Greetings from an old friend

Kelly and I spent a fairly quiet Thanksgiving with our son in Berkeley. A highlight of the day was getting a text from Maria Ledesma, a UCLA grad and former student regent. I got to know Maria a few years ago. She was instrumental in persuading the UC Regents to form a study group on diversity; I chaired the subcommittee on graduate and professional schools. The study group's work was revealing, and the results helped galvanize support for improving diversity in the post-Prop. 209 era. Maria deserves a lot of credit for that. Today, she's an assistant professor of educational leadership and policy at the University of Utah, and I was thrilled to get a photo of her with Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg. Maria had flown to Washington to hear arguments in the Fisher v. University of Texas affirmative action case. All 10 UC chancellors signed an amicus brief submitted in support of affirmative action in the Fisher case. Just one question: How much longer do I have to wait to see a UC Santa Cruz student appointed to the Board of Regents?!

In other news, I have mixed feelings about Cabrillo College President Brian King being named chancellor of the Los Rios Community College District in Sacramento. Of course, I'm happy for Brian—this is a great professional opportunity. But he has become a good friend over the years as he and I have collaborated on several initiatives, including making it easier for Cabrillo graduates to enroll at UCSC. He also championed a countywide K-12 effort to improve college readiness. He has been an effective advocate for affordable higher education in Santa Cruz, and I'm really going to miss him.

Comments or questions? Write to and put “Regent-King" in the subject line.