Dear UWest Community:
Happy Friday! Thank you all for the lovely send-off. It was great seeing so many of you on Zoom! The electronic Kudos are just fabulous! My sincere appreciation to those who put the whole event together. Both Marcy and I are very touched!
Marcia Wade, the Interim VP, with whom some of you might not have had the opportunity to meet face-to-face, will end her support to UWest on June 30, 2020. Marcy came to us with close to 30 years of experiences in higher education in both two-year and 4-year colleges and universities, with about 20 years serving as Chief Human Resources Officer. I thank her tremendously for her contribution to us!
The campus remains quiet and beautiful especially when we take the walk up the path towards the Dining and Residence Halls. I am sure that the cypress trees lining the path will remain in our minds for many years to come. It’s a great path that reminds us to contemplate what we do each and every day to support this great organization and the people who are in it.
I am excited to learn that Lorena Gonzalez will become Chair of the Employee Council. We know she will be a great leader for all the employees. Thank you Lorena for taking this on! At the same time, we have been informed that Jenny Hannah, who for several years has provided mental health support to us, will be leaving us. We are grateful for her services and wish her well!
This Friday Letter will be my last as your Interim President. I have truly enjoyed meeting most of you; and my apologies to those I had not had the privilege due to the intrusion of COVID-19. Nevertheless, my observations inform me that we are all in this together. As an organization, UWest has many talents that can contribute to the success of the University in spite of the challenges we continue to face in enrollment and budget. Nevertheless, as long as we put the interest and health of the organization as the number one priority, we will continue to thrive. UWest is an organization of compassion, character, and community. Having empathy for one another is key.
I am pleased that Dr. Ta will serve as UWest’s next President and I believe she will continue with this similar type of campus-wide communication. Dr. Ta comes to us with lots of experiences at the college level and will serve the University well. Even though I have not worked with her, but am familiar with her reputation as an educator who takes the interest of the students at heart and works with the faculty and staff to support the students. She is very skillful in working with large and small organizations. You will be in good hands. The Board of Trustees believes in an effective and efficient transition and has asked me to stay on for the month of July to serve as the Advisor to the President. So, you will see me around the campus, hanging out in the CAO’s Office for a little while yet. I thank the Board of Trustees for having the faith to ask me to serve at UWest. I hope I was able to make this place a little better than when I found it.
Thank you all for what you do! I wish to single out a few offices/departments where staff have been on campus every day – not all at once, but… General Services (Ricky, Julio, Phillip, Carson, Laura, Judy, Vivian, and Iris); Information Technology (Rafael, James, and Peter); Accounting (Amy, Jason, Joey, and Linda); and Library (Lingling and Judy) to serve all of us. Above all, the two senior staff, Vanessa and Amy, THANK YOU for steering the campus with me and guiding me through the higher education demands. Please know that I appreciate all the faculty and staff and the work yon continue to do remotely.
I owe a great debt of gratitude to Grace… Thank you from the bottom of my heart for taking great care of me, being my confidante and sounding board, as well as helping me understand the pulse of the campus! Grace is a true gem taking care this university and being the liaison with the temple and our sister schools. She is simply a beautiful person! Of course, Judy (Judith), what can I say… You turn on the fan every morning when there is no air conditioning in the office. You always greet me with a cheerful “Good morning!” You always respect my privacy as President of the University. You have developed the trust that we both cherish. Above all, thank you for your care for me, always thoughtful of my health needs, and bringing me the beautiful roses to brighten my days!!!
Finally, I am taking liberty using this corner to let you know… I will return to my other commitment to work with charter schools in South LA and Orange County serving economically disadvantaged children – my true passion. I will continue to work with several Foundations: AJ Wang Foundation Scholarship Fund (funding students attending 18 community colleges in the area and UWest); Emily Shane Foundation (helping middle school students with challenges, in memory of Emily who was killed by a suicidal driver walking home); Global Education Foundation (serving low income charter school students in South LA); Wu Foundation (serving Asian Pacific Islander students in mental health at U. of Washington), and Chou Family Scholarship Fund (established by my late father and my son celebrating my 50th birthday, providing small amounts of money for students in need). If you wish to donate, I would really appreciate it. Of course, another set of very important priorities – visiting my grandchildren, getting to travel the world once this pandemic subsides, and attending to my vegetable gardens and fruit trees.
Once again, thank you so much for all you do to improve the lives of others! Be safe, wash your hands, wear masks, and keep physical distance.
Have a great weekend and a Happy 4th of July!
Chiung-Sally Chou, Ph.D.
University of the West