University of California, San Diego
October 1, 2003
SUBJECT: President Atkinson's Farewell
MEMBERS OF THE UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA COMMUNITY
On my last day as president of the University of California, I want to extend my heartfelt appreciation and best personal wishes to all of you.
I am honored to have had the opportunity to be a part of this university community. Your skill, energy, and commitment have preserved this institution as a place where the very best students from all walks of life get a first-rate education, where cutting-edge research improves our economy and our understanding of the world around us, and where community engagement is deep and substantive. There simply is no institution like the University of California anywhere in the world, and I hope you take pride in what you have helped to build here.
Like the rest of the state, the University of California is now in the middle of difficult budget times. Programs are being cut, employee positions are being lost, cost-of-living increases are not being provided due to lack of state funding, and health care premiums are increasing. The University is doing its best to absorb these impacts in the least damaging ways - the structure of our 2004 health care plans attempts to shield lower-paid workers from the worst of the rate increases, for example - but I know these still are challenging times for everyone.
We do know, however, that economic expansion and contraction are cyclical. The bad times do, in fact, come to an end. I hope you will keep that perspective in mind, and I hope you will persevere in your own work, no matter what role you play in the UC community. Your work today will help the University emerge from the current budget downturn strong and secure.
I have submitted a formal set of farewell remarks to the Board of Regents, and I invite you to read those remarks at http://www.ucop.edu/pres/speeches/farewellremarks.html . They expand on my views about the University, its challenges for the future, and its tremendous accomplishments for the people of California, the nation, and the world.
It has been a pleasure working with such a talented and committed community of people. Thank you, one final time, for all you do to make the University of California great.
Richard C. Atkinson