23 posts categorized "UC Irvine"

March 17, 2009


Check out this photo. It is one we took last night before we started the Board of Directors' meeting for the UCI Alumni Association. We were having great fun all displaying our anteater sign with our hands.


Immediately prior to our board meeting, we had a very special reception to honor my good friend, Dennis Nguyen for a generous gift he just bestowed to UCI to benefit graduate students in the School of Humanities. (From left to right: Vice Chancellor Tom Mitchell, Dean Vicki Ruiz, Dennis, me, and Executive Director of the alumni association Jorge Ancona.)
After the meeting, Dennis, Jorge, fellow board member Christine and I went to hang at the campus pub.
While in the pub, I couldn't help but notice this dude next to me who had pencils in his hair!
He explained that he had just taken an exam earlier that required the use of scantrons that required the use of pencils.
Though he's an ICS major, he was moving outside his comfort zone to take the exam for a course in African American Studies that he enrolled in ... just to make sure he becomes a well-rounded student. 

Something tells me he aced it. ZOT!

March 07, 2009


This is one of the most beautiful rooms I've ever been in ... at The St. Regis in New York.

UCI 12-10-07-20

It's a scene from two years ago when I traveled to visit with UC Irvine alumni living in New York. In this room, I had great fun meeting successful alumni in all sorts of careers ... 

UCI 12-10-07-15
Later that evening, we hosted a larger reception where we met with even more Anteaters in The City. Chancellor Drake and Brenda Drake were also there to build new relationships with alumni.

UCI 12-10-07-25
It is so interesting that even though we live thousands of miles apart, a shared passion for one's alma mater can totally bond a room full of first-time acquaintances together.

UCI 12-10-07-89 UCI 12-10-07-53
Can't believe how fast time flies. Wonder what these Anteater alumni are up to now ...

February 20, 2009


One of the best things about the office is that I get to work with fellow UC Irvine alumni: Frances & Sarah.

Frances' major is from the School of Social Ecology, while Sarah's major is from the School of Humanities. (Mine is from the School of Social Sciences.) 
Frances & Sarah are amazingly skilled professionals who serve as prime examples of how well UC Irvine trains its students. And I love that our professional camaraderie is made even richer through our shared love of UC Irvine. Zot, zot, zot!

(Our hand signs are that of an anteater — UCI's official mascot. And 1965 is the year the campus was founded.)

February 04, 2009


The primary reason for my trip to San Francisco was to attend the AAUC meeting to discuss alumni-related matters with UC folks. (You may remember my talking about such matters here.) Here I am with all the presidents of the Alumni Associations of the various UC campuses.  


The meeting was held at UCSF's lovely alumni/faculty house. I can't believe my term as UCI's Alumni president is coming to a close ... my 2-year term will be over in June! 
"What will you do next?" people ask ... I'm not certain but I have some ideas that are percolating ...
After a full day of meeting with my UC colleagues, I enjoyed dining all by myself at a nice little Italian restaurant where I enjoyed good food and wine, and knit to my heart's content. The wait staff was terrific as they kept an eye on my food and worked hard not to have anything spill on my yarn!
I did feel that a few of the diners were staring at me and my yarn but I really didn't care ... life's short. You ought to be able to dine and knit once in a while, don't you think? :)

February 01, 2009


Years ago when I changed my career from social work to art magazines, I didn't realize then what I know now ... which is that the arts is in many ways ALSO a helping profession. Every day I receive letters from people from around the globe who say that the art they see in the pages of Somerset Studio has changed their lives for good.


Art helps people out of depression. Art comforts people through tragedies. Art inspires and unleashes the potential of our children. Indeed, as it was said so well in the film "Walk the Line," ART SAVES.


I'd like to thank Jeffrey Brooks and Jennifer Bobbiwash and the rest of the team at Life Through Art Foundation for this WONDERFUL award and for this BEAUTIFUL event. Thank you for working hard all year long to help actualize the foundation's NOBLE mission to securing funding for arts education opportunities for underprivileged children.

IMG_0292I'd also like to thank my incredible staff of editors, designers, photographers, and stylists as well as the large community of talented and generous artists with whom I have the privilege of working every day. I also want to thank my friends from UC Irvine and my dear friends Cynthia and Juanita who are here this evening.


And most of all my beloved Gerardo and our two children Monica and Andrew ... who are my biggest fans and my biggest source for meaning, love and inspiration. And to everyone gathered this evening, I thank you for joining hands with Life Through Arts Foundation and all like-minded people around the world who CHOOSE every day to make it new and who CHOOSE every day to exert the power of art for good.

Thank you very much.

[This speech was delivered a few hours ago in Hollywood at the Life Through Art Foundation's 5th Annual Gala event. I was humbled to be one of their honorees this year and It was a huge thrill for me to meet new friends (including the hilarious and adorable Judy Tenuta who I've been a fan of for so many years) and to make very exciting new connections as we discussed ideas to truly find ways to make a difference for the neediest among us through art.]

PS: I'll be in San Francisco for the next few days but blog posts will continue to go up every day so stay tuned. More about my trip to SF in future posts! I'm frickin' exhausted. Off to bed I go.


December 22, 2008


This past weekend, I had the pleasure of gathering with lots of good friends including CA Assemblymember Jose Solorio, UCI Chancellor Michael Drake, and Santa Ana Mayor Miguel Pulido ...


To celebrate our having raised $1,000,000 for our new Anteater exhibit at the Santa Ana Zoo! We gathered with other community leaders to officially break ground as construction will be starting right away ...


What an exciting way to end the year!


We expect to have an official ribbon cutting in June of 2009, where we will welcome a breeding pair of anteaters! In order to make this last part happen, we will be working hard to raise about $50K to actually pay for the furry creatures. Wish us luck! 

September 02, 2008


Jenny Doh

Thank you very much for having me here tonight. And for inviting me back onto the UCI campus ... I love coming back to my alma mater because part of who I am today is connected to who I was becoming while I was a student at UCI, and part of the larger UC family. And because of that connection, as UCI and the UC system continue to evolve and grow, I will always seek opportunities to give back to my UC family. But like all of us in this room, we are more than where we went to school at. We have many layers and many facets to our souls, that have been shaped by where and how we were born, how we grew up, and who we met along the way.

Indeed, I am a proud UCI alumna. But I am more than that, I am also a daughter, I am a sister, I am an editor, and I am an immigrant. At the age of seven, back in 1974, my family made the decision to leave our homeland of South Korea, to leave our friends and family, our house, our schools, our language, our way of life ... because my parents learned of a place that offered better opportunities for our family. And as a family with innate survival skills, we gravitated toward the land of opportunity as we boarded a large 747 airplane that brought us to America.

If in 1974, someone would have predicted that that 7-year-old girl would grow up to meet and fall in love with a Latino while attending UCI, hardly anyone would have believed them — least of all that little girl.

But that’s exactly what happened. I grew up to be a woman who fell in love and married a Latino — Gerardo Mouet, who is here tonight with me — and we also became proud parents to our two children, Monica and Andrew.

Though I’m sure this room is filled with similar stories of unexpected life outcomes, our continued amazement when learning of these sorts of outcomes is I think, rooted in our assuming that social borders of race, class, and gender remain for the most part, non-porous ... and that stories of people who permeate through those borders are exceptions, and not the rule. 

In fact, this year’s academy award-winning film, Crash, offered stories of people in Los Angeles who live in seemingly isolated racial units. And that the only interfacing that happens among races is through accidental, arbitrary crashes amongst random individuals of the various racial groups. The film seemed to show that as we live our lives, we do so as a protagonist in one scene and then the antagonist in another scene ... where we bounce from one scene to another, where we literally butt heads and run into each other, not quite able to mesh or integrate. For example, the African American male character in Crash steals a white couple’s car in one scene, and then sets free a van full of Asian captives in another scene. Also, the white male cop who molests the African American woman in one scene is also who saves her life in another scene.

It could be argued that scenes like these just go on and on, with characters who are no different than bouncing balls from one wall to another. But is this really the way we maneuver through life? Arbitrarily being the protagonist in one scene and the antagonist in another scene, unaffected and unchanged scene to scene?

In one of the classes that I took as an undergraduate at UCI, we read the writings of a Greek philosopher, Heraclitus, who is famous for having proclaimed that you can never step into the same river twice. This concept has always stayed with me as I also know that I am never exactly the same person from one moment to the next, as I become affected by what I learn, what I create, what I experience, and who I love. I believe that though Korean Americans may have a social perspective on the Latino community, individual members of these groups have the opportunity to permeate social borders, to dialogue meaningfully, and sometimes, to fall in love deeply. Individual members have the opportunity to become changed and therefore to change the constitution of the rivers that they represent.

So then if we, like rivers can become changed, I believe that we can move from scene to scene not randomly, but with increased enlightenment and stronger resolve to become better, to relate better, to develop better policies, to elect better leaders, and to deliberately live better lives.

Last week, I had the pleasure of accompanying my daughter and her fourth grade class to a trip to Sacramento. There, we visited the Capitol, met with legislators, and took tours that helped us discover the amazing history of California. One of the museums that we went to was all about the construction of the intercontinental railroad system. The docents explained that in order to complete the construction of this amazing transportation system, thousands of Chinese immigrants entered the United States to build, in exchange for wages much lower than wages given to non-Chinese workers. The museum displayed a large historical photo that was taken in the 1800s to celebrate the completion of the railroad system, where after much sweat and tears, the Union Pacific and Central Pacific lines finally came together. Though this accomplishment was largely made possible through the contributions of the Chinese workers, not one Chinese worker was invited or allowed to be in that photograph. History could argue, based on this photo, that the Chinese immigrants were irrelevant to the building of our nation’s intercontinental railroad system.

Let’s fast forward to the 21st Century, where unexpected outcomes are all around us. Where a Korean girl falls in love with a Latino, where an African American Chancellor leads a top-tier UC campus in Orange County. Where an African American woman serves as chief counsel on international affairs to the President of the United States. Where an Irish rock singer partners with world leaders to help eradicate world hunger. Where a Latino immigrant grows up to manage a national baseball league.

Simultaneous to these amazing unexpected life stories in this 21st Century, there are many people in Latin American countries who continue to make the same choice that my parents made for our family back in the 1970s ... to leave behind their homelands and use their survival skills to gravitate toward better jobs and better living conditions by traveling to America.

Modern photos are frequently taken of American hotels, restaurants, farms, and other businesses, and even if Latino immigrants are not included in celebratory photos, none of us could deny that the success of these American businesses and industries is made possible in large part through the contributions of Latino immigrants.

Our modern-day polarized dialogue on immigration remains contentious and cyclical because the core issue won’t go away. The core issue that we face in the 21st century is not so different from what we faced in the 19th century. Because in America, railroads need to be built, produce needs to be picked, hotels need to be maintained ... in America, it’s always been true. In order to remain globally competitive, there’s a lot of work to get done. And that work needs to get done efficiently, quickly, and cost effectively.

Perhaps our dialogue for reaching conclusions to the complex issue of immigration ought to recognize America’s continued need for immigrants’ contributions, but also recognize that the way we compete internationally contributes to sustain conditions in lands where families’ survival instincts cause them to gravitate away from their homelands. 

One thing I know to be true is that borders, whether they’re constructed of concrete or prejudices, are not solid. They’re porous. Because our natural instincts as humans is to gravitate toward opportunities for survival and success. To deny this instinct is to delay the true dialogue that needs to happen. A dialogue where we can examine and improve the dynamics that can help strengthen international economies and living conditions, and one where we can also continue to build upon our great nation through the contributions of many people, including our immigrants.

Another thing that I experienced to be true when I was a student at UCI, is that the lines that separate students from faculty and the administration are also porous. And when challenging issues ever face the UC system, its most shining hour is when students, faculty and administration are able to travel beyond those porous lines, to respect one another’s instincts for survival, and to collectively reach decisions through meaningful dialogue.

UCSA is one of the most instrumental vehicles that I know of, that can help facilitate opportunities for positive change on UC campuses ... where students can come to the table with faculty, administration and legislative bodies and speak not in the margins but on the main pages regarding a whole host of issues relevant to Californians like student fees, fair access to higher education, domestic partnership, and collective bargaining options for the graduate student community.

Are we as representatives of our cultures, our student communities, our alumni communities, and other groups that we belong to, only able to crash into each other from scene to scene where we play arbitrary roles of saints or sinners? Or are we able to (like water, and like a river), permeate through lines, and walls and prejudices to affect and become affected with those around us? I believe that as long as opportunities to become changed exist, it is our responsibility to find ways to create those opportunities for positive change for all of us, but especially for younger minds, including our Monicas and our Andrews.

Thank you to all the students, staff, faculty and leaders of UCSA for your continued resolve, year after year, to create opportunities for positive change for the University of California. 

[Per the invitation of the University of California Student Association, it was my pleasure to deliver this keynote address on April 8, 2006, at their annual conference.]

August 29, 2008


On August 29, 1923, Jack Peltason was born. 

He served as UC Irvine's 2nd Chancellor from 1984 until 1992. He was MY Chancellor. He then served as President of the entire UC system from 1992 to 1995. If you ever drive near the campus, you'll probably run into Peltason Drive ... a street named after Jack. He is an incredible person — a courageous maverick within the higher educational arena — who I am blessed to have as a friend and mentor.

Here is one of my favorite photos with me, Monica and Andrew visiting with Jack, his amazing wife Suzie, daughter Jill, and granddaughter Gracie.
Peltason 5 062704
I, like the MULTITUDE of people whose lives he has made an impact on over the years, LOVE Jack. 

August 24, 2008


Last night, Gerardo and I attended ZOOFARI — the annual gala event to support the Santa Ana Zoo. It was a blast.


The theme was "Carousel," to help celebrate the installation of a really terrific carousel ride that will be part of the zoo. The carousel will include a Giant Anteater ... in anticipation of the live pair of REAL Giant Anteaters that will be joining the zoo next year.
It's the cutest thing ever.
More details to come as we break ground and cut ribbons next year to welcome the Giant Anteaters to the zoo!

August 23, 2008



Chances are that if you were born in the ’70s or ’80s, which most of you were, the messages you’ve been hearing throughout your lives go something like this:

            #1. You can become anything YOU want to be.

            #2. Follow YOUR dreams.

            #3. Believe in YOURself.

            You. You. You.

Although these messages have SOME merit, they are, I believe, INCOMPLETE. Because in reality, in order to become what you WANT to be, you’ve got to want what you are MEANT to be. In order to follow one dream, another dream may need to be put on hold or sacrificed altogether. And if truth be told, even if you have the kind of high self-esteem that your parents and mentors have tried to instill in you with the message INDIVIDUALISM and BELIEF IN SELF, you will STILL experience challenges, failures, and disappointments. BECAUSE IT'S NOT JUST ABOUT YOU. It’s ALSO about your co-workers, your boss, your family, your community — all with complex facets and deep-rooted history. And chances are, when you experience failures, YOU WILL NEED the support of those around you to overcome, to move forward. Because if there’s anything that WE SOCIAL SCIENTISTS should understand, is that we are NOT islands unto ourselves. We ARE, because we ARE TOGETHER.

For those of you who saw this year’s Academy award-winning film, Crash, you will recall being introduced to a set of characters who were living as though they WERE islands unto themselves ... where they lived in isolation with no REAL connectedness nor the ability influence one another. The film made me wonder whether in fact our interactions with each other are nothing more than completely INSIGNIFICANT accidents. Because if so, wouldn’t we be justified in CHAMPIONING individualism, where we tended ONLY to ourselves, only to our own edifice, lest all other needs and structures crash and falter?

If this is where the film had ended, its message could help defend a life ethic that fuels FIGHTS and FLIGHTS, but not the ability to FOCUS and tenaciously figure out ways to STAND BACK UP and dust ourselves off from the falls, to tend to the healing of others’ wounds, and learn and implement ideas to prevent falls from happening in the future.

In my current professional role in the publishing world, I’ve unfortunately encountered MANY young professionals who when faced with a conflict, or a nasty fall, believe that their only options are to FIGHT or FLY. This is particularly a shame for those professionals who I KNOW ARE MEANT TO BE in the world of publishing.

One young professional not too long ago explained to me that in response to the challenges of certain work projects, that she would be calling it quits and giving her two weeks’ notice. She further explained that she was interested in finding a work environment where she could build what she called, AN EDIFICE OF HER OWN. In other words, an island where she could be what SHE wanted to be, where she could follow HER dreams, and where she could believe in HERself.

But as the characters in the film Crash eventually demonstrate, we DON'T live on islands. The interactions that we have with each other — in the work place, at family gatherings, within political movements, and at social outings — those interactions do connect us, and they influence the processes that eventually LEAD to the building of programs, policies, publications, companies, and important bodies of knowledge ... EDIFICES can be dreamed up by ANYONE, but they RARELY become built by a SINGLE ONE. Because it’s ALWAYS been about more than just you or just me.

One of my all-time favorite books is The Little Prince, a short book for children and adults authored in 1943 by a French pilot and writer, Antoine de Saint-Exupery. In the story, The Little Prince has toiled for what seems to be an ETERNITY, to cultivate the life of a rose on his small planet. And because of this long-term relationship with TENDING to the rose by pulling out unwanted weeds, exposing it to proper elements like the sun and water, and protecting it from inclement weather, he is INTIMATE with the challenges that this rose has gone through, and in RETURN, the rose is intimately aware of The Little Prince’s character. They have TAMED each other, they have developed TIES with one another, they have allowed themselves to be affected by each other. Their INDIVIDUALITY has become actualized THROUGH A RELATIONSHIP.

But one day, the Little Prince decides to leave behind his small planet and his beloved rose to search for something more — perhaps something better — perhaps something more GRAND that he can discover ALL BY HIMSELF. Immediately, his journey brings him face to face with a whole host of new characters. But no new character satisfies The Little Prince’s search so he continues on his journey, in hopes to find what he is looking for. There is eventually a sense of desperation that The Little Prince feels ... much like the desperation that the characters in Crash were feeling ... a sense of hopelessness where isolated units endlessly and arbitrarily crash into one another, without EVER becoming tamed or ever becoming special.

In the middle of his journey, The Little Prince meets the fox who states to him that “it is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eyes.” It is through the fox’s insight that The Little Prince learns that it’s EASY to encounter a multitude of new things ... it’s easy to FIGHT ... it’s easy FLY ... but it’s difficult to make one thing special, meaningful, and impactful. He learns that meaning doesn’t exist without a relationship. A planet, an edifice, a career, a family, ... they become built when we are ready to STOP FIGHTING, TO STOP FLYING, AND START FOCUSING.

When we look at those who have accomplished great things, we could mistakenly believe that BELIEF IN SELF is what it took for such accomplishments to be achieved. But I invite you to consider the accomplishments of the MANY leaders who are standing before you today —  like Provost Gottfredson, like Vice Chancellor Gomez, like Dean Dosher, and like UCI student leader Vanessa Zuabe. Though you may believe that edifices such as the UCI campus, the School of Social Sciences, or important student organizations were built solely through these individuals’ dreams and efforts alone, I am certain that they would be the FIRST to tell you that they are ONE OF MANY who have contributed to these structures ... structures that will continue to evolve LONG AFTER their contributions have been made.           

Provost Gottfredson, Vice Chancellor Gomez, Dean Dosher, Vanessa, and many of us here today realize what the fox helped The Little Prince to eventually realize ... which is that our work becomes special, influential, and meaningful only when we dare to put our hearts into it, to dirty our hands as we toil over it, and to care for it, ESPECIALLY when it becomes difficult. If we build it CORRECTLY, the results of our work will belong to no SINGLE one of us, and therefore to ALL OF US.

For all that you have TOILED OVER and FOCUSED ON for the past several years, to FINALLY reach this day ... the day that marks the completion of your contributions and achievements, I proudly and happily join your fellow students, faculty, staff, and family in honoring and cheering you on — the graduating class of 2006. Congratulations.

[Per the invitation of UC Irvine, on June 17, 2006, I was honored to deliver this commencement address to the 2006 graduating class of UCI’s School of Social Sciences.]

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