UCSC's ripple effects are felt far and wide

Photo of UCSC staff members Seth Sanders, Craig Mortensen, and Tonny Bosso.

Among the staff I met during a workplace tour were (l - r) automotive technician Seth Sanders, senior custodial supervisor Craig Mortensen and locksmith Tony Bosso. Photo by Renee Mayne.

My week started with a powerful reminder of how impactful UCSC people are in the world. The memorial service on Saturday for music professor Fred Lieberman was an incredible testament to a man whose interests and talent literally reached around the world.

I was struck by Fred's intellect, insatiable curiosity, and tireless drive to learn. He was involved in so many projects around the globe. On campus, he's widely recognized for his collaborations with Grateful Dead drummer Mickey Hart, who spoke at the memorial, and he is certainly responsible for UCSC acquiring the Dead's vast archives. His scholarly contributions were equally monumental, including a seminal paper he wrote in the 1970s about the prospect of abolishing the field of ethnomusicology. Fred was a mover and shaker in his field, a mentor to many, and an inspiration to all who knew him. I wish I had known him better.

Two alumni were in the news this week, too. Santa Clara County has named UCSC alum David Perez to a two-year term as Poet Laureate. This is the latest accolade for David, who earned a BA in literature from Kresge College in 2003. In 2012, he was voted "Best Author in the Bay Area" in the San Francisco Bay Guardian's annual readers' poll. He is the author of Love in a Time of Robot Apocalypse, among other works. He teaches English at Ohlone College.

And alum Ryan Seelbach, who earned a BA in Earth Sciences in 1992 and a master's the following year, made the first semi-final round in the recent Body Glove Mavericks Invitational surfing contest. If you've seen any video of the contest, you know it takes courage to ride those monster waves. At UCSC, our alumni make waves -- and ride them, too!

Two other highlights of my week: I met with members of the Student Union Assembly on Tuesday night and was impressed by their questions and engagement, particularly around philanthropy and the support services we provide for students.

The next day, Alison Galloway and I toured the Cogeneration Plant and Physical Plant facilities as part of our ongoing "walk a day in our shoes" outreach to staff. I can't believe I'd never seen our old diesel generator before. Talk about a workhorse! Salvaged off a submarine, it has performed admirably but is about to be replaced by a sleek, modern unit powered by natural gas. None too soon, according to the talented team that's been keeping it online—sometimes by machining replacement parts in their own shop. I also had no idea the variety of vehicles our mechanics service—cars, shuttle buses, trucks, vans—even the OPERS climbing wall was in the shop for a tune-up! And I confess that I got a kick out of going behind the counter at the TAPS window. I was always careful to time the pick-up of my parking pass to avoid those long lines. These tours are a great way to see more of the campus and to learn from the staff who keep this entire campus – including that old generator – running smoothly.

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