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News in Brief

Chancellor Drake Awarded UC Presidential Medal

Janet Napolitano, the university of California president, has given the UC Presidential Medal to outgoing UC Irvine Chancellor Michael V. Drake for his “transformative legacy,” which includes the addition of the first new public law school in California in 40 years.
“Your wise leadership, discerning mind and ever-compassionate humanity have profoundly enriched the university and have contributed immeasurably to UC Irvine’s stature among the leading research universities of the world,” Napolitano said.
The award also recognizes Drake’s efforts in adding physical and academic enhancements to campus and raising student applications to the school by 90 percent.
Jack W. Peltason, former UC president and UCI’s second chancellor, has also received the medal this year.
First established in 1997, the UC Presidential Medal has since recognized extraordinary contributions to the UC or the community of learning. Former recipients of the medal include former UC president Richard Atkinson and Jack Scott, the former chancellor of the California Community Colleges System and a former California state politician.
Napolitano commented, “Your steadfast efforts as an eminent physician and highly respected educator have ensured that the lamp of learning continues to burn brightly, illuminating the educational path to a better life for countless underrepresented and disenfranchised students.”

Napolitano Continues to Develop UC-Mexico Initiative

The University of California is taking steps to build upon a broad UC-Mexico Initiative that would strengthen ties between the university and Mexico by increasing exchanges of student, faculty and researchers between UC campuses and Mexican universities.
Late May, UC President Janet Napolitano traveled to Mexico City and met with officials from Mexico’s departments of Education and Foreign Affairs, Mexican university presidents and the heads of scientific research and cultural organizations to discuss how to develop the UC-Mexico Initiative to create a sustained, strategic and equal partnership between both countries, according to a UC press release.
“UC’s many and varied partnerships, exchanges and collaborations with Mexico are integral to bettering lives on both sides of our national border,” Napolitano stated.
During her trip, Napolitano also represented the UC at the launch of the Bilateral Forum for High Education, Research and Innovation (FOBESII), where U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry finalized the pact first announced in 2013 by President Barack Obama and Mexican President Enrique Peña Nieto. Obama’s higher education exchange initiative hopes to have 100,000 U.S. students studying in Latin America and 100,000 from the region studying in the states by 2020, according the Los Angeles Times.
Napolitano signed a memorandum between the UC and the Mexican National Council of Science and Technology (CONACYT), extending their agreement of cooperation in higher education and research.
Napolitano explained, “This trip is a testament to the strength of our relationship with Mexico. I’m here to ensure we grow that relationship by establishing our new project to enhance the mutual exchange of students, faculty and ideas across the border.”

Michigan Professor to head UCI Materials Research Institute

After 18 years at the University of Michigan, Xiaoqing Pan will join the UC Irvine faculty as a part of both The Henry Samueli School of Engineering’s Department of Chemical Engineering & Materials Science and the School of Physical Sciences’ Department of Physics & Astronomy. He will also lead the Irvine Materials Research Institute (IMRI), a new $20 million research institute focused on the discovery of new properties in potentially lifesaving and technologically important materials.
“The electron microscopy initiative and the IMRI at UC Irvine will provide me with new tools and great opportunities for potential collaborations with the many researchers on campus,” Pan said. “I am grateful for the chance to help shape the university’s future development through a combination of assisting students, developing departments, establishing the institute and moving forward in my own research.”
Pan’s work focuses on understanding advanced functional materials, such as ceramics and biological materials, the same materials that will be studied by the IMRI. According to a UCI press release, the institute will serve as an “interdisciplinary nexus” for the study and development of these functional materials.
Pan has received several awards for his studies, including the National Science Foundation’s Faculty Early Career Development (CAREER) Award and the Chinese NSF’s Outstanding Young Investigator Award. Pan has published more than 250 peer-reviewed scientific papers in scientific journals such as Nature, Science and Nature Materials; his studies have been cited more than 7,000 times.
Dean of the School of Physical Sciences Kenneth C. Janda commented, “We’re pleased to have Professor Pan join us during this exciting time for UC Irvine’s materials science program. The establishment of this interdisciplinary institute is a milestone, and we look forward to exploring novel techniques for electron microscopy.”