My February newsletter

February 5, 2015

Dear friends and colleagues,

I hope you all had restful, restorative holidays and that you’re enthusiastically tackling the New Year with all its challenges and opportunities. I know I am.

And indeed, we face a host of challenges this year. More young people than ever are applying to UC, which shows that the University’s excellent, affordable education is more desirable and potentially transformative than ever.

At the same time, we are engaged in a serious conversation with state leaders and the people of California about what a modern UC should look like, how much it should cost, who should pay for it and who should be able to attend. In January, the UC Board of Regents established a select advisory committee to delve into these questions and develop recommendations that, among other things, will help determine what a modern research university of the highest quality requires to be successful. Governor Brown and I are the committee members, and we will be seeking input from a variety of people, including external and internal experts and UC faculty and students. We had our first meeting recently and I’m looking forward to working with the governor over the coming months. We’ll be giving an update to the Regents in March, so stay tuned.

These are thorny issues, and sometimes the conversation can be intense. But from where I sit, this conversation is crucial as we Californians decide the future of UC and, by extension, of our great state.

For more than 150 years, UC has played a critical role in the economic and social vitality of California, and indeed the world. It was a collaborative research project between UC and Stanford that laid the foundation for the biotech industry. It was a UC graduate student who helped develop the HTTP protocol that made surfing the Internet possible. Thanks to pioneering neonatal research at UC San Francisco, the lives of literally tens of thousands of babies have been saved. It was UC research that helped give birth to and sustain California's $43 billion agriculture industry, that breathed new life into California’s wine industry, and that opened the door to nuclear science. And countless UC graduates have gone on to launch businesses and be leaders in government and in their communities. The list goes on and on.

The point is that California would not be California if it weren't for UC. We can’t lose sight of that fact, nor can we take our success for granted. We must continually protect and invest in those things that will ensure a healthy and prosperous future for us all.

Thanks for reading. If you’d like to share an idea or comment, feel free to email me at janet@ucop.edu. And please pass this note on to friends and colleagues you think might be interested. If they like it, encourage them to sign up for future newsletters.

Yours very truly,

Janet Napolitano
President