Bell tower and Rivera library

A look back at 2021 on campus

Campus photographer Stan Lim shares his favorite images and the stories behind them

December 14, 2021
Author: University Communications
December 14, 2021

UC Riverside began the return to normalcy in 2021 as the campus returned to mostly in-person instruction. Students were happy to see their friends again, families celebrated commencement, and instructors continued to be recognized for their achievements.

Stan Lim, UCR photography manager, shares his favorite images from the past year and the stories behind the photos below:

Living the Promise

The bell tower and Rivera library February 4, 2021, at UC Riverside. (UCR/Stan Lim)

For the closing of the Living the Promise fundraising campaign, a company was hired to illuminate the bell tower and Rivera Library arches for a video.  I originally went to shoot some behind-the-scenes photos of the night but when I saw how it all looked, I decided to change my focus and get photos of the dramatic lighting instead. 


School of Business commencement ceremony on Saturday, June 12, 2021, at the Student Recreation Center at UC Riverside. (UCR/Stan Lim)

I knew commencement would look different this year due to the pandemic and social distancing guidelines. It was interesting to watch as students split off from their families as they funneled into the gym of the Student Recreation Center. From there, the students lined up to walk onto the stage as the families get into a position to take photos of their loved ones.  

Bike giveaway

The UC Riverside Police Department delivers bicycles for the children living at the Oban Family Housing at UC Riverside on Friday, September 17, 2021. (UCR/Stan Lim)

The genuine reaction from Jet Wilbur, 6, made this shot special after officer Paul Dombrowski with the UC Riverside Police Department arrived at Oban Family Housing to deliver bikes to the children living at the family housing apartment complex.  

Filipino rondalla music lecturer recognized

Tagumpay Mendoza De Leon (UCR/Stan Lim)

One of the great parts of my job is photographing the faculty members and instructors that are doing such great work. This is rondalla instructor Tagumpay Mendoza De Leon, who was selected as a National Endowment for the Arts fellow.

Plant Research I

Plant Research 1 in the foreground as the sun sets behind the bell tower on June 22, 2021, at UC Riverside. (UCR/Stan Lim)

After the Plant Research I building was constructed, I knew I wanted to get a shot of it in the evening since it had so much glass. While scouting for a shot I noticed I could see a part of the bell tower but needed an elevated spot to make it stand out.  I stood on the bed of my pick-up truck to get this shot. The sunset was a bonus!

Women's volleyball

UC Riverside’s women’s volleyball match against Hawaii in a Big West Conference on Thursday, September 23, 2021, at the Student Recreation Center at UCR. (UCR/Stan Lim)

Getting a good action shot during a sporting assignment can be great but my favorite shot is a reaction. This is Mylei Vargas-Deason celebrating with teammates after the women’s volleyball team scores against Hawaii during a Big West conference game on Sept. 23 at the Student Recreation Center. 

First day of instruction

Students hug each other on the first day of instruction on Thursday, September 23, 2021, at UC Riverside. (UCR/Stan Lim)

It was so nice to be on campus on the first day of instruction and capture moments like this, where students were happy to see each other again after 18 months of remote instruction during the pandemic. 

Honoring veterans

UCR held a flag raising ceremony in honor of Veterans Day on Wednesday, November 10, 2021, the day before Veteran’s Day. (UCR/Stan Lim)

I arrived early to photograph a flag-raising ceremony to commemorate Veterans Day. Sometimes the best image, like this photo, happens before the event starts. This is Highlander Army ROTC cadet Shaoxuan Lou holding a flag while waiting for the ceremony to begin on a foggy morning. 


2021 homecoming bonfire event on Friday, November 19, 2021, at UC Riverside. (UCR/Stan Lim)

Throughout this pandemic I wanted to photograph as many milestones as I could. So when I heard the campus approved the first large live in-person event, I knew I had to shoot it.  Here are students dancing and enjoying the music from one of the DJs performing at homecoming bonfire night

Crystal ball

A view of the bell tower photographed through a Lensball on May 18, 2021, at UC Riverside. (UCR/Stan Lim)

I had received a crystal ball as a gift and instantly thought to shoot the bell tower through it. When shooting through a sphere, the image inside will always appear upside down. This image is rotated 180 degrees so the bell tower appears normal.