Dear Friends, Alumni and Supporters of BioSci,
We are delighted to welcome our new and returning BioSci students for the fall quarter during this very unusual year. At present, the University is proceeding cautiously in its efforts to bring faculty, students and staff back to campus. COVID-19 cases dramatically increased in Orange County during June and July causing the governor to order a shut-down of many local businesses to stop the spread of the virus. With the spread slowing significantly in August, Orange County went from the purple tier to red, and businesses began reopening. The current campus plan is still to maintain virtual instruction for the fall quarter, with little student presence on campus. The safety of all students, staff and faculty remains our top priority and we will continue to adjust our plans moving forward to best adhere to the public health guidance issued by the governor’s office.
To honor our 2020 graduating students and maintain social distancing, BioSci held a first-of-its-kind virtual commencement ceremony on June 13th. The event was a resounding success, enjoyed by students and their families. We had over 950 students participate in the ceremony that featured videos from faculty, myself and our commencement speaker, Wajdie Ahmad, a local biotech entrepreneur and member of our Dean’s Leadership Council. But, that’s not all! The school was fortunate to have a surprise speaker of the highest distinction, Dr. Anthony Fauci. If you have not yet viewed Dr. Fauci’s kind words of encouragement for our BioSci class of 2020, you can find the video of his message here.
We hope you have received and reviewed your copy of our 2020 Dean’s Report titled, “PANDEMIC”. It features compelling stories about UCI BioSci coronavirus-related research happening now. We know that COVID-19 will become an enduring part of our vernacular for generations to come, in much the same way HIV entered into our language in the early 1980’s and remains 35 years later. A lot of biology remains to be done. COVID ends not in a hospital, but in a research lab.
Besides COVID, there is so much else going on in the world for us to address in BioSci, from climate change to disorders that are still a daily part of our lives such as Alzheimer’s, autism, cancer and addiction. We appreciate all of you and hope you will keep in touch with us, continue to learn more, and to support our audacious school’s efforts.
Frank M. LaFerla, Ph.D.