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June 10, 2009


PASSING THE GAVEL


When I started my journey as President of the UCI Alumni Association, my goals were two-fold: 
1 To strengthen our Board of Directors by recruiting volunteers with immense talent, energy, focus and stature, and
2 To strengthen alumni voice by seeking opportunities to increase the visibility of our Board, our Association, our community.

 

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I'm very proud of what we've been able to accomplish over the past two years. 
  • Through the support of Past President Martha Newkirk, UCIAA hosted a reception where for the first time ever, the Chair of the UCI Foundation, the Chair of UCI's CEO Roundtable, and the UCIAA Board of Directors gathered together to break bread and engage with one another.
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  • Through the support of volunteers and staff, the UCIAA has attracted board members who are strong leaders within the community, representing a wide and varied spectrum of talent and influence, including one of our newest board members, Dennis Nguyen, who has provided a most generous gift to benefit the students within the School of Humanities. 
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  • Through the support of UCI alumni leaders including California State Assembly Member Jose Solorio and former Santa Ana Council Member Mike Garcia, the first breeding pair of Giant Anteaters to inhabit Orange County have arrived at the Santa Ana Zoo, with the male anteater patiently awaiting the possibility of being named Peter.  
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  • And most recently, as we have had some difficult weeks related to alumni engagement matters with campus leadership, the alumni community has rallied with support from key members of the faculty to make the case that alumni engagement and traditions related to alumni are an integral part of UCI's long-term success.  
Times are tough. But if there's one thing I know to be true, Anteaters are tough. And as we move forward to courageously address matters that are challenging, I choose to do so with a focus on the power of alumni. We are 112,000-strong and growing. We are successful. We are constant. We will never go away.
Boy anteater
The past several weeks have been extremely difficult for all of us. But what has transpired during this difficult time will hopefully benefit our campus to eventually help us find a path that is properly illuminated with focus, commitment and authenticity in terms of alumni relations.

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Alumni have much to celebrate and be proud of. I look forward to many more years of volunteer service for my beloved alma mater ... a campus where its outstanding faculty taught me to think critically, care deeply, and speak courageously and truthfully to power.
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[This speech was delivered at the 2009 UCIAA Annual Meeting on June 9, 2009. Fiat lux.] 

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Comments

Jenny,
Thank you for your outstanding work as President of UCIAA. You have served with intelligence and have always put the shared interests of the alumni and UCI first. I strongly support your recent initiatives to improve the insufficient responsiveness of UCI's top leaders to the alumni and their programs. I hope the UCIAA Board will continue to work actively on this goal as well as other initiatives to strengthen the links between our alumni and the campus.
Jim Danziger, Research Professor of Political Science, UCI and greatly honored as the 2009 Extraordinarius Award recipient

Your middle name is excellence.
When I was a young thing living in Washington, D.C., I worked for a year at.....the American Alumni Association. It seemed fitting to mention it here.

:-)

Blogs are so informative where we get lots of information on any topic. Nice job keep it up!!

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