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President Napolitano: “My freshman year”

UC President Janet Napolitano marks her first-year anniversary as president of the University of California today, Tuesday, Sept. 30, 2014. To mark the occasion, her essay, “My freshman year,” appears in today’s issue of Inside Higher Ed. It opens as follows:

To linger for too long on the vastness and complexity of the University of California is to risk a form of intellectual paralysis. With its 10 distinct campuses, each a major university in its own right, five medical centers, three national laboratories, and an agricultural and natural resources division with representatives in every corner of California; with its $24 billion budget, its more than 230,000 students, and its 190,000 employees—nuclear scientists, literature professors, doctors and nurses, staff members of all types (some union, some not), you name it—the University of California is one of the largest, most complicated organizations in the world.

One year ago, on September 30, 2013, I began my freshman year serving as the 20th President of the University of California. I’m not sure how much I have changed the University, but I would like to tell you how the University has changed me.

For starters, I no longer wear red. Once was enough for the Old Blues of Berkeley, as Cal alumni are called, and for the Bruins of Los Angeles, not to mention the Banana Slugs of Santa Cruz or the Anteaters of Irvine. Message received. Blue and gold will define my sartorial palette ever more.

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