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UC alumni and friends turn out at UC Day to offer support

UC President Mark Yudof urged university advocates who turned out for UC Day in Sacramento on March 19 to stand up for quality higher education.

“It’s easy to cut costs if you don’t care about quality,” Yudof said in his noon remarks to more than 200 UC alumni and friends participating in the biennial advocacy day. “We always have to keep our eyes on the quality of the education we provide.”

Yudof thanked advocates for supporting UC and for reminding legislators of the value UC research and education bring to the state.

“We need to be the engine of opportunity for California,” he said.

Yudof presented the first UC Public Service Award to Dotson Wilson (pictured above, holding award), chief clerk of the California State Assembly and a UCLA alumnus, honoring him for his long public service career and contributions to civic life.

In accepting the award, Wilson also talked about creating opportunity and the importance of mentoring and providing internships.

“Everyone owes a debt to those who came before,” he said. “And the best way to repay that debt is to help those who come after you.”

Representatives from all 10 UC campuses spent the day in the Capitol asking legislators to support the governor’s proposed 2013–14 budget for UC, which includes a 5 percent increase over the prior year and funding for Cal Grants. The governor will introduce a revised budget in May. The state constitution requires lawmakers to approve a final budget by June 15.

“I think it’s important to come here to advocate,” said UC Davis student Annemarie Stone, who took time away from finals week to attend the event. “If we don’t come, who will?”

UC stands for excellence in research, education and public service, Stone said, and the state needs to support those three missions.

“The Silicon Valley isn’t here because of the draw of some magnetic force,” said Delaine Eastin, former state Superintendent of Public Instruction and a UC Davis alumna. “It’s here because of the draw of brain power and an educated workforce.”

Eastin said she was disappointed that public education experienced such steep state budget cuts over the last few years, but was hopeful to see education starting to come back as a priority. When students and alumni talk to their elected officials about the effects of education on their lives, she said, they put a human face on funding issues.

“It’s important to let our representatives know that UC inspires students to want to give back and make a difference,” said UCLA student Mathew Rosenstein, founder of the UCLA chapter of Circle of Friends, a student organization that works with special needs students.

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