An Array of Campus News


$5 Million Pledged to Help Eradicate Preventable Blindness

UC Irvine Health’s Gavin Herbert Eye Institute

Josephine Herbert Gleis pledged $5 million to UC Irvine Health’s Gavin Herbert Eye Institute to move current eye research forward at a faster pace and enable the pursuit of innovative new ideas for sight-saving treatments. Gleis, who turned 104 in September, has made gifts totaling $19 million to UCI over the years, changing lives in the arts and neurology, as well as ophthalmology.

In 2007, she and her son, Allergan founder Gavin Herbert, made the initial $10 million naming gift to build a state-of-the-art home for Orange County’s only academic eye center.

“Thanks to her generosity, Orange County residents have access to world-class eye care without leaving the community,” said Dr. Roger Steinert, director of the Gavin Herbert Eye Institute and Irving H. Leopold Professor of Ophthalmology. “And when we find ways to eradicate preventable blindness, we will owe her a debt of gratitude for her steadfast support of vital research.”

“I thought I left college, but it seems like we’re right back at it. I guess I'll get my textbooks and start studying for my chemistry test tomorrow.”

  • L.A. Rams rookie tight end Temarrick Hemingway,
    on moving into UCI dorms for training camp
  • July 26, 2016
  • The New York Times

Guard On

Ben Carlson statue

A larger-than-life statue honoring fallen lifeguard Ben Carlson ’05 was unveiled at McFadden Square near Newport Pier in July, two years after he was killed saving a swimmer in distress. The marine-grade stainless steel memorial looks out over the shoreline at Newport Beach, where Carlson had served for 15 years, and acts as a reminder to the public about ocean safety. It is just steps away from lifeguard headquarters, renamed in Carlson’s honor in 2015. His death was the first in the line of duty in the department’s nearly 100-year history.

New UCI Advancement Chief

In August, Brian Hervey was selected as UCI’s vice chancellor for university advancement. Hervey, who had been serving in the position on an interim basis, will lead the development campaign outlined in the campus’s recently released 10-year strategic plan.

Hervey arrived at UCI in May 2015 as associate vice chancellor for health advancement. He has been managing that enterprise and all other aspects of university advancement since November. That was the same month that UCI announced it had surpassed its 10-year campaign target of $1 billion – the first nonprofit in Orange County to achieve such a goal.

“UCI has reached remarkable heights in such a short period of time,” Hervey said. “I’m excited to be part of the next phase of its evolution.”

“The thing we have come to realize is a lot of the [myths about] selfies, women and narcissism have come to resemble other reactions to new technology and moral panic about radio, television, photography and even film. Every time there is a new technology, people freak out.”

  • Catherine Liu, professor of film & media studies
  • Distinguished Professor of social ecology
  • June 4, 2016
  • Los Angeles Times

A Record-Breaking Year

UCI shattered philanthropic and research funding records in 2015-16, highlighted by the largest gift in campus history.

University Advancement reported $132.5 million in gifts, more than doubling what was raised in the prior year. The greatest growth was in the area of health, which included a $40-million gift from Orange County philanthropists Sue and Bill Gross – UCI’s largest gift ever – to establish a nursing school.

University Advancement reported $132.5 million in gifts for 2015-16
University Advancement reported $132.5 million in 2015-16 compared to $65.5 million in 2014-15

At the same time, the Office of Research reported $395 million in grants and contracts, an increase of about $100 million from 2014-15. “Grant funding is the fuel that drives research and innovation,” said Pramod Khargonekar, vice chancellor of research, who joined UCI in June from the National Science Foundation. “These considerable increases in support are an indication that UCI’s growing, world-class research enterprise will continue to make a greater impact both nationally and globally.”

Research reported $395 million in grants and contracts in 2015-16
Office of Research reported $395 million in grants and contracts in 2015-16 compared to $293 million in 2014-15

Alum to Lead Community Colleges

Eloy Ortiz Oakley

In December, Eloy Ortiz Oakley ’96, MBA ’99 will assume the helm of the California Community Colleges as the system’s 16th chancellor. Ortiz Oakley, who has led the Long Beach Community College District as its superintendent and president since 2007, will be the first Latino to head the 113-college system, which serves 2.1 million students.

Described as a “change agent,” Ortiz Oakley is a national leader in public education and recognized for his work to improve the academic outcomes of historically underrepresented students.

He himself is a community college and UCI success story. After serving four years in the U.S. Army, the first-generation college student enrolled at Golden West College before transferring to UCI, where he earned a bachelor’s degree in environmental analysis & design and an MBA. Ortiz Oakley is also a regent of the University of California, with a term ending in 2024.

PokéZot Paradise

Pokémon Go

The Pokémon Go craze hit UCI along with the rest of the nation when it debuted in July. Since then, the cute critters in the viral mobile app that pop up in places alongside ordinary objects have been caught all over campus, which was noted by the Orange County Register as having 50 or so PokéSpots – or PokéZots, as the paper dubbed them. Langson Library, a “lure” spot, is game and has put out a call for assistance, noting that the stacks are “infested with new and strange creatures” and “we need your help catching them so they don’t ruin the books!” Some players have mapped out at least 50 PokéZots along one loop of Ring Mall. An intrepid player found one of the most rare Pokémon of all, the elusive Dragonite, just outside the Francisco J. Ayala Science Library. Alas, the little monster got away.

Anteaters Shine in Rio

UCI students at 2016 Summer Olympics

Eight former and current UCI students participated in the 2016 Summer Olympics – the most from a Big West school and the third-most from a UC campus (after UC Berkeley and UCLA). Among them: Middle blocker David Smith ’07 (left bottom, shown visiting the UCI women’s volleyball team) helped spike the U.S. men’s volleyball team to the bronze medal; sophomore Phillip Chew and Eva Lee ’13 (right) represented well in badminton, with Chew playing on America’s first mixed doubles team; and current ’Eaters coach and Team USA assistant coach Dan Klatt ’01 guided the women’s water polo team to its second consecutive gold (left top).

Athlete Sport Country Event/Position
Phillip Chew Badminton U.S. Men’s doubles, mixed doubles
Dave Durden ’98 Men’s swimming U.S. Assistant coach
Charles Jock ’12 Men’s track (athletics) U.S. 800 meters
Dan Klatt ’01 Women’s water polo U.S. Assistant coach
Eva Lee ’13 Badminton U.S. Women’s doubles
David Smith ’07 Men’s volleyball U.S. Indoor
Kevin Tillie ’13 Men’s volleyball France Indoor
Persis William-Mensah Women’s track (athletics) Ghana 4x100 relay