Great dinner guests

I hosted a dinner at University House last night to introduce three professors to ten community members who want to know more about the campus. It was the latest in a series of these informal get-togethers, and each time I learn something new about UCSC. Last night, we heard about groundwater and aquifers from hydrogeologist Andy Fisher, the search for the Higgs boson or the so-called "God particle" from physicist Abe Seiden, and how cities respond to crises from sociologist Miriam Greenberg. People wonder why I'm optimistic about the future, given the challenges facing public universities these days, but how can you not be optimistic when you're surrounded by smart, talented people who are doing great work? It is always uplifting and energizing to showcase what's happening on campus, and our guests are always impressed.