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Incoming Staff Advisor to the Regents Lucy Tseng brings a “heart of giving” to her new role

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Lucy Tseng

Born and raised in Southern California to immigrant parents, incoming Staff Advisor to the Regents Lucy Tseng is proud to be a “True Bruin.” “Everyone in my extended family in Taiwan was so excited when I was accepted to UCLA’s class of 2012 — asking for sweaters and pencils and hats before I took my first step as a Bruin on campus — because UCLA was a world-renowned name. It really set the standard for me that I better make something out of this experience.” In 2015, Tseng took a pay cut to return to UCLA as part of a team supporting the Centennial Campaign — moved by the sudden passing of her mother to give back to a university that had changed her life, and the lives of so many others.

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Every step in Tseng’s education and career has been informed by the “heart of giving” instilled by her parents. “At a very young age, I saw my mother — even when she was first learning English — find ways to be involved in our community and show her concern for all people. As her English became stronger, she became a translator for other immigrants, so their voices could be heard. Building a community within a melting pot of backgrounds and experiences was important to my mother. So she never stopped making people feel welcome and heard in any gathering she was a part of.”

It didn’t take long for Tseng, now regional director for UCLA Giving, to join UCLA Staff Assembly, serving wherever the need was greatest. Leadership roles led to the presidency and the opportunity to represent UCLA on the Council of UC Staff Assemblies (CUCSA) and as co-chair of CUCSA’s Staff Basic Needs Committee.

“The work of the Basic Needs Committee really showed me the power of systemwide service and action. I’m immensely proud of UCLA’s place in the community and the world. But we are an exceptional public higher education system because of the contributions of every UC campus and medical center. I want to be a part of growth and progress across UC, whether I’m working to ensure that no UC staff person has to struggle to meet basic needs, or working to strengthen UC’s stellar reputation around the world.”

Tseng will join current Staff Advisor Ann Jeffrey in bringing the voice and perspective of staff to Board of Regents discussions. Departing Staff Advisor Kate Klimow, chief administrative officer and director of External Relations at UC Irvine Beall Applied Innovation, completes her two-year term on June 30. 

President Napolitano selected Tseng as part of a systemwide process, with applications solicited across the UC system. A selection committee composed of systemwide and campus leaders and current and past staff advisors reviewed the applications and selected finalists for the president’s consideration.

“In five short years with UCLA, Lucy has jumped at every opportunity to learn, to engage and to serve. With her generous and optimistic spirit, I am confident that Lucy will be a tireless advocate for UC staff,” President Napolitano said.

Lucy Tseng with Bruin sculpture

Both a millennial and a staff member who is early in her career with UC, Tseng is excited to bring a fresh perspective to the role of staff advisor to the Regents. “Those of us who are newer to UC sometimes see issues a bit differently than those who are in senior leadership roles. We’re less privy to the conversations that shape big decisions, so we have more — and different — questions about those decisions. I want to listen and learn from staff, and make sure staff voices of all kinds are included in conversations and discussions when appropriate.”

As UC rises to the challenges raised by the pandemic and comes together to confront systemic racism, communication is more important than ever. “I see the need to acknowledge that we are all different. There are inherent things that make us not able to relate to one another. But that doesn’t mean that we can’t be there for one another. You may not feel like you’re being heard. You may not feel like you’re doing enough. When you’re ready to take action, staff advisors are here to listen and advocate.”

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