Fear the snout? Better fear those claws. Two giant anteaters, real-life cousins of UCI's famed mascot Peter, made their debut April 17 at the Santa Ana Zoo, impressing visitors with their long, sticky tongues and bearlike paws. Transported from Guyana at a cost of $20,000 each, the anteaters spent a year adjusting to their new home before going on public display at the opening of the zoo's $1.1 million Tierra de las Pampas grasslands habitat. UCI alumni helped raise $20,000 for the right to name the 150-pound male Peter. "As an alumnus, this is my proudest moment — to have our mascot here in Orange County," says Kent Yamaguchi '83 and '84, zoo director and a UCI Alumni Association vice president.
The largest fundraising effort in Orange County history has passed its midpoint — reaching $512 million in March on the way to its $1 billion goal. Spearheaded by the UC Irvine Foundation, the Shaping the Future campaign strives to generate private support for undergraduate scholarships and graduate fellowships to help students who meet UCI's rigorous academic admission standards but cannot afford to attend or continue their studies here. So far, the campaign has funded more than 2,000 scholarships.
UCI has earned a Green California Leadership Award for ZotWheels, the first automated bike-sharing program in the state and the second at a U.S. university. UCI's Parking & Transportation Services department launched ZotWheels last fall as an alternative to driving a personal or fleet vehicle to, from and around campus. Students, staff and faculty members can rent a bike from one of four strategically located stations, ride it, and then return it to any station — reducing traffic congestion, the demand for parking, and the campus's carbon footprint.
UCI has been awarded nearly $13 million from the National Institutes of Health to build a research center in its new stem cell building. The 17,400-square-foot facility in Sue & Bill Gross Hall: A CIRM Institute will accelerate the translation of basic science discoveries into new treatments for human disease. "This funding, provided by the American Recovery & Reinvestment Act, also will create hundreds of jobs and provide a significant boon to the local economy," said Peter Donovan, director of the Sue & Bill Gross Stem Cell Research Center.