Students and faculty gathered in Aldrich Park on May 17 to celebrate the end of an era.
In less than one month, Chancellor Ralph Cicerone and his wife, professor of psychology Carol Cicerone, will bid farewell to Irvine and move to Washington, D.C., where the chancellor will serve as the president of the National Academy of Sciences.
Representatives from the Academic Senate, Staff Assembly, undergraduate and graduate student governments and the city of Irvine were given the opportunity to describe the impact the chancellor and his wife have had during their tenure at UC Irvine during the official farewell ceremony.
‘Both of them have been great leaders and ambassadors for this campus,’ said Fabio Leite, doctoral candidate at the Institute for Mathematical Behavioral Sciences and president of the Associated Graduate Students. ‘We can safely assume one thing … [that] the impact of [their] tenure here will be felt for years to come.’
Ralph and Carol Cicerone came to UCI in 1989 as professors of earth system science and cognitive sciences, respectively.
Ralph served as chair of the Department of Earth System Science until he was appointed dean of the School of Physical Sciences in 1994. After four years, he was nominated and hired to be the chancellor of UCI in 1998.
During his tenure as chancellor, Ralph has received a number of prestigious awards for his contributions to science, including the Franklin Institute Bower Prize in 1999 and the World Cultural Council Albert Einstein Award in science in 2004.
Carol has served on the Academic Senate committee on research and the UC committee on research policy. She has also served as a charter member of the Orange County Chapter of Achievement Rewards for College Scientists, an organization that raises funds for graduate students pursuing degrees in the field of science, and in 2003 received the Extraordinarius Award from the UCI Alumni Association.
Ralph will begin his six-year term as president of NAS in early July. NAS, which has about 2,000 members and 350 foreign associates, is comprised of various committees of experts who, among other things, provide advice to the public and federal government regarding scientific issues. The president serves as a full-time employee with offices in Washington, D.C. and also serves as chair of the National Research Council.
While many students and faculty have expressed their sadness at seeing Ralph and Carol leave UCI, there have also been many words of congratulations for the extraordinary opportunity the chancellor has been given by NAS.
The benefit of having Ralph Cicerone as a leader was well-recognized when the community gathered to say good-bye on May 17. Chancellor Cicerone was well-known for his willingness to interact with the students at UCI; in fact, he is one of the only heads of a major research university who maintains his own laboratory and serves as an advisor to graduate students. It is this altruism that seems to have made an impact on the students at UCI.
‘The fact that he loves what he does … it shows,’ said Gabriel Ayass, a fourth-year political science major and Associated Students of UCI president. ‘Without a doubt, he will leave this university better than he found it.’
Sunny Zaman, a third-year political science major, described his reasons for attending the event.
‘Chancellor Cicerone has done a ton for our school in his time as chancellor. I felt a need to bid him farewell,’ he said. ‘And really good free cookies always seem to attract me.’
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