A letter from the Director, May 2012
As this semester comes to a close and we head off for summer "adventures," I find myself once again in a mode of reflection and an awareness of how very special UCMP is and how much we accomplish, considering the size of our staff and resources. Clearly one of the most important challenges facing UCMP is finding ways of sustaining and building our infrastructure, the vital glue that underwrites our more visible activities and achievements. As you are all well aware, the state of California has been steadily divesting itself of its fiscal responsibility for higher education a fact that I was made acutely aware of when UCMP was served a 28% cut in State funding shortly after I signed on as Director, but before I actually arrived on campus. Heady times!
Recognizing that this trend is liable to continue, one of my long-term goals for the Museum is to achieve financial independence of state funds. On the shorter term, we have all been working hard to make up budget shortfalls with new sources of external funding and are happy to announce two recent successes: a large NSF Collections Improvement grant to re-house the remaining portion of the USGS Menlo Park collection, and a grant from Caltrans, which will help to pay for a Senior Museum Scientist to re-open our fossil preparation lab. This new hire will have the added value of regaining the ability to train our students in the art of fossil preparation and conservation.
But ultimately to achieve financial independence, we will need to double our current endowment a lofty goal, but not unrealistic. Already the generous help from UCMP friends and supporters, like you, have helped us to weather the current economic storm, and with continued support, the future holds great promise. Your additional thoughts and ideas for attaining our financial goals are always welcome. With your help we hope to be able to make you even prouder of UCMP!
Photo by Jennifer Skene