Letters to the Editor

UC Irvine Alumni Association/Bank of America
As the executive director of UC Irvine’s Alumni Association (UCIAA), I wanted to respond to the Jan. 5 editorial “How Universities Profit From Turning a Blind Eye,” regarding credit card programs that are offered by alumni associations.
While I can’t speak on behalf of all alumni associations or all credit card programs, I can better explain how our program works and why it exists. We do have a joint credit card program with Bank of America; however, it does not put students or their interests at risk. It simply can’t.
That’s because the UCIAA/Bank of America program does not market credit cards to students. Bank of America does not table, provide inserts in bags or otherwise promote our credit card program on campus to UCI students. Other Bank of America products, specifically UCI-themed checking accounts and debit cards, are made available to students. But in no way does our program bombard UCI students with enticements to fill out an application for a credit card.
The editorial stated that information about such programs is difficult to access. Had the editorial writer contacted our office to understand better our credit card program, we would have been happy to discuss it.
While there may be other credit card programs on campus, I want to be clear on this point: UCI’s official credit card program administered by the UCI Alumni Association does not target UCI students. This decision does impact the royalties we receive from Bank of America and the funding we then have to use on programs for our students and alumni. But we feel strongly that students should be spending their time and energy in the classroom, in the labs and with their student clubs or other interests — not responding to numerous credit card offers.
We do offer a credit card program to our alumni that helps us afford the many programs and services we offer. As a non-profit organization, UCIAA is partially funded by UCI. However, we are responsible for finding ways to finance all of the events and programs that we sponsor on behalf of our students and alumni.
For our students, we host send-off receptions for incoming freshmen each fall and a senior barbeque in the spring for graduating students, underwrite the activities of the Student Alumni Association, sponsor numerous student/alumni events each year, including homecoming and dinners for 12 Anteaters, and manage a scholarship program that distributes more than $80,000 in scholarships each year to our students.
We couldn’t offer these programs without the support we receive from our hand-selected affinity partners like Bank of America. Businesses compete for the privilege of marketing their services and products to highly desirable UCI students and alumni. We select these partners based on the quality, value, price, appropriateness of their offerings and their reputation. For that reason, we truly hope that our students and alumni find the products that we offer to be relevant and valuable.

Jorge E. Ancona
Executive Director, UCIAA
Assistant Vice Chancellor, Alumni Relations

Editor’s Note: The Editorial was written in opposition to a general trend on college campuses across the country. In no way was it meant to implicate the UCI Alumni Association’s official credit card program with such behavior.

Former UCI Professor, Richard L. Ballard, Passes Away

We bring news that Dr. Richard L. Ballard passed away on Jan. 3. Dr. Ballard was a physicist by education and an innovative technology pioneer by vocation. For the past 30 years, he has been a thought leader in knowledge science and semantic technologies. At the time of his death, Dr. Ballard was Chief Software Scientist at Knowledge Foundations, Inc., a semantic software engineering company. He was the inventor of a revolutionary semantic technology called Mark 3 Knowledge Platform.
While working as an assistant professor, research physicist and the co-director of the National Science Foundation Physics Computer Development Project at UC Irvine in the early to mid `70s, Ballard was cited by the National Science Foundation for the first application of artificial intelligence to conceptual learning. His successes led to a position as co-director of Apple Education Foundation in 1978, along with co-founders Steve Jobs, Mike Markula and Carolyn Stouffer, where Ballard stepped onto the world stage. While with Apple, as employee #110, he provided start-up grants and consulting to micro-based start-ups and represented the computer technology industry at congressional hearings held in Washington, D.C.
In his late 30s, he joined the TALMIS Division of International Data Corporation as vice president of research, where he defined the first and subsequent micro-based educational products, organized and trained editorial staffs and supported chief executive officers, marketing and development vice presidents of 44 companies such as Apple, Control Data Corporation, Walt Disney Productions, Esquire Publishing Company, Fujitsu Corporation, IBM, McGraw-Hill, Prentice-Hall Publishers, Science Research Associates, Xerox Publishing Group and others.
Thereafter, Ballard continued development work in the publishing industry with his wife Jan Pettitt and her company Interactive Productions. He was a senior staff scientist of Artificial Intelligence with Nichols Research Corporation, working on the Star Wars project and later, with Pacific Sierra Research. It was at Nichols where Ballard officially embarked on his journey into the heart and soul of Knowledge Science through the development of his first knowledge tool: Mark 1. His revolutionary knowledge science and declarative semantic technologies are now emerging as the most advanced technologies of their kind.
During his career, Dr. Ballard completed 50 projects of national importance with NASA, the Department of Defense, Office of the White House, U.S. Air Force, U.S. Navy and many other government and private organizations. He received 128 software citations, developed 21 educational software workshops, three management software workshops and a 10-week professional knowledge engineering course. He has been published in 35 publications and technical reports.
The following epitaph epitomizes his life: [“The greatest inventors are warriors. They willingly pursue a course of action into the unknown to discover grand solutions that resonate with some deep truth within them. They pursue this calling with invincible resolution against the odds of convention and the forces in support of the status quo, and emerge not just victorious, but as impassioned contributors to the advancement of humankind. Dr. Richard L. Ballard is such a person … Looking back these many years, after more than three decades of focus, concentration, dedication and purpose, it is clear that the deep resonance of truth that beckoned from within the young scientist Ballard has now risen to become the most fundamental, revolutionary science of the 21st century. Ballard has emerged victorious as the Scientist Warrior, and like all great inventors, his impassioned gift, indeed, is a contribution of extraordinary value to humankind.”

Dennis L. Thomas
Knowledge Foundations, Inc. KnowledgeFoundations.com