Volume IV, Issue 8: May 2012


Alumni carry on a campus tradition — the UCI mace

Alumnus holds up mace at commencement
Steve Capps '69, past president and current board member of the UCI Alumni Association, proudly carried the mace at commencement 2006.

When the class of 2012 gathers for commencement June 15-17, each school's procession of deans, distinguished speakers and other dignitaries will be led by a UCI alumnus wielding a mighty staff. The mace has kicked off all graduation exercises and student convocations since the UCI Alumni Association first presented it to the university on May 12, 2000. Carrying it is an honor reserved for association board members as a way to represent all alumni, starting with Debbie Daniel '73, past president and current board member, who first hoisted the mace at commencement 2000.

Like its unusual mascot, the university's mace is one of a kind, notes Jeff Minhas '04, the alumni association's director of programs and chapter development. While the silver orb might be the first thing to catch the eye, the wooden staff has distinctive carving, he says: "It's designed to evoke an anteater snout." More mace facts:

  • The UCI mace measures 2.5 feet tall.
  • Its staff is carved from California oak and inscribed with the names of UCI chancellors.
  • The mace is currently housed at the Phineas Banning Alumni House and will move to the Newkirk Alumni Center when it opens in fall 2012.
  • Since the Middle Ages, a club-shaped staff has been a ceremonial symbol of authority. The U.S. House of Representatives' mace has been in use since 1789, making it one of the oldest symbols of the nation's government. It's used to open all sessions of the House and at presidential inaugurations.

UCI commencement traditions »


American Academy of Arts & Sciences honors two from UCI

Vicki Ruiz
Vicki Ruiz

Vicki Ruiz, dean of humanities and professor of history and Chicano/Latino studies, and Steven A. Frank, professor of ecology & evolutionary biology, have been named 2012 fellows of the American Academy of Arts & Sciences. They are among 220 new fellows and 17 new foreign honorary members elected this year to AAAS. Joining Ruiz and Frank as members of the prestigious organization are film icon Clint Eastwood, Amazon founder Jeffrey Bezos and philanthropist Melinda F. Gates. The 232-year-old academy is one of the nation's most select societies and includes scholars, scientists and business people. Ruiz studies the history of labor, women, immigration and the American West. She helped establish the field of Chicano/Latino studies with her research on Mexican-American women in the U.S. Southwest. Frank's research focuses on the immunology and evolution of infectious diseases and mathematical models of cancer development.

Two from UCI join AAAS »

Senior chosen as a Truman Scholar

Felipe Hernandez holds guitar
Felipe Hernandez

Felipe Hernandez, a senior majoring in music performance and political science, has been selected as a 2012 Truman Scholar. The prestigious award goes to students nationwide who are committed to making a difference in the world, and — true to the spirit of the award — Hernandez learned of the honor while working at the United Way during spring break. In addition to his duties at the charity, he has founded his own nonprofit organization, Mentors Empowering & Nurturing Through Education, that pairs low-income, first-generation minorities with college-student mentors who help them prepare for education beyond high school and stimulate civic engagement, analytical thinking and leadership development.

"UCI senior is named a Truman Scholar" »

Alumnus named 'Asian American Executive of the Year'

Liem Vu
Liem Vu

Liem Vu, '81, M.A. '83, was named Asian American Executive of the Year by the Chinese Institute of Engineers - USA. He is a senior manager with Boeing Defense, Space & Security Weapon Systems Modernization program in Long Beach. Vu, who has 30 years of service with Boeing, currently leads the C-130 AMP Mission Systems integrated product team. He earned a bachelor's and master's in electrical engineering at UCI.

Asian American Executive of the Year »

Social sciences dean earns distinguished professor honors

Barbara Dosher
Barbara Dosher

Barbara Dosher, social sciences dean, has been named Distinguished Professor of Cognitive Sciences. Considered UCI's highest campus-level distinction for faculty, the honor recognizes her 35-year academic career spent studying the distinct forms and processes of attention, memory and perceptual learning, a career which the National Academy of Sciences recognized last year with her induction as a fellow.

Dean recognized »

In memoriam: Michael Martinez

Michael Martinez
Michael Martinez

Michael Martinez, UCI professor of education, died April 5 at the age of 55. He conducted research on science and mathematics learning, as well as on the nature and modifiability of intelligence. While a faculty member at UCI, Martinez was named a Fulbright Scholar to the University of the South Pacific in Fiji (1994-95). He also served as program director for the National Science Foundation (2001-02), managing its role in the Interagency Education Research Initiative. His diverse career path prior to joining UCI's faculty included teaching high school science and developing computer-based assessments in science, architecture and engineering at the Educational Testing Service in Princeton, N.J. Martinez is survived by his wife, Stephanie; four daughters; and two grandchildren. "Professor Martinez has been an inspiration and gift to all of us," said Deborah Vandell, Department of Education professor and chair. "His strength, generous spirit, wisdom and warmth permeated his being. He will be sorely missed."

Michael Martinez remembered »

In memoriam: Lawrence Howard

Lawrence Howard
Lawrence Howard

Lawrence Howard, a retired lecturer in the School of Social Sciences and Department of Cognitive Sciences and a specialist in UCI's Disability Services Center, passed away at his home on March 28. He began teaching courses on the arms race and nuclear conflict while still a graduate student in psychology at UCI in 1983. After completing his doctorate in 1986, he became a junior specialist in social sciences, supported by a grant from the Sloan Foundation, and continued as a lecturer. Long associated with the Center for Global Peace & Conflict Studies, Howard's courses ranged from seminars on nuclear arms and alternative securities to large lecture courses on human memory, people in society and psychology. He retired in January 2010. Recently, he came out of retirement to support the work of the Disability Services Center, which has established a scholarship fund in his name.

Lawrence Howard remembered »