Director's Letter, August 2017
I write to you as the new year begins: classes and seminars will soon start, and our new graduate students will learn how to use the collections, beginning their new path as future UCMP alums! Sadly, our collections will be a little bit quieter with the retirement of Ken Finger after 15 years of deep service to UCMP, adding order to our vast microfossil collections - fortunately his contributions will not go unpunished, with Jere Lipps leading the celebration of Ken's career at our first Fossil Coffee of the year.
Over the summer many have been in the field (including yours truly who found the first ever living specimens of a species of infaunal echinoid, a cassiduloid, that was only known from dead tests), Erica Clites has been consolidating the NSF multi-institutional EPICC digitization project that now begins the 3rd of its 4 years, and we are excited to have just hired Cristina Robins on San Francisco Public Utility Commission's (SFPUC) dime as she reopens the fossil preparation lab so that we can process fossils coming from the Calaveras Dam site. And while Lisa White was teaching teachers on an IODP Expedition in the Equatorial Pacific, Jessica Bean has been forging relationships with HHMI, NOAA, Google, and others as our Understand Global Change web resource nears its launch, with funding coming in part from a very generous $100,000 gift from an anonymous donor. On the Berkeley campus, we now have inspired leadership dealing with the budget challenges, but our State funds continue to dwindle. However, recent gifts have all but secured our ability to support our graduate student research (thanks to all that have given), and so now I am turning my long-term planning to securing the funds needed to maintain our exceptional collections and education and outreach staff - a daunting task, but one we must face head on if we are to secure and continue building on UCMP's legacy.