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Wednesday, April 27, 2011

My personal connection to Undercover Boss


You may not know this, but our family has a special relationship with the University of California at Riverside.

It probably started more than 20 years ago, when my mother, Frieda, was asked to serve on the Chancellor’s Advisory Committee when Dr. Ray Orbach was Chancellor. Ray is a rocket scientist (for real), who became Chancellor and was so smart and reached out to the agricultural community in Southern California to make sure his university stayed relevant. He invited my mother to serve on his Chancellor’s Advisory Committee on Agriculture and a real connection was born.

Ray has since moved on to the University of Texas in Austin where he is doing fantastic work. And his legacy at UCR continues, as a new library was dedicated in his name two years ago: The Raymond L. Orbach Science Libarary.


On the occasion of that dedication, my mother asked me to accompany her. Much to my surprise, we were also invited to a very private dinner at the Chancellor’s House, following the dedication.

Current Chancellor Tim White (and his gracious wife, Karen) invited us into their home and with about a dozen other people (including Ray and Eva Orbach), we enjoyed a lovely dinner and an incredible connection to the University was born for me.

Each Friday, I get a personally written update (really it’s a blog) on what’s on Tim’s mind and what’s happening at UCR. UCR has a hand in so much relevant research, cutting edge technologies and the economy of the Inland Empire, that each week I find myself captivated and inspired by his personally written blog.

So when I received a note a few weeks ago, from the Associate Chancellor, Cindy Giorgio (another dear friend), letting me know that Tim had gone “under cover” and was going to be featured on one of my favorite television shows, "Undercover Boss" on May 1, I was so excited!

To many people, UC Riverside is “that school in the Inland Empire”… and may not be thought of as the great institution that it has become. (I was there visiting the UC Riverside Citrus Variety Collection just last month and was amazed at how much the school has grown.)

Many of us only know university leaders by seeing their names on letterhead mentioned in newspapers. With my introduction to the person, Chancellor Tim White, I got a completely different perspective.

Tim is a real guy. He gets frustrated. Like all of us, he does not have complete control over his professional life and sometimes feels like he has to put out more fires than he gets to build. And he is a caring guy, committed not only to the university, but to the students, the faculty and to the greater good.

I hope you’ll check out this CBS final episode of "Undercover Boss" at 9 p.m. (8 p.m. Central) on Sunday, May 1, and feel free to let me know what you think of him!

Karen

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