Alumni speaker, Julianne Cravotto (left), with honors staff and alum, Shelbie Condie (right).
Alumni speaker, Julianne Cravotto (left), with honors staff and alum, Shelbie Condie (right).

A Celebration 50 Years in the Making

by David Furlow, UHP Director

On October 11th and 12th, 2019, the University Honors Program had the distinct pleasure of recognizing the 50th anniversary of the founding of Integrated Studies in 1969, and celebrating its legacy that helped shape, along with the Davis Honors Challenge, the program we have today.

Dear Friends,

We were very excited to welcome back so many legacy program alumni and their friends and families, as well as former staff and faculty to join us at the party. The current UHP staff, faculty, students and I had many wonderful conversations over the weekend with returning alums, whose remembrances, advice, and clear lasting bonds we witnessed with their classmates were most inspirational.

Friday evening, we hosted an alumni dinner reception with memorabilia, slide shows, and welcoming remarks from former Director Jim Shackelford for a little history lesson, from Provost Ralph Hexter on how to consider being “on the edge” as our program continues to evolve, learn and grow, and from one of our most recent alums, Julianne Cravotto, who nicely connected her experiences in the oldest living learning community in the UC system that thrives today in UHP. The UHP community she discussed was still very much apparent among the various IS alumni groups from the 70s through the 2000’s who returned that evening to reconnect with friends and faculty, and share their cherished memories with us.

Saturday morning, I had great fun making the rounds at the various tours held at our UHP partner venues: the Manetti Shrem Museum, where attendees enjoyed a mini-version of Professor Talinn Grigor’s innovative honors class held there, as well as private gallery tours; backstage at the Mondavi Center, with tours accompanied by Professor Beth Levy and friends of Mondavi guides; the Coffee Lab, where Professors Tonya Kuhl and Bill Ristenpart led guests on a roasting and brewing tour de force; and at the TEAM lab to visit with Professors Christina Cogdell and Marc Facciotti about their award-winning BioDesign course, accompanied by recent UHP BioDesign students.

Our concluding event, hosted by IS alum Pamela Wu, was a mixer lunch where IS, DHC, and UHP alums and their guests met with our current students. We enjoyed a visit from Chancellor Gary May, exhorting us to continue to value and strengthen interdisciplinary approaches to problem solving and the rich diversity of our student body in UHP, and Carolyn Thomas’ inspiring words linking what we learned about the heart and soul of IS from its early days to the future of UHP.  The event culminated in (I hope!) a fun and informative (and perhaps not surprisingly, a bit competitive…) round of the Great Integrated Honors Trivia Challenge that came right down to only a point or two separating some intrepid alum-and-student combined teams.

Chancellor Gary May
Chancellor Gary May speaks at Saturday's mixer lunch for the Honors 50th.

On a personal note, it was especially nice for me to meet Nora McGuinness and talk with her about her experiences as IS Director and teaching in the program back to its founding, and as always, comparing notes with Jim Shackelford. Nora and Jim are will be tremendous allies and resources going forward. I also really enjoyed meeting faculty like David Robertson and John Boe, not to mention getting to know Jay Mechling through the planning committee- and hearing their ideas and insights as instructors in the programs over the years, and we’ll be sure to keep learning ever more from them.  I’m also particularly grateful to the UHP and Undergraduate Education staff who worked tirelessly to host such a nice weekend of events for us all: Elysia Ramirez, Shelbie Condie, Candice Boulware, Angelina Herron; UHP students Jessica Ison, Alisha Hacker, and Aislinn Matagulay; UHP Associate Director Eddy Ruiz; and our planning committee of Jim, Jay, Eddy, Pam, Ben Cadranel, Keith Rode, and Raven Barbera who also all joined us at the events over the weekend.

Again, thanks to everyone who attended and to everyone who worked so hard to make it a weekend we’ll long remember! Please feel free to reach out to us anytime and stay in touch, we'd love to hear from you.

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