Inauguration of Chancellor M.R.C. Greenwood
Friday, May 23, 1997
Chancellor Greenwood's Prepared Remarks
(actual comments may vary slightly)
UC SANTA CRUZ: FROM FIRST LIGHT TO BRIGHT FUTURE
Thank you Regent del Junco, President Atkinson, and all those who brought such gracious and heartfelt greetings. And my special thanks to each of you for joining us today as we celebrate UC Santa Cruz.
Before I begin my formal remarks, I also want to express my warm gratitude to the Inauguration Planning and Implementation Committees, those faculty, staff, students, alumni, and community members whose planning, organizational prowess, and sheer stamina have resulted in these inaugural festivities. In addition, I greatly appreciate the privilege of hearing musical fanfares composed for the occasion--and the fact that these compositions are the work of a UCSC faculty member and a graduating student enhances my pride.
And I must express my appreciation for a few others who are here today, in person or in fond memory. I would not be here today if it were not for my teachers and mentors. I'm thinking of my high school science teacher Miss Simmons, my Vassar professors, especially Margaret Wright and Elbert Tokay, and my graduate mentor Jules Hirsch who is on the platform today...and Ted Hullar who brought me to the UC system via a position at UC Davis...from which many of my friends and colleagues have journeyed to join us today.
I also might not have enjoyed the reputation that contributed to my consideration for appointment as chancellor at this exceptional institution, if it had not been for the dedicated and productive work of my graduate students, undergraduate students, and postdoctoral fellows--they made every day worthwhile! There are too many to mention them all, but I am particularly proud to say that several of them are here today, wearing the robes of their own academic institutions...including my colleagues Ruth Kava and David West.
Most importantly, I am grateful to my family--my son, daughter-in-law, granddaughter, my sisters and their families--and my many very dear friends. They have given me sustaining support and strength and limitless patience--and I could not hope to manage without their love.
The time to adjourn to a less formal setting to complete our celebration is near. Glancing at my watch, I am reminded of the adage: "In order for a speech to be immortal, it need not be eternal." So, enough thanks--which truly are endless...
I am grateful, and I am very proud to have the great honor of serving as the seventh chancellor of UC Santa Cruz. As I approached this day, it made me reflect on the past and excited me for the future. Let me share some of these thoughts with you.
Fiat Lux! Let there be light!
With this motto, in the last quarter of the 19th century, in a language many students today do not recognize, the greatest public university in the world was created.
On the 98th anniversary of the founding of the University of California, one of it's last children was born. The University of California, Santa Cruz, was conceived as an experimental campus, a new model. It was seen as the result of the union of the exceptional humanizing experiences and interaction found in small liberal arts colleges and the college-based structure of universities such as Oxford and Yale, with the intensity and breadth of a comprehensive research university. Even with uncommon attention to undergraduate education, the new campus was planned to offer, in time, a full complement of professional schools.
Only 30 years have passed, with progressive implementation of the original concept. Nonetheless, a remarkable legend has evolved.
When UC Santa Cruz was born, it was an era of national turmoil, a time whose motto was "Question Authority," and the fervor of the counterculture movement was at its peak. Like the young adults of the 60s, who now people the UC Santa Cruz faculty and its administration and who are the parents or grandparents of our undergraduate students today, UC Santa Cruz was irreverent, skeptical, unafraid of new ideas and more than occasionally chaotic in appearance to the outside world. Now, like our remarkable alumni of those founding years, UC Santa Cruz has grown to be a source of great pride for the founders and for the community.
By deliberate intent, UC Santa Cruz always has fostered an unusual creativity, as the achievements of our faculty, staff, and students give testimony. Examples abound. Among our alumni, we count astronauts, who step literally into the unknown with audacious confidence. You just heard Kathy Sullivan speak, and there is Astronaut Steven Hawley, who recently walked in space to adjust the Hubble Telescope, itself a work of genius to which UC Santa Cruz faculty contributed significantly. We see that characteristic leading-edge intellect also in contemporary chroniclers, such as Pulitzer prize winners Laurie Garrett, who brilliantly focused our attention on the coming plagues, and photographer Annie Wells, who visually captured the drama of a natural disaster. As I travel throughout the state and across the nation, I meet teachers, doctors, lawyers, merchants, corporate leaders, parents and politicians who make a difference in their communities and in the lives of others. As individuals they are remarkably different, but they speak of their UC Santa Cruz experience with a common passion.
Our faculty too, are bold and inquisitive. By deliberate intent, our scientists concentrate much of their efforts on the true frontiers of contemporary science--the universe, the oceans, the environment, new materials, and the most fundamental work in the understanding of our genes and our very being. Our humanists have led the way in serious interdisciplinary work with internationally known programs, such as those in women's studies, the history of human consciousness, literature, philosophy, and linguistics. Our performing and visual artists are renowned for their experimentation with global methods and themes. Their achievement attracts international notice and results in the gift of archives of great artists, such as the composer/musician Lou Harrison. Our social scientists cultivate a broad perspective, addressing some of the most tenacious problems facing society today, like international monetary issues, education, conflict resolution, new methods of agriculture, health and welfare reform and the contemporary understanding of primates and their relationship to Homo sapiens.
To augment this array of talent, we now approach the 21st century with an unparalleled opportunity to build the first University of California engineering school of this new century! Once again UC Santa Cruz has a chance to demonstrate its intrepid spirit.
The "Santa Cruz experiment" has proven resilient, and our campus is one of the few successfully established research universities of the post-World War II era. UC Santa Cruz now is recognized as one of the rising challengers in the nation, recently ranked overall as number 15 among U.S. public research universities. We are often the only public research university mentioned in popular surveys for excellence in undergraduate teaching.
Fiat Lux! Let there be light! Fiat Flux! Let there be change! Is UC Santa Cruz the same as 30 years ago? Certainly not! What 30-year-old is unchanged? Institutions, like individuals, grow, adapt, and are shaped by the circumstances in which they find themselves. Yes, we must strive always to honor our roots, but we must also ensure that we do not become root bound. Rather, we must remain at once adaptable and resilient.
It is frequently asserted that the university is our faculty, and it is true that much of the perceived quality of a university is a direct reflection of the luster of faculty accomplishments. However, as faculty our common purpose is to inspire and educate the future leaders of the state and the nation. We do this by sharing knowledge and by creating knowledge. It is this community of educators and learners that closely approximates the original definition of our Latin root universitas, which means "whole" or "body."
In addition to the pursuit and creation of knowledge, the daily work of the university mirrors that of any large enterprise. We feed thousands of people, transport as many, pay our employees and our vendors. We design, build, maintain, counsel, schedule, organize, and communicate. And we safeguard this most lovely of the nation's campuses. It is our devoted staff who in a very real way are the infrastructure that makes it possible for our professors to teach and create and for our students to learn.
The UC Santa Cruz enterprise is synergistic, and the results of our efforts are greater than the individual parts. In the language of a logician, faculty, staff, and students are necessary for the university to exist, but individually, they are not sufficient.
Fiat Lux! Fiat Flux!! Change is no more evident than in circumstances and experiences of our students. For example, compared to the entering students in the '60s, today's UC Santa Cruz students are from the most diverse population in California's history, and many of them face increasingly difficult financial circumstances. The average student leaves college substantially in debt and has worked on average many more hours than her or his counterpart only two or three decades ago. Sadly, the most frequent reason students leave the university is not lack of motivation or lack of ability, but financial need.
And yet, our students do a stunning amount of volunteer work, on campus and in the greater community. At a recent United Way event, I was told that there was not a single volunteer organization in Santa Cruz County that could operate at its present level without the volunteer time that UC Santa Cruz students contribute.
This willingness to serve also is manifest in the fact that UC Santa Cruz, one of the smallest of the UC campuses, also has the greatest numbers of students entering the Peace Corps. A propensity for wide horizons also is evident by the fact that we are the UC campus with the largest percentage of students who study abroad.
And so, the legend of UC Santa Cruz becomes the legacy for the future. UC Santa Cruz is no dream, it is no myth, it is no longer an experiment. Seasoned and matured, UC Santa Cruz now gazes through the portal to a new century, a period in which we will expand the fruitful partnerships that will link us, both within and without, in ways that will only enhance our strengths.
By now, you may have accurately concluded that I am an optimist. But let me caution that I do not believe that the road ahead has no hazards. Not at all. Like most contemporary traditional institutions, UC Santa Cruz, or for that matter the entire University of California, has its challengers and its critics. We must work together to strengthen the public trust and to ensure that the greatest public research university in the world is not diminished by innuendo or inadequate understanding of our true contributions.
One of our continuing challenges will continue to be the erosion of state and federal support. We no longer can define ourselves as a state-supported university; now we are state-assisted universities--and, unless there is change, soon we may be forced to call ourselves state-located universities.
I hope this worst case remains a laughable notion, but to sustain ourselves we must boldly develop new resources and favorable partnerships.
The nation has long had a "compact" with our research universities to produce new knowledge, products, and processes, and thus our faculty are held to high standards of competitive scholarship. Today, their fundamental work is considered the cornerstone of the 21st century economic development and global competitiveness. For UC Santa Cruz, this role will not diminish. In fact, to it will be added responsibilities for generating the scholarship that will foster environmental security, personal security, conflict resolution, and the development of new common values.
In addition, UC Santa Cruz must continue to be a good citizen, to share our resources with our communities and to demonstrate the model of the 21st century "knowledge and creativity center."
Although I have been here a mere 10 months and 23 days, I can clearly see that UC Santa Cruz is the right institution in the right place for the next century. Some have called the period ahead the "age of creativity" or the "age of imagination." For us to capitalize on this new renaissance, this new age of enlightenment, we will have to use our collective wits and reach across disciplinary boundaries. We will have to be pioneers, pushing to new frontiers, reinterpreting the past, and reinventing the future. Fortunately, creative energy abounds here!
As a simple example: It is plain, right now at UC Santa Cruz, that the faculty of the arts and the engineering sciences together are seizing an unprecedented opportunity to combine the tools of engineers and scientists with the fresh images and sounds of artists to ignite the imagination of the coming generation--and the multimedia field will only grow!
UC Santa Cruz is leading the way. We can, however, do even more--and we will. We'll begin with the establishment of the campus's Millennium Committee. This visionary group will work next year to distill our essence, to provide the best advice for our future directions, and to define the standards by which we and others will measure our success. The committee's process will be inclusive and will gather input not only from our own faculty, students, staff, and partners but will also look outward and listen carefully to a variety of sages, critics, and provocateurs.
Moreover, we will strengthen the best aspects of our undergraduate education, examine the problems and solidify our position as the best research university in the country in which to gain a baccalaureate degree. At the same time, we will continue to develop an array of distinctive graduate and professional programs and research centers that typify the rich new intellectual opportunities of the impending century.
Let us begin today by reaffirming our shared basic principles, our root values.
First, we must always be a place where the irreverent can thrive, where creative ideas can play, where the canons are challenged, and where the controversial is openly discussed without rancor.
Second, we must maintain and model civility and mutual respect. It is not possible to have the first without the last. We cannot be controversial and uncivil at the same time, if we truly strive for enlightenment.
Third, we must maintain our personal and institutional integrity and honesty. We must agree to trust each other--and we must deserve that trust.
In brief, we must seek first to understand and then to be understood. This behavior is the hallmark of the best professors and also of the best students--and it is the sign of the best leaders.
By reaffirming these root values, we state clearly that we are now as we began, a beacon of light shining into the next century. We reaffirm our institution, UC Santa Cruz. We understand that education is our mission but the foundation of an education is knowledge. To be a great university is to both create knowledge and to transmit and preserve this knowledge.
For our students and our partners, knowledge is power.
Not knowledge to be used to control or intimidate, but knowledge that liberates the spirit and the mind...knowledge that leads us out of the darkness and into the full light of wisdom and understanding... knowledge that leads to personal fulfillment and an enlightened society.
This is the true definition of our motto. FIAT LUX. In more contemporary languages, in English, LET THERE BE LIGHT; in Spanish, SEA HECHA LA LUZ; in Russian, DA BUDYET SVYET.
Let there be light. Let us enlighten. Let us ensure that our light is never hidden or extinguished. And now, my colleagues and friends, I pledge to you that I will do my very best to enable UC Santa Cruz to move successfully and creatively into the 21st century, and I ask for your help and support.
To the Currents home page
To UCSC's home page