission to combine the strengths of a small liberal arts college with the depths of a major research university.

“Today we host research that’s changing the world, research that is on the road to conquering cancer, that’s preserving the California Coast, and research that connects us to Silicon Valley,” he said.

The inquisitive crowd asked the chancellor about the priorities of the ongoing fundraising campaign, the programs that are being cut, the efforts of Peace Corps recruitment, and the lack of representation of liberal arts accomplishments in the UCSC promotional campaigns.

The California News Service-Washington is a journalism project of the University of California’s Washington Center.

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