Construction at UCI
Scheduled for completion in summer 2009, the new Social & Behavioral Sciences building will house research laboratories as well as academic and administrative office space. Daniel A. Anderson / University Communications

The year has been exciting and rewarding for UC Irvine – from promising new research collaborations to impactful breakthroughs, dedicated outreach projects, diverse cultural activities, continued campus growth and athletic success.

Here are some top stories from 2008:

  • University Hospital completed: The first phase of the new University Hospital at UC Irvine Medical Center was completed in September 2008, an unprecedented four months early and on budget. Featuring state-of-the-art technology in surgical suites, family-friendly, single rooms, and improved neonatal intensive care facilities, the hospital promises to be a valuable community resource. Dedication ceremonies are slated for Jan. 30, 2009.
  • Setting a record for research funding: UCI attracted $328 million in contracts and grants during the 2007-08 fiscal year – up from $276 million the previous year. The School of Medicine received the most federal funding ($92,700,184), and the School of Humanities realized the largest year-to-year increase (77 percent). “UCI has been recruiting outstanding faculty members, and we have a very active research development team to help put proposals together,” said Susan V. Bryant, research vice chancellor, explaining the record increase. “Campus leadership also has been very good at fostering emerging avenues of research and education, such as stem cell biology, energy and the environment.”
  • Children’s Hospital of Orange County affiliation completed: CHOC Children’s, UC Irvine Healthcare and UC Irvine School of
    Medicine formed a strategic affiliation to better serve children and
    families. Approved Nov. 20 by the Regents of the University of California,
    this affiliation will create a pediatrics center that integrates
    high-quality, comprehensive patient care; leading-edge research; and
    excellent teaching programs. The agreement takes effect Jan. 1.
  • Innovative research institutes established: 2008 saw the launch of the UC Irvine Environment Institute: Global Change, Energy & Sustainable Resources – dedicated to the study of how the environment and society interact. And, a grant from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation created the Institute for Money, Technology & Financial Inclusion, the first to explore how the world’s poorest people spend, store and save money.
  • Community connections strengthened: The university received a record $130 million in private gifts. The fundraising total broke UCI’s record of $120.1 million donated during the previous fiscal year. The total number of gifts also was up by 1,000 over 2006-07. “Our past and future successes hinge on the tremendous partnership we share with the Orange County community, and we are indebted to our many alumni and friends for their enduring support,” said Thomas J. Mitchell, vice chancellor of University Advancement and president of The University of California, Irvine Foundation.UCI also announced a $1 billion fundraising effort that aims to foster economic and cultural opportunities and nurture a new generation of leaders who will drive California’s growth and development. The campaign runs through December 2015. It will raise private support for scholarships and graduate fellowships; add new buildings, equipment and labs; create and enhance academic programs; and fuel interdisciplinary collaborations to address global challenges. It also provides funding for campuswide priorities, including attracting and retaining world-renowned faculty.
  • New campus leaders welcomed: UCI’s law school introduced its outstanding founding dean, Erwin Chemerinsky, as well as a stellar founding faculty and administrative team. Chemerinsky came from Duke University, where he was a professor of constitutional law and federal civil procedure. His founding faculty came from top law schools around the country. “These outstanding individuals, each of whom comes directly from – or has taught at – a top-tier school, form the foundation for creating one of America’s best schools of law,” Chemerinsky said.Two other deans also began their tenures: Rafael L. Bras in engineering and Vicki L. Ruiz in humanities. Bras previously was the Edward A. Abdun-Nur Professor of Civil & Environmental Engineering at MIT; Ruiz joined the UCI faculty in 2001 as professor of history and Chicano/Latino studies.
  • Students share insights from the Middle East: The Olive Tree Initiative, comprising 14 students from Jewish, Muslim, Christian and other backgrounds, traveled to the Middle East to seek a deeper understanding of the many conflicting positions in the region and returned to share what they learned with the campus and wider communities.
  • Dance group shines in MTV competition: Six members from the acclaimed UCI hip-hop dance troupe Kaba Modern advanced into the top three on the TV reality show “America’s Best Dance Crew.”
  • Athletics excels nationally and internationally: The Beijing Olympic Games showcased 10 athletes and coaches with Anteater ties in six different sports. “It’s everything you’d expect and then some,” water polo player Rick Merlo ’05 said of his first Olympic experience. “It’s what you dream about as a kid.”The UCI baseball team advanced to the NCAA Division I Super Regionals for the second consecutive season. And, the men’s soccer team completed its most successful season in school history with a 15-2-6 overall record, a Big West Conference title, a Big West Tournament title and a trip to the Round of 16 of the NCAA tournament.
  • State-of-the-art facilities come to life: UCI broke ground on a $66.6 million stem cell research building that will unify and strengthen the fast-growing stem cell biology program. Sue & Bill Gross Hall: A CIRM Institute will serve as a hub for research in Southern California. “The groundbreaking is a testament to the strength of our stem cell research program,” said Chancellor Michael Drake. “As construction of this facility moves forward, so does our dedication to breakthrough research, public education and the development of future stem cell therapies.”Construction also has begun on East Campus Housing Phase III, a student housing project that will significantly increase the on-campus student community. The project, designed to meet the U.S. Green Building Council’s Gold LEED certification, will feature environmentally conscious designs, including fluorescent lighting, low-flow plumbing fixtures, tankless water heaters, and drought-tolerant landscaping irrigated with reclaimed water.

    UCI’s new, 146,656-square-foot Biological Sciences III building, completed this year, hosts research labs, office space and a high-tech lecture hall that can accommodate more than 400 students.

    The Anteater Recreation Center is now better equipped to help the UCI community stay in shape, thanks to a $16 million expansion that added weight training, a wellness lab, fitness counseling and additional multipurpose space.

UCI has plenty to look forward to in the coming year. Stories to watch in 2009 include:

  • Watch us grow: In the coming year, UCI expects to complete six construction projects totaling $625 million and 1.39 million square feet. Once necessary steps are complete at University Hospital, such as licensing to deliver patient care and installing new equipment, patients will be moved into the building in early 2009. Construction will continue on phase II of the hospital. Construction also will be completed on the new Engineering 3, Humanities Gateway, Social & Behavioral Sciences, and Telemedicine/Medical Education buildings, as well as an East Campus Housing Phase III parking structure.
  • Welcoming new law students: UCI’s inaugural law school class of about 60 students will begin in the fall of 2009. “We want our first students to have every possible career option open to them; we want each graduate to have the financial flexibility to build a distinctive UC Irvine School of Law alumni presence in large and small firms, major corporations, small businesses, government agencies and public service organizations,” said Charles Cannon, assistant dean of development and external affairs. The UCI School of Law will be California’s first new public law school in more than 40 years.