UCR Advocates Tell Lawmakers the Campus is Living the California Dream

UC Riverside graduates, staff and students make the case for more attention on higher education

Chancellor Kim A. Wilcox meeting with two proud UCR alumni who are serving in the legislature: Speaker Anthony Rendon (Ph.D. ’00) and Assemblymember Jose Medina (’74, M.A. ’84).

UC Riverside alumni, students and administrators took Sacramento by storm on April 13 and 14 at UCR Day in Sacramento, an annual advocacy event that gives lawmakers the evidence they need to make good public policy.

UCR alumni, including former California Teachers Association President Barbara Kerr (’68), met morning and afternoon with lawmakers representing Inland Southern California, to help them understand UC Riverside’s impact on California.

“I was the first in my family to attend college,” said Kerr, a member of the UCR Alumni Board of Directors. “As a former teacher, I met so many talented young students who deserve the same opportunities I had.”

Some of the UCR advocates who visited Sacramento last week.

UCR alumni volunteers at the State Capitol in Sacramento, advocating for state support to keep UC accessible and affordable. From left, Turner Stanton (’17), Daniel Kim (’89), Dave Cunningham (’62), Barbara Kerr (68), Dean Murakami Ph.D. (’82), Melody Tate (’82, M.A. ’84), Kerry Hasa (’90) and Chuck Cole (’70).

Seventeen UCR volunteer advocates met with 28 state legislators and their staffs over the two days to advocate for additional funding for the University of California to keep college affordable and increase California resident enrollment. They emphasized the service to California, UCR’s profile of serving 97 percent California residents, many low-income and first generation college students, and the long term economic benefits of public university research.

“To me, it is all about the future. Investing in public education – pre-K through college – prepares the next-generation of doctors, teachers, entrepreneurs, scientists, engineers and leaders who energize our economy and make our communities better,” Kerr said.

“Today, the University stands ready and raring to move forward,” said UC President Janet Napolitano. “The research we are undertaking to combat climate change, transform the health sciences, and expand California’s economic activity are just a few of the major endeavors UC is driving in this state, and on behalf of all Californians. And again, UC research does not just create new knowledge about these issues. It also solves them.”

The current president of UCR’s Alumni Association, Daniel Kim (’89), a physician, said it was satisfying to bring the message to lawmakers. “UC is the best public university system in the world and we should be proud of its successes,” he said. “UC provides so much innovation, jobs, research and talented workers to California.”

The effort to reach lawmakers is ongoing. Advocates receive updates about the state budget and important legislative issues that may impact the UC. Volunteers pay their own way to Sacramento.

“Thanks to our advocates and policymakers working together, the dream of a college education is alive for thousands of families and students,” said Angel Rodriguez, who works in UCR’s Office of Governmental and Community Relations. “We encourage every Highlander to get involved and help make a difference.”

Tony Yang (’03, PhD. ’10), Stan Weisner (’67) and Alex Cortez (’02, M.S. ’09) in Sacramento

Tony Yang (’03, PhD. ’10), Stan Weisner (’67) and Alex Cortez (’02, M.S. ’09) in Sacramento

UCR Day in Sacramento 2016 Volunteer Advocates

  • Chuck Cole ‘70
  • Alex Cortez ’02, M.S. ‘09
  • Dave Cunningham ‘62
  • Anne DeWolfe T.C. ‘62
  • Bill DeWolfe ‘58
  • Kerry Hasa ‘90
  • Barbara Kerr ‘68
  • Daniel Kim’89, President, UCR Alumni Association
  • Lewis Luartz ’11, President, UCR Graduate Student Association
  • Dan Murakami Ph.D. ‘82
  • Jaime Raba ‘98
  • Allan Schwartz ’74, Chair, UCR Alumni Advocacy Committee
  • Turner Stanton ‘17
  • Melody Tate ’82, M.A. ‘84
  • Edgar Tellez Foster M.S. ’14, Executive Vice President, UCR Graduate Student Association
  • Louis Vandenberg ‘79
  • Tony Yang ’03, Ph.D. ‘10


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