This is my final AVC message. After 36 years at UCLA, I will be retiring at the end of this year. I have had the joy and the privilege of serving as AVC for the past 19 years, and my love and passion for UCLA runs deep. I know that public higher education is one of the most important assets in our society. It is the “game changer” that advances our nation, and among the higher education community, UCLA is a leader.
As advocates, you have taken the UCLA message to our elected officials at all levels of government and you have taken our message to your family, friends and your community. I am so proud of what we have accomplished in developing and sustaining our Advocacy Days in Downtown, Sacramento and in Washington, while also being able to integrate the work of the UCLA Volunteer Center into our efforts. None of this would have been possible without the support and commitment of you, our Bruin advocates.
We have met a number of serious challenges during the past two decades. While we may not have been successful on every issue we faced, we never gave up. We never stopped advocating, because we care so much about UCLA. A lesson that I learned a long time ago was that, “You have to be a friend, before you look for a friend.” Advocacy is about relationships, and the work of our advocates enables us to build a wide range of productive relationships on behalf of UCLA. These relationships are critically necessary when difficult funding and legislative issues arise.
During my long tenure at UCLA, our mission has remained the same, even as we continue to grow in scope and impact. We have built more buildings, hired more faculty and staff, graduated more students, and made amazing new discoveries. The university continues to deliver on its message to touch and change lives in the greater community. Our advocates, our students, our faculty and staff, our alumni, parents, donors and friends have kept the mission and vision of UCLA alive and vibrant every day. This is the Bruin family.
My commitment to UCLA comes from the “debt” that I owe to those that came before me. They opened doors for me to have access to education. I have always believed that the only way I can repay my debt is to keep those doors of opportunity open for others in the future. That is the essence of our advocacy efforts. It has been the central focus of my work at UCLA, first in Staff Affirmative Action and now in Government and Community Relations.
I may be leaving UCLA as an administrator, but I am not leaving our struggle. I will always be an advocate. I will always be engaged in the many issues that have confronted us through the years. I will always “Raise My Voice” in support of UCLA.
I want to thank the Government and Community Relations staff for their stellar work over the years. My staff has been hardworking and dedicated to fighting for UCLA.
I want to thank our advocates. You have made our department’s work easier and more impactful. The commitment of your time, of your expertise and your willingness to travel speaks to your love and support for this institution.
I leave UCLA with so many friendships with our advocates that l will always cherish. As I pass the torch of leadership to Richard Benbow, I am certain that Government and Community Relations will go forward with an even stronger advocacy program on behalf of UCLA.
Thank you Bruins. Thank you for being a diverse, engaged family committed to making the world a better place and UCLA a stronger institution.
Raise Your Voice!
Keith S. Parker
Government & Community Relations
Assistant Vice Chancellor