OPINION: UCSD at 50 – achieving the extraordinary

By Marye Anne Fox

Chancellor, UCSD

UC San Diego is celebrating a milestone anniversary this year - 50 years of achieving the extraordinary - and the community will be an integral part of our commemoration. After all, it has been the support of the La Jolla community and our region that has allowed us to flourish and evolve into a world-renowned, top-ranked higher education and research university.

We are incredibly grateful to our founders and university friends who had advocated for our establishment in 1960, recruiting the world’s top faculty and students to La Jolla with the promise of a new distinctive university. They opened their minds, their homes and their hearts, creating a unique sense of community on and off campus; many have described the early years as a magical time. We’ve developed strong, deep ties with our neighbors, and we are grateful for the numerous university support groups that have abounded. We know that support must be a two-way street.

UC San Diego has contributed to our local, national and global communities by being an economic engine that injects billions into our local economy and generates jobs, and through our mission of higher education, research, service and patient care. For five decades, we’ve trained generations of skilled leaders and we’ve made it a priority to reach out to first-generation students in San Diego through our Preuss School and numerous outreach programs. We continue to conduct cutting-edge research that advances diverse fields, including climate and marine science, technology, medicine, engineering, and the arts and humanities. We serve our community through translational research that saves and improves lives and through advanced patient care at our UC San Diego Health System. We are extremely proud of our contributions to the region and our recent Washington Monthly ranking as the number one university for commitment to service.

This year, we plan to take our community involvement a step further. I have launched Volunteer50: Chancellor’s Call to Service, asking UC San Diego community members and friends to perform 50 hours of service during our 50th anniversary celebration from September 2010 to June 2011. Through this initiative, I hope San Diegans will realize how much we care about our region and understand the impact our students, staff, faculty and alumni make, every day, all over our county, nation and world. I invite everyone to become an active part of our anniversary celebration by participating in the Volunteer50 service initiative and by attending our signature anniversary events.

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