Michael V. Drake, M.D.
Chancellor – University of California, Irvine
There’s a great quote by Goethe that says, “Dream no small dreams for they have no power to move the hearts of men.” I think that it perfectly describes the size of the vision that Hana has brought before us today and to so many of us over all of these years – the magnificent dream that she has had, coupled with the persistence and focus to weave it together into a fabric and then fold that fabric into a tapestry that creates a new vision for the world. So thank you very much for that, Hana, and we all look forward to this endeavor as it continues to move forward.
There’s an old Beach Boys song that starts, “If everybody had an ocean, across the USA, then everybody’d be surfin’ like Californi-a.” Actually, what everybody would do if they were like the University of California, Irvine, is set up a research station at that ocean! As Vice Provost Bennett described so well, we have looked at our environment, our region, our natural resources, and done what we could to try to learn from and be good stewards of and good partners to those resources.
So we have the ocean, which is really outstanding, and then we have at Anza-Borrego a desert. About a year ago I drove from here to Anza-Borrego to dedicate our research station there. The day was very much like today, a nice, warm, gentle sort of winter’s day – one of those Southern California days when you could cycle or play tennis or whatever. As I drove over the mountain there was a blizzard, a total white-out. And then an hour later we were in the desert and it was clear, with lizards running around. Having that incredible amount of biodiversity just within a couple hours’ drive, with field research stations connecting it to the university, illustrates the incredible opportunity that we have to connect with places all over the world and learn things.
This spring we will mark the 50th anniversary of our dedication, in 18 months we will mark the 50th anniversary of our opening. It’s astonishing to think of the growth that’s happened here from 1964, when this was all rolling ranchland looking like the area envisioned for the headquarters of Pangea World, to what we have today. The great recognition that Vice Provost Bennett mentioned is really the work of many people with dreams. The large dreams of the founders who put the shovels in the ground to say this could be the place of a great university, the faculty who came at the very beginning with the idea of what that dream could be, the staff that came to work with them and created the circumstances that allowed them to succeed, the students who had the future as their platform to develop forward into the great scientists and citizens and philanthropists that they are today. Those things all woven together have created the past 50 years for us and put us in the place now to be thinking about things that we can do that are broadly transformative for the world.
Pangea World will be one of those transformative efforts. I am and will continue to be proud to be associated with everyone who is working on this effort. I particularly want to thank Hana Ayala for this incredible vision that she has brought to us and that brings us all here today. Congratulations and thank you, Hana!