Outstanding staff

Sammy the Slug helps Chancellor Blumenthal present the Outstanding Staff Award to Elaine Kihara.

Sammy helped me present the 2013 Outstanding Staff Award to Oakes College Academic Preceptor Elaine Kihara. Photo by Carolyn Lagattuta.

One of the things that became abundantly clear to me after I became chancellor is that it's staff who really run this place. Chancellors come and go, provosts come and go, but UCSC is well-served by our legions of dedicated, hard-working staff.

That's why it's always a pleasure to present the annual Outstanding Staff Award. This year's recipient is Elaine Kihara, an academic preceptor at Oakes College. She's been on campus more than 20 years, providing support to students. On some days, she may see as many as 18 students who need help with a range of issues that could jeopardize their academic success. She does an amazing job, bringing kindness, caring, and sensitivity to every situation. Our first-generation students are particularly appreciative of her understanding of their needs. Oakes Provost Kim Lau says that if Oakes were a sports team, Elaine would be elected "most valuable player" by outsiders—and team captain by insiders. Congratulations, Elaine!

And heartfelt thanks to all our talented staff. Nearly 1,000 turned out for the Staff Appreciation Breakfast on Tuesday, filling the Stevenson Event Center. The room was buzzing, and it was great to see so many old friends.

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