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Ask President Drake: May 2021

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“Ask President Drake” is a new way for UC staff to connect with President Drake. If you have a question for the president, email it to ucnetwork@universityofcalifornia.edu and it could be featured in an upcoming issue of UCnetwork!


May question: We recently passed the anniversary of the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s been a remarkable year for you — navigating a global health crisis while transitioning into a new presidency. What have you learned?


President Drake:

This has been a memorable year — for me personally, for UC, and for families around California and the world. What I have learned, and seen, has been a powerful lesson in the resilience of our university community and the dedication of our people.

I have been inspired and humbled by our colleagues at UC medical centers and research facilities who have, in an unheard-of amount of time, made critical contributions to the global body of knowledge around COVID-19. I have been heartened to hear how staff, faculty and students on our campuses have banded together to imagine new ways of working, doing business and supporting one another at a truly critical time.

Since the pandemic began, my weekly news feed has been filled with stories of collaboration, innovation, volunteerism, and triumph — from colleagues who made hand sanitizer and face masks to those who donated medical supplies, hosted blood drives, and staffed vaccine supercenters; from those who built technology infrastructures to those who kept campus facilities running, cared for students and patients, advocated for our university’s values and educated vulnerable Californians about their health, available resources and the value of a UC education. This list of our remarkable collaborative accomplishments is truly limitless, as I continue to discover more examples every day.

When I reflect on this time, I am filled with deep sadness for those we have lost, along with pride for what we have achieved and contributed to society. I’m honored to have navigated this experience with my UC colleagues.

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