FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
In recognition of their distinguished service and dedication to higher education in California, state Sen. Steve Peace of El Cajon and Assemblyman Dennis Cardoza of Merced were honored as "Legislators of the Year" today (March 14) by the Alumni Associations of the University of California (AAUC).
The awards were presented at a breakfast meeting of UC alumni gathered in Sacramento for the AAUC's annual legislative conference.
Peace, chairman of the Senate Budget Committee, was recognized for his support of the university's efforts to maintain high-quality programs in a time of significant enrollment growth.
"Sen. Peace has been a leading advocate for the University of California," said Kent Vining, president of the AAUC. "He understands the importance of preserving quality educational programs while providing a place at the university for all eligible students, and he has been instrumental in securing the state support necessary for UC to continue pursuing both missions."
Peace has led legislative efforts to maintain state support for the university's core budget, provide increases for chronically underfunded needs such as deferred maintenance and instructional equipment, and ensure that the state budget allows UC to maintain its commitments under the Master Plan for Higher Education to all eligible students seeking an education at the university.
He also authored SB 1896, a 5 percent fee reduction for graduate academic students, which mirrored a similar student fee cut for undergraduates.
"Sen. Peace has been a strong ongoing supporter of the University of California and of the important role it plays in our state," said UC San Diego Chancellor Robert C. Dynes. "We value his understanding of the issues, his wise advice and counsel, and his commitment to quality, access and affordability in higher education."
The Alumni Associations recognized Cardoza for his strong ongoing support of the university and its operating and capital budgets. Cardoza also has been a leading advocate on behalf of UC's Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources, and he provided important support for legislative approval of a statewide education bond measure in 1998.
"Assemblyman Cardoza has been a great friend of the University of California," Vining said. "His supportive efforts will benefit many future generations of UC alumni and will help the university retain its well-deserved international reputation as a center of academic excellence and educational opportunity."
Cardoza also was honored for his substantial efforts on behalf of UC Merced, which will be the university's first campus in the San Joaquin Valley. Cardoza has played an important role in securing state funds for the development of UC Merced and for Merced County's planning costs associated with the new campus.
"Assemblyman Cardoza has been one of our key supporters, and his advocacy for UC Merced in the Legislature has been critical to our success," said UC Merced Chancellor Carol Tomlinson-Keasey. "His efforts have demonstrated an unwavering commitment to fulfilling the educational aspirations of the children of the San Joaquin Valley."
The AAUC presents its Legislator of the Year award annually to one member of the Senate and one member of the Assembly. The AAUC governing board selects the award recipients from campus nominations of state legislators who have been outstanding supporters of the University of California.
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