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Up Front May 2004: Volume 1, Number 2
   

A Farewell from the Vice Chancellor of External Relations

Before I leave to accept new duties at Georgetown University, allow me one last reflection of UCSD and one last request of you.

I have wondered the extent to which the character of UCSD was shaped by the times in which it was born and, in particular, by the idealism expressed in the early days of the Kennedy’s administration. Indeed, many UCSD alumni seem to have taken up Kennedy’s call for service at the local, national, or international level. For many years, for instance, UCSD has been one of the largest “feeder schools” for the Peace Corps.

As the University begins to traverse the 21st century, there is a clear and compelling need for a “new generation” of alumni to assume a greater role in guiding their alma mater. The majority of volunteers who have assisted the University in its first 40 years were graduates of other institutions who recognized the importance of this upstart start-up on La Jolla’s abundant shore. They gave of their time and treasure and, with every passing decade, made the value of a UCSD education ever greater than the cost. Many accepted the role of place keepers. They took the reins of volunteer leadership until such time as our alumni were “of age” to replace them.

The time is now. There are many ways to be involved: through your local Alumni Association chapter, by re-engaging with your college, department or school; by sitting on one of our volunteer boards or just by asking probing questions so the administration knows that discerning alumni care about the direction of their alma mater; by returning to campus for a visit or to attend an event, or by attending events that we bring to you; by helping a prospective student acclimate to campus or by helping a graduating senior decide on a career or find that all-important first job; by giving your time, talent or money. It is clear that you have accomplished a great deal since you left UCSD; we would like to benefit from all you’ve learned.

It is true: great centers of learning do more than teach their students; they learn from their alumni. They help their students navigate the world they are about to inherit and hope their alumni will help guide the University toward the opportunities they have discovered.

It is, of course, in your self-interest to help your alma mater because, as we achieve even more, the value of your degree increases. And, yet, I hope you become more involved and supportive because, to paraphrase Kennedy, the energy, the faith, the devotion that we bring to this endeavor will light our extended campus community and all who serve it. I ask you to come back, to ask how you can make a difference. Thank you for the honor of representing your alma mater for the past seven and half years.

Jim Langley
Vice Chancellor for External Relations

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