Gov. Davis on hand to break ground for new buildings

Gov. Gray Davis and Qualcomm founder Irwin Jacobs broke ground on UCSD’s two new two engineering buildings in a ceremony held at Earl Warren College on May 31 in front of a crowd of over 330 students, politicians, UCSD faculty and entrepreneurs.

Anna MacMurdo

Davis and Jacobs, along with UC President Richard Atkinson and UCSD Chancellor Robert Dynes, dedicated the California Institute for Telecommunications and Information Technology and the Computer Science and Engineering Building by digging the first few shovels of dirt at the Warren construction site after a number of short speeches.

“”Each time we break ground on a new campus building, I believe we lay a foundation for new ideas and for new generations of learners,”” Dynes said.

The speakers concentrated primarily on the UC’s partnerships with corporations like Qualcomm, on UCSD’s technological research and on its impact on the economy.

Anna MacMurdo

“”[California’s economy] can’t live off Silicon Valley forever,”” Davis said. “”The best way to drive the economy is to invest in research universities.””

Davis and Atkinson both cited Forbes Magazine’s recent ranking of San Diego as the best American city in which to do business, with the most diversified economy.

“”Out of 10 cities on chosen, six were in California,”” Davis said.

While acknowledging Silicon Valley’s leading role in California’s economy, Davis briefly alluded to a more diversified plan for the future.

“”My vision is not of one Silicon Valley, but many Silicon Valleys, each propelling scientific breakthroughs, cutting-edge jobs and cutting-edge industries,”” Davis said.

When Atkinson first approached Davis with the proposal to expand UCSD, Davis expected two-to-one matching funds from the university.

“”I explained [matching funds] would be difficult to achieve, but in hindsight, the governor was right,”” Atkinson said. “”We achieved almost three-to-one matching funds, due in large part to money received from California industries.””

The chief donor was San Diego-based Qualcomm Corporation and Irwin and Joan Jacobs — the company’s founder and his wife.

Irwin Jacobs explained how he and his company became involved with UCSD’s expansion.

“”After hearing the need for two-to-one matching funds, we discussed it at Qualcomm and decided to give a gift of $15 million to Cal-(IT)2 to bridge the digital divide,”” Irwin Jacobs said.

Irwin Jacobs demonstrated a new cellular phone during his speech, using it to take a digital photo of the audience.

“”I can’t possibly give a talk without showing off at least one device,”” he said.

Sixteen-year old Warren freshman, Jacobs School Scholar and Cal-(IT)2 fellow Ezekiel Bhasker also mounted the podium to make a speech and cue the official groundbreaking.

“”When I came to UCSD, I did so because I recognized it was one of the finest universities — one of the finest research institutions — in the country,”” Bhasker said. “”This groundbreaking means a lot to me because I’m a part of the Jacobs School of Engineering and Cal-(IT)2.””

The interest in expanding UCSD instead of other schools arises from UCSD being “”arguably the fastest-growing research university in the galaxy,”” Davis said.

The governor continued, “”UCSD is eighth in the nation, and in California, second only to UC Berkeley. Things happen faster at UCSD and they happen better.””

Not all attendees were pleased with the governor’s visit and the ceremony, citing a lack of emphasis on undergraduates and a recently proposed California budget that cuts $162 million from the University of California, including a $32 million cut to research programs.

UCSD student David Fischer denounced the emphasis on graduate research and corporate influence.

“”I think this is hurting us through undergraduate education,”” Fischer said. “”[Cal-(IT)2] is an example of corporations getting their interests into the universities, trying to get us out of college and into the corporate sector faster.””

Other students were more optimistic, especially with the presence of Davis.

“”It is great to see the governor as such a huge part in the expansion at this campus,”” said College Democrats President and Revelle College Senior Senator Amy Uyeshima. “”I really feel like Gray Davis thinks that UCSD has the potential of greatness. His visit to our campus demonstrated his expectation of my generation and energized our campus.””