UCI formally inaugurated Dr. Howard Gillman as its sixth chancellor last Tuesday. The investiture marked the official initiation of the chancellor into office.
He became interim chancellor last July and then became chancellor two months later in September.
“Today’s ceremony marks an important transition for the university. For the sixth time in its history, we have a new leader. New leadership inspires new ways of thinking about our future, new directions in research and teaching and new aspirations for further greatness as a university,” said William R. Molzon, chair of the Academic Senate.
“I’m quite certain that under Howard Gillman’s leadership, all that the campus has achieved is but a prelude to its future accomplishments,” said Frederick Ruiz, vice chairman of the UC Board of Regents.
The Platform Party on stage to support the Chancellor included Bruce R. Hallett, president of the UCI Alumni Association, UCI vice chancellors, deans, officers and fellow chancellors as well as UC regents.
Chancellor Gillman, the first of his family to attend college, received his bachelor’s, master’s and doctoral degrees at UCLA. He was a professor at USC before serving as dean of the USC Dornsife College of Letters, Arts and Sciences for five years.
During his inaugural address, the Chancellor addressed specific goals he had for the university. He expressed confidence in UCI’s future, despite the fact that the “rapidly changing landscape of higher education is a reason for caution, a time to retrench or put bolder ambitions on hold.”
Gillman explained that UCI’s future boils down to three words: innovation, expansion, partnership.
He said that in order for new innovations to thrive, there needs to be a way “that faculty members from these converging fields can work together in a more focused and systematic way.” In order to do this, he proposed a plan for building a new Convergence of Science and Engineering Building.
To further innovation, the chancellor expressed investing in health and medicine, in order “to create the next generation of clinical interventions that will transform the way we keep people healthy.”
His next point was about expanding the campus student body through the use of online courses and increasing the funding for research from $300 million to $500 million per year.
The online courses, he expressed, can become a viable form for increasing the student body and giving students more opportunities to complete their degrees.
Future goals include a new Office of Global Engagement for partnerships with Pacific Rim institutions, a strengthened Alumni program for new connections in the non-profit community and an expansion of the advisory boards for the universities centers and institutes.
“As we proceed we will keep in mind that our plans must be true to our pioneering spirit, meet the expectations of the people of California,” he said.
In celebration of the inauguration, there were Illuminations Dance and Illuminations Spoken Word prelude to the ceremony, performed by UCI students and a performance of the Prelude to the Afternoon of a Faun by the UCI Symphony and conducted by Dr. Stephen Tucker.
The Chancellor’s optimism, however, was not shared nor celebrated by the entire campus. During his investiture, the Black Student Union held a protest over their previous demands that were on fully met. The BSU had made demands back in January over the lack of support for black students and faculty on campus. Their demands for an outreach center have yet been implemented.
Following the ceremony, a reception was planned but cancelled last minute due to BSU’s demonstration, which lasted till 4:45 p.m. The audience had to be led out through the back entrances.