On Thursday, Oct. 20, the University of California Board of Regents made a formal visit to UC Irvine in order to see the improvements recently made on campus, meet with students and plan for the future.
The regents’ visit included a morning meeting with UCI researcher and 2004 Nobel Laureate Irwin Rose, a tour of the Vista del Campo housing community, a hydrogen fuel cell vehicle demonstration and a tour of the Mass Spectrometry Laboratory.
One highlight of the visit was a presentation about UCI’s future plans.
‘We had a fabulous presentation today on the long-range goals and visions of the UCI campus,’ said UC Regent Judith Hopkinson. ‘It was very exciting. In fact, we can feel the excitement as we walk around campus.’
During the planning meeting, Chancellor Michael Drake and other UCI administrators spoke about long-term goals such as increasing the number of graduate students and developing more professional schools to serve the needs of the community.
Part of this community-service-oriented vision includes a new hospital to serve the needs of Orange County, for which ground was broken in June. The future hospital is now a ‘hole in the ground,’ according to Drake, although the project is moving along well, and the foundation will be poured starting November 19.
Drake also expressed the sentiment that as science and math programs develop, UCI should not overlook the importance of a liberal arts education.
This liberal arts education may include a moderately-sized law school of about 200 students in the near future.
‘Law firms have signed up to support this with great enthusiasm,’ Drake said.
For Vice Chancellor of Student Affairs Manuel Gomez, the most significant aspect of the visit was the interaction between the regents and students. Undergraduate and graduate students had the opportunity to directly address regents about their educational concerns.
‘We wanted the regents to get extended opportunities to meet and converse with our students,’ Gomez said. ‘[During a public comment period] AGS president Brett Goldsmith and ASUCI President Carlos Feliciano presented to the regents and discussed issues they brought up.’
Students also had the opportunity to speak to the regents in a more informal manner at a luncheon held at Vista del Campo. Throughout the course of the visit, it was the students, in addition to educators and administrators, who showed the visitors what UCI is all about.
‘We know that our students are excellent ambassadors for UCI, and wanted the regents to have an opportunity to understand our entire community’s ambitions, desires and plans to continue the already extraordinary trajectory of UCI,’ Gomez said.
Hopkinson was pleased to be able to return to Orange County, where she used to live. She saw a lot of changes in the campus, to which she used to be a frequent visitor.
The visit was successful in that UCI’s growth impressed the regents, and it is projected that they will offer even more support to the UCI administration.
‘In my view, the visit went very well,’ Gomez said. ‘I believe the visiting regents gained a deeper understanding and appreciation of our campus community as well as Chancellor Drake’s plans to advance our university.’