Courtesy of UCR Today
Courtesy of UCR Today

UC Riverside founder dies at the age of 104

UCR announced last month that Judge John Gabbert, one of the founders of the university, passed away in his Riverside home on Dec. 9, 2013.

Gabbert was an instrumental figure in turning the UC Citrus Experiment Station into the UC campus that stands today. A founder of the Citizen’s University Committee (CUC), Gabbert and the CUC lobbied members of the Strayer Committee — a group vested with the power to make recommendations about the establishment of new state campuses — to start the University of California, Riverside. By 1954, the goal was realized.

Gabbert was born in Oxnard, Calif., but spent a great fraction of his life in Riverside. In 1949 he was appointed as a judge on the Riverside County Superior Court. In 1970, then-Gov. Ronald Reagan appointed him to the California Court of Appeals, Fourth District. After helping found UC Riverside, he went on to become a founding member of the UC Riverside Foundation Board of Trustees in 1980, and served on the board for 18 years. Gabbert also went on to serve as an adjunct professor in the university’s political science department.

Gabbert is survived by his daughters Sarah and Katherine, his son Scott and his grandchildren.

UCR suffers meningitis scare

On Dec. 9, 2013, UC Riverside officials alerted the community that a UCR staff member had been diagnosed with bacterial meningitis. But after careful review by the Riverside County Department of Public Health, the original diagnosis was overruled and it was determined that the UC Riverside staff member did not have bacterial meningitis.

A statement released by the university says that the staff member, whose identity has not been revealed due to privacy laws, was recovering well under doctors’ care.

The university is still urging students to take precautions. More information about the disease was posted on the university’s website, detailing the symptoms of meningitis.

The disease is a serious condition that can be fatal in some cases. In November 2013, a UC Santa Barbara student was diagnosed with the illness and had to have both his feet amputated from tissue damage.


Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

Chancellor Desmond-Hellmann is leaving UC San Francisco

The UC Office of the President  (UCOP) announced that UC San Francisco Chancellor Susan Desmond-Hellmann will step down from her position to serve as the CEO of the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. She will succeed Jeff Raikes, who is retiring from his position as the foundation’s CEO after five years.

“I am honored by the opportunity that Bill and Melinda have extended to me. I’m excited to join such a dynamic and ambitious organization, with such a clear and focused mission — improving the lives of the world’s most vulnerable,” Desmond-Hellmann said in a press release.

To find a new successor for the San Francisco Bay campus, UC President Janet Napolitano will organize a search committee early this month. But for the time being, the president has tapped UCSF School of Medicine Dean Sam Hawgood for the position of interim chancellor. He must first gain prior confirmation by the UC Board of Regents before he can begin an official term.

The UC President will choose a prospective candidate for the chancellorship, but they must still receive confirmation from the regents prior to starting an official appointment. The next regents meeting will take place Jan. 21-23 at the UCSF Mission Bay.

“I am determined to do all in my power as president to ensure that UCSF keeps climbing upward on its trajectory of greatness,” Napolitano stated in a press release. “In the end, the mission is what must remain paramount, whoever its steward might be.”

Desmond-Hellmann will depart on March 31, 2014, after serving since May 3, 2009.


Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons
Courtesy of Wikimedia Commons

UC President Napolitano to head U.S. delegation in 2014 Winter Olympics

On Dec. 17, 2013, President Barack Obama selected UC President Janet Napolitano to lead the United States delegation during the opening ceremony of the 2014 Winter Olympic Games in Sochi, Russia.

“I look forward to being in Sochi to support our Olympic athletes and celebrate their accomplishments,” Napolitano said in a press release. “It is an honor to represent our country in the company of individuals who have excelled in life and sport.”

Drawing millions of spectators from across the globe, the international sporting event will take place on Feb. 7, 2014. Napolitano also led the closing ceremony of the Winter Olympic Games in Vancouver, Canada in 2010.