Launching our campaign

Photo of UC President Janet Napolitano with UCSC students.

UC President Janet Napolitano met with UCSC students during her visit. Photo by Carolyn Lagattuta.

We launched the public phase of our $300 million fundraising campaign on Friday, and it was phenomenal. UC President Janet Napolitano had a great line at the end of her remarks, saying, "You have a great faculty, you have great research facilities, and you have a great student body. Let's add some money and mix!"

Close to 200 guests attended the lunch, escorted up the driveway to University House by enthusiastic students, many of whom carried signs that said "Thank you." It was a proud day for the campus—and it followed a proud evening. Our first "Ed Talks" event, with faculty members David Haussler, Terrie Williams, and Alan Christy, was terrific. The crowd loved each of the TED-style talks, and everyone I spoke with afterward was inspired by what they'd heard. Who wouldn't be, hearing about UCSC efforts to decode cancer, save endangered species, and heal rifts that date back to World War II? You really can't beat that.

Capping the festivities were our sold-out Foundation Forum with architect Frank Gehry and the Founders Gala dinner at the Cocoanut Grove. Every year, I wonder if our Founders Celebration festivities can live up to what we've done in the past, and every year they have. Hats off to everyone who played a role in pulling it off, especially the hard-working staff!

One observation about Napolitano: She was fully engaged throughout her visit. We packed her schedule and at every stop – meeting with students at Cowell College, talking with faculty at the Center for Adaptive Optics, attending the Ed Talks downtown, having dinner with campus leaders on Thursday night – she listened closely, asked questions, and dug deeper into the topic at hand. I was very impressed, and I look forward to working with her. I am also delighted that her first impression of UC Santa Cruz was entirely favorable. Again, kudos to all!

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