A delightful encounter with greatness

Photo of Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards.

Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards

I meet a lot of impressive people in my job, but Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards really stands out. It doesn't hurt that she is the daughter of a hero of mine, former Texas Gov. Ann Richards, but boy, Cecile is a real presence.

We met at Planned Parenthood headquarters in New York City recently, and I liked her immediately. We talked about UCSC's leadership in feminist studies, genomics, and the ethical issues of genomics and new medical technology, including informed consent and access to care. She clearly already knew a lot about UCSC and was really grateful when I gave her a signed copy of Bettina Aptheker's memoir, Intimate Politics: How I Grew Up Red, Fought for Free Speech, and Became a Feminist Rebel.

We had a great conversation, and she opened my eyes to what she considers a "revolution in women's health" brought about by the Affordable Care Act. The majority of Planned Parenthood's clientele are between the ages of 18 and 30, and for the first time, this cohort has access to health insurance. She called this a transformative moment.

At any rate, she was enthusiastic about doing whatever she can to help the campus, as her schedule permits. I know I would be very proud to host her on campus, or to host an event in New York City that involved her. It was such a good meeting, confirming what I suspected were strong affinities between UCSC and her mission at Planned Parenthood.

If she follows in her mother's footsteps, I can say right now that I'd vote for her for president any day!

That wasn't the only highlight of my East Coast trip. We had a wonderful breakfast meeting with alumni and other friends of the campus, hosted by Christine and Robert Holo. They've been invaluable champions and supporters of UCSC, and with their help, we are building a strong network in New York City. Considerable credit also goes to Steve Weldon in University Relations, who is—sadly for us—retiring this month. Steve, congratulations, and I promise to build on your successes and carry on your good work!

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