Jeff Pack

UCR alumnus joins Board of Regents

Jeff Pack says his focus is on excellence, access, admissions, and progress

July 31, 2023
Author: Imran Ghori
July 31, 2023

Geoffrey “Jeff” Pack believes UC Riverside has an important story to tell. It’s one that includes alumni like himself, whose 30-year career as a naval officer was shaped by his time at the campus. And it’s a story about UCR’s continued role in driving the economy of the Inland Empire.

Pack ’78 is now in a position to tell that story in a more influential way as a member of the UC Board of Regents. He began his new role as an alumni regent-designate on July 1 for a one-year term. He will then serve for another year as a voting alumni regent starting July 2024. It’s part of a set rotation that allows alumni representatives from all the UC campuses a regular opportunity to serve on the board.

Pack is the only UCR alumnus on the board and the first in six years. He’s one of four UC alumni representatives on the board who he believes offer a unique perspective. He is also the only military veteran serving on the board. 

“As alumni, we all bring what we do in our personal and professional lives in a different way than does a 12-year appointee on the board,” Pack said.

Pack will also continue as a board member on the UCR Alumni Association, a position he’s held for six years, and serve as treasurer of the Alumni Associations of the University of California board. He said his involvement with the alumni groups allows for a constant sharing of information that benefits all the boards he sits on.

Pack said he approaches the position on the Regents board with a key set of guiding principles.

“If I go in there with a focus on excellence, access, and admissions, and a sense of what constitutes progress for the state and people of California, I will let that shape the way I look at agenda items and issues that come before me,” he said.

Pack said the University of California needs to continue to be a source of excellence with its academic programs and student outcomes that impact the nation and the world. He views access as more than just students who benefit from UC but also physicians and patients, scientists, industrialists, farmers, and teachers, all whose lives are touched by what the university system does now and in the future.

In terms of admissions, Pack said the university should continue to seek the best students and serve all of California and those from outside the state interested in attending its universities in a way “that represents equity, inclusion, justice, and simply doing the right thing.”

As part of the UC system, UCR has unique strengths in providing opportunities to a diverse and underserved community, Pack said. He noted how the campus has grown from being seen in the shadow of the larger campuses to playing a pivotal role in driving the local economy with its programs in the fields of business, medicine, and agriculture.

“The Inland Empire can be seen as an under-resourced, underserved area that can benefit from its connection to the University of California,” he said. “I think it’s a measure of UCR’s success how the chancellor and university leadership now leverage this unique geography of the Inland Empire with a great world-leading public university.”

The campus has grown a lot since Pack attended UCR in the 1970s when it had an enrollment of 5,000 students. Pack graduated with bachelor’s degrees in history and anthropology.

He went on to a long career in the navy, including as a commander of a destroyer and a squadron of ships, and as a defense and naval attaché to four U.S. ambassadors. He later worked in local government for the City of San Diego in positions including emergency management and violence prevention.

As he looks back on his career, Pack attributes his success to his time at UCR, remembering professors like June O’Connor and Robert Hine, who taught courses that proved to be formative in shaping his world view.

“I thought of what a good solid liberal arts education I had as a history and anthropology major and how that made me, I think, much more open to discovery, much more able to articulate in words and speech what I was experiencing, and what were the problems and what their resolutions could be,” he said.

Pack, who became more involved in alumni activities after he retired, said his goal is to help others receive the same opportunities he did with a UCR education.

“Education makes a huge difference in lives like mine but much more importantly in communities and the lives of others that could really benefit from the attributes of a great public university,” he said.

Cover photo by Stan Lim.