May 15, 2015

Dear Members of our Campus Community,

UC Santa Barbara is a wellspring of knowledge and discovery, a great research university where breakthroughs in scholarship and discovery happen every day.

But UC Santa Barbara’s true strength lies in the relationships that are forged here, enduring relationships that connect us one to the other and carry us into the future.

We have come here to pursue our dreams and aspirations, following in the footsteps of those who preceded us and leading the way for those who will come after. But however long our time here, whether as undergraduate or graduate students, faculty or staff members, UC Santa Barbara is our home. It is our community and, in many ways, our family.

Next week we will face the anniversary of one of our University’s most difficult moments, when six friends and classmates were taken from us, and nine others were injured. We will mark this anniversary by remembering those who left us much too soon, but we will also celebrate the strength, resilience, and spirit of our community.

We honor the students we lost — George Chen, Katherine Cooper, James Hong, Christopher Michaels-Martinez, David Wang, and Veronika Weiss — as well as those who were injured, and hold them in our hearts. We pay tribute to them in the way we choose to live our lives, whether it’s showing kindness to a classmate or colleague, offering support to someone in need, or rededicating ourselves to our dreams. And we will further honor their memory, now and in the years to come, with six memorial scholarships established in their names, allowing their legacy to live on through future students.

Many remembrances will take place over the next week, including tomorrow’s dedication of the Isla Vista Love & Remembrance Garden. We also will be expanding our counseling services for the week, in addition to counselors who are available 24 hours a day year-round at (805) 893-4411.

I invite you to spend a few moments in the coming week reflecting on our time together at UC Santa Barbara. We all have much to learn, much to contribute to this vibrant academic community, and much to share with one another.

Our community is strong. Our Gaucho family is united. Our light shines brightly, and we will share it with the world.


Henry T. Yang