End of another great year

People who've known me since before I became chancellor know I used to wear shorts to work virtually every day. These days I am typically a little more formal--occasionally, I even don a tuxedo. That was the case last week when I attended the award ceremony for the Fundamental Physics Prize and the Breakthrough Prize in Life Sciences.

Known familiarly as the Milner Prizes, after Silicon Valley philanthropist Yuri Milner who established the awards in 2012, these prizes have emerged as among the most coveted in science—and not just because recipients receive $3 million. Professor David Haussler and I represented UCSC at the black-tie gala held at the Ames Research Center in Mountain View. I congratulated Milner on creating a program that celebrates both scientific achievement and philanthropy in Silicon Valley. I chatted briefly with Facebook co-founder Mark Zuckerberg, who announced a new prize in mathematics starting next year, and I was happy to reconnect with UCSC alumna and Google executive Susan Wojcicki. All in all, it was a who's who of Silicon Valley, emceed by actor Kevin Spacey. Glad I didn't show up in my shorts!

Speaking of getting out of the office, I had a wonderful time the other night meeting with students in the Chancellor's Undergraduate Internship Program. What an engaged group! I introduced myself and told them about my background and what it's like to be chancellor before opening it up to questions, and we had an excellent conversation. CUIP interns get involved in sustainability, outreach, community relations, advocacy, and a host of other activities, so they're a great group to begin with, but I could've spent hours with them. As it was, I was late getting home, but it was worth it. Conversations with students recharge my batteries and energize me for the work ahead.

I'll be away from campus for several weeks, first for a short break with family and then for two weeks in India as part of our campus outreach efforts. I wish each of you a restful, healthy, and joyous winter break, and I will see you next year!

Comments or questions? Write to chancellor@ucsc.edu and put "Milner" in the subject line.