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Giving Update May 2007: Volume 4, Number 2

Enhancing Campus Climate and Diversity at UC San Diego
By Jade Griffin, ERC '03

Ana Baíz-Torres grew up in the tiny central California town of Selma, the youngest child of a struggling farming family. Following the advice of her father, who told her that higher education was the only way to escape a future in field labor, Ana overcame many obstacles to earn an undergraduate degree in social science from UC Berkeley. She went on to become a fellow at the Woodrow Wilson School of Public Policy and International and Public Affairs at Princeton, and earned a Master's degree from the University of Michigan.

Recently, Baíz-Torres was named director of development for Diversity Initiatives at UC San Diego, bringing her unique perspective to the campus. In recent months, UC San Diego has made steady progress in instituting programs and policies that will enhance campus climate and welcome a diverse community.

Baíz-Torres' responsibilities include securing charitable support for initiatives that are part of the UC San Diego Administrative Commitments to Improve Campus Climate. Efforts include supporting student-led yield activities; funding academic minors in Chicano and African- American studies; and supporting Summer Bridge, a nationally recognized transition program designed to acclimate high-achieving students from economically disadvantaged backgrounds—many of whom will be the first in their families to attend college—to university life.
Other recent initiatives focused on the need for more support for women and minority students at UC San Diego include the Chancellor's Postdoctoral Fellowship Program for Academic Diversity, which was established to offer postdoctoral research fellowships and faculty mentoring to qualified scholars whose research, teaching and service will shape and expand the campus diversity initiatives.

In addition, the Black Alumni Scholarship Fund raised $41,000 for an endowment administered by The San Diego Foundation. The new funds were received from The James Irvine Foundation, the Dr. Floyd Gaffney Fund and the San Diego Alpha Pi Boulé Foundation. Proceeds from the endowment are distributed annually to African-American students at UC San Diego.

"It is an exciting time to be at the University," said Baíz-Torres. "Our leadership has made a strong commitment to transform our campus environment to ensure excellence in education by valuing diversity at all levels. I am thrilled to be working with wonderful alumni and donors who want to be part of this profound institutional change as UC San Diego enters our next 50 years."

For more information on UC San Diego's campus climate initiative, please visit campusclimate.ucsd.edu/actions.

Fostering Tomorrow's Artists Today
UC San Diego's Theatre and Dance Department has been considered among the nation's top three theatre programs for more than a decade. A key element of the program is the open access that students have to participate in one of the approximately dozen shows each quarter that are produced by the department. The actors, designers and directors have gone on to star on Broadway and win Tony Awards, and work in movies and television, but all admit that it was the quality of UC San Diego productions that helped launch their careers.

Since 1994, the Mandell Weiss Fund has supported half the department's student production budget. In a few short years, that funding will be depleted and student production offerings will be significantly reduced if new funding sources aren't identified. You can help us maintain these opportunities for today's students by participating in the upcoming campaign. Please contact Frank Teplin, '99, at fteplin@ucsd.edu to learn more.