Chancellor’s Update — February 2021

February 26, 2021
Kim A. Wilcox
February 26, 2021

Dear Campus Community,

In the initial essay for the New York Times Magazine series, “The 1619 Project,” author Nikole Hannah-Jones looks at history in America beginning with the year that slaves were first brought to the English settlement of Jamestown. Of her Black father’s decision to fly the American flag on a pole in their front yard, she writes, “He knew that our people’s contributions to building the richest and most powerful nation in the world were indelible, that the United States simply would not exist without us.” She goes on to describe many of the ways that Black Americans have contributed to our economy and democratic ideals.  

I hope that each of you finds ways to acknowledge and learn more about the history of Black Americans not only during Black History Month but on a regular and continual basis. One step in that direction is to register and attend the annual Hays Press-Enterprise Lecture on March 4 at 3:30 p.m. Myisha Cherry, a UC Riverside assistant professor of philosophy who hosts and produces The UnMute Podcast will interview this year’s honored guest and Pulitzer Prize-winning writer, Nikole Hannah-Jones. 

Living our promise as a public university
One of our commitments as a public university is to share knowledge in our region and beyond. Events like the forthcoming Hays Press-Enterprise Lecture follow a full calendar of events in February including the Chancellor’s Distinguished Lecture, our 44th annual Writers Week, and celebration events to commemorate the successful Living the Promise campaign. While significant in their reach and impact, these events are but a sampling of the opportunities for enrichment offered every week. If you haven’t checked out the UCR Events Calendar lately, we invite you to visit where you will find everything from concerts to lectures that allow us to fulfill our mission of not only creating but also sharing knowledge. You can also find some of our recent events on the UCR YouTube channel.

Leading with science
Late last summer, we announced the creation of our own COVID-19 testing lab on campus. So much has happened in the last year that it could be easy to forget how strained our regional and state resources were six months ago when it came to testing for the virus. But the efforts of Dr. Kenneth Han, Dr. Katherine Borkovich, and Dr. Isgouhi Kaloshian have not been forgotten. In fact, four elected leaders—Senator Roth, Assemblymember Medina, U.S. Representative Takano, and U.S. Representative Ruiz—delivered proclamations to recognize the work of Drs. Borkovich, Kaloshian, and Han to create a lab that not only delivered a less invasive testing procedure in support of our community needs but also advanced testing science and capacity in our state. We remain grateful for the leadership, collaboration, and work to unearth a new testing solution at UC Riverside that allowed us to lead with science.  And while these three great university citizens received the proclamations, they were quick to point out that they were just part of a team of talented and committed colleagues who made our testing success a possibility. On behalf of the entire UCR community, I would like to thank everyone involved.  

And, to all of you, thank you for the work you do each day. Your efforts contribute to our ability to create and share knowledge with the communities in which we live and work.