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UC 150th birthday celebration brings applause, cheers

With shared stories, refreshments and some comedy, UCOP staff last Friday celebrated UC’s 150th birthday and the university’s remarkable impact on California and beyond.

The celebration coincided with Charter Day, the day in 1868 when then-California Gov. Henry Haight signed legislation officially creating the University of California.

“As we celebrate today, I want to acknowledge the important part each of you play in upholding the idea behind the University of California: a great public research university that would be accessible to all Californians who qualify academically, regardless of their background or income,” President Napolitano said. “This university is made up of the brightest students, the best faculty and the most dedicated staff – and I am really proud to be a part of it.”

During the celebration, UC alum Ann Lee-Karlon, senior vice president at Genentech who holds patents in vascular tissue engineering, shared how a UC education helped her become a critical thinker and catapulted her into a successful career. And Abel Guillen, an Oakland City Council member, recounted how he grew up in San Francisco’s Mission District without hearing about UC Berkeley. But the opportunity to attend that institution transformed his life and ignited his passion for activism.

If you missed the celebration, you can watch a portion of the event, including the remarks.

Franklin Lobby 1 was decked in blue and gold balloons for the occasion, and posters highlighting some of UC’s extraordinary contributions flanked the Franklin lobby hallway. Staff enjoyed refreshments and picked up commemorative posters and pins, while the UCOP String Trio performed.

Chief Building Engineer Matt Leet, who is the incoming chair of OP Staff Assembly, served as emcee. John Ruzicka, ITS technical writer by day and a comedian in his leisure time, regaled the crowd with jokes about lesser known facts on UC’s history. The event concluded with a raffle of commemorative 150th items.

The event was streamed live for UCOP staff who could not attend in person, including those not based in Oakland. The UCPath Center held a celebration the same day with refreshments and a raffle.

Looking to the future, President Napolitano said UCOP will be engaged in ensuring UC continues its upward trajectory. Earlier this month, she asked the Academic Senate to determine what it will take to extend a guarantee of admission to all qualifying California Community College transfer students by fall 2019. She called on chancellors to explore how UC can further streamline the degree pipelines, and ensure that at least 70 percent of our undergraduates earn their degrees within four years.

In addition, she called on state leaders to work with UC to tackle the college graduate gap we expect to have in California, and ensure our state is producing the educated workforce it needs for the future.

Don’t forget to check out our digital UC 150th timeline to learn more about UC’s history and contributions.

Comments ( 2 )

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  1. Aurora Orozco April 17, 2018 Reply

    I’d like to know more about the people that made the 150 Anniversary commemorative poster. Is there a list of names?
    My nephew wrote an essay about heroes with values and included John Wooden. If John Wooden is on the poster, he would like to take it to school.

  2. Link Editor April 17, 2018 Reply

    Hi Aurora,
    Yes, John Wooden is on the poster. There’s a photo of him surrounded by athletes; it’s the third photo above the second “e” in the word “Celebrating.”

    The poster includes every image that appears on the 150th digital timeline website: In case your nephew would like more information on John Wooden, he is featured in the digital timeline under “1975.” You can click on the blue “+” icon in the corner of each entry in the timeline to expand the entry and read more.

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