UCI Magazine Spring 2018 -- The Arts

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Spring 2018




Anteaters in the Mist On a foggy morning, students cross the elevated walkway over West Peltason Drive, which connects the arts complex with the humanities buildings and is dubbed “bounce bridge� for its earthquake-resistant design elements.


Steve SteveChang Zylius / UCI


Spring 2018 Vol. 3, No. 2

The Arts

18 14 Artistic Exposure: Students learn to better see themselves and the world around them through the lens of popular arts and culture initiative

State of the Art: Two landmark gifts of paintings and sculpture enchant the art world and resurrect plans for a campus museum









About This Issue: In this edition of UCI Magazine, we spotlight how the campus is a true hub for cultivating “The Arts.” Our cover story, “State of

the Art” (page 18), details how two landmark gifts of paintings and sculpture have formed the foundation for the new UCI Institute and Museum for California Art. In “Artistic Exposure” (page 14), we explore how UCI students are benefiting from Illuminations: The Chancellor’s Arts & Culture Initiative, while in “The UCI Company” (page 34), you’ll learn about a robust drama program that has catapulted alumni to Broadway in myriad roles both onstage and behind the scenes. And finally, “In Perfect Harmony” (page 28) describes how a professor and UCI music students are mentoring Santa Ana High School teens, pushing them to achieve in music, school and life.

On the Cover: Woman Seated at a Table in the Shade, by Roland Petersen (1969); oil on canvas, 31½ x 16¾ inches; from The Buck Collection at the UCI Institute and Museum for California Art


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34 28

In Perfect Harmony: By adopting Santa Ana High School, the UCI Symphony Orchestra has composed an outreach program that is “bigger than music”







The UCI Company: A successful and wide-ranging

arts program means a growing number of alumni are thriving on Broadway



Spring 2018


Letters to the Editor

UCI Magazine Vol. 3, No. 2

Winter 2018: “Gateway to Invention”

Chancellor Howard Gillman

Thank you for your winter 2018 issue of UCI Magazine, “Gateway to Invention.” I was so impressed by the incredible entrepreneurs and your support of such levels of innovation, as well as the national recognition of your many areas of outstanding scholarship and expertise. When I received my first two degrees from UCI (English and biological sciences), it was a new campus – just some buildings scattered among newly planted trees. It’s amazing to see what the campus has become since then! I received a firm foundation at UCI for my ultimate career, advanced practice psychiatric nursing. You make me proud to be an Anteater alum! Elizabeth Munsat Anthony ’67, ’72 Chapel Hill, N.C.

.................................. In your winter 2018 issue, there was a news brief entitled “Protecting the Principles of Free Speech” that contained this sentence: “The UC National Center for Free Speech … will explore how the fundamental democratic principles of free speech … must adapt to the challenges and opportunities of modern society.” The statement “principles of free speech … must adapt to … modern society” is extremely chilling. Free speech is what it is, and other than not yelling “fire” in a crowded theater or committing perjury, it should not be bound or adapted to any time or place. I fear the intention of this center is more conformity to liberal orthodoxy and less consideration of the viewpoints and opinions of others, regardless of how uncomfortable those ideas might be.

Free speech must remain free, not “adapted” to the consensus of the moment; otherwise it cannot serve as one guardian of a free society.

Produced by the University of California, Irvine Office of Strategic Communications & Public Affairs

Associate Chancellor, Strategic Communications & Public Affairs Ria Carlson Executive Director, University Communications Tracey Kincaid

Chris Weakley ’97 Canton, Conn.

Managing Editor Marina Dundjerski


Design Vince Rini Design

I enjoyed reading Megan Cole’s piece “The Gig Economy.” While the term may be new, the concept is not. Many of us participated in a “gig economy” during the dismal recession of the 1970s and early ’80s. Part-time staffing and the loss of traditional jobs with benefits and pensions were well underway during the era of gas lines and doubledigit inflation. What may be different now is that, according to a recent NPR “Marketplace” report, 1 in 4 people are part of the gig economy, which reportedly accounts for 90 percent of the country’s wage growth over the last 10 years. This is not a turbulent or transitory time; this is the new normal. The millennial-aged engineering interns from UC San Diego that work with me have unanimously told me that a four-year college degree is the new high school diploma, which is why they’re taking on the added expense of pursuing an M.S. Whether the gig economy continues to grow or shrinks with an aging population is unknown. Equally unclear is whether its growth represents a benefit to society or is an indicator of decline. Richard Blethen ’77 Vista

Visuals Steve Chang and Steve Zylius Copy Editor Kymberly Doucette Editorial Advisory Committee Jennie Brewton, Jaime DeJong (arts), Sandy Jones, Will Nagel, Janna Parris (advancement), Ryan Smith and Janet Wilson Contributing Writers Cathy Lawhon, Rosemary McClure, Roy Rivenburg, Shari Roan and Jim Washburn Digital Media Kien Lai and Laura Rico Contact Have a comment or suggestion? Address correspondence to: UCI Magazine UCI Office of Strategic Communications & Public Affairs 120 Theory, Ste. 100 Irvine, CA 92697-5615 949-824-6922 • ucimagazine@uci.edu communications.uci.edu/magazine UCI Magazine is a publication for faculty, staff, alumni, students, parents, community members and UCI supporters. Issues are published in winter, spring and fall. To receive the electronic version of UCI Magazine, email a request to ucimagazine@uci.edu. UCI Magazine is printed with soy-based inks on a recycled paper stock certified by the Forest Stewardship Council. Please recycle.

We Want to Hear From You When submitting a letter to the editor, please include your full name, UCI graduation year or affiliation (if applicable), mailing address, city of residence, phone number and email address. Submissions that do not include this information cannot be published. Contact information is for verification purposes only – not for publication or commercial use. Letters should be 150 words or less and may be edited. They become the property of UCI/the UC Board of Regents and may be republished in any format.


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To submit a letter via email, send to: ucimagazine@uci.edu Include “Letters to the Editor: UCI Magazine” in the subject line. To submit a letter via U.S. mail, send to: Letters to the Editor UCI Magazine UCI Office of Strategic Communications & Public Affairs 120 Theory, Ste. 100 Irvine, CA 92697-5615

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s FIAT LUX y, Sweeney/Rubin Ansel Adam rnia Museum of Photograph Ansel Adams, UCR/Califo

rnia, Riverside Collection, University of Califo

Playing in the Park


n anticipation of the University of California’s centennial in 1968, UC President Clark Kerr commissioned Ansel Adams to document the system’s campuses, including the newly rising UCI. Adams first visited the campus in spring 1964, when, he said, “there was nothing at Irvine but a few skeletal piers.” Adams returned in December 1966, about a year after the school’s opening. Robert Cohen, chair of the Department of Drama, invited the photographer to observe a student rehearsal for the upcoming production of “Oedipus Tyrannus.” Rather than take to the stage, Cohen (standing in center) took the actors out to Founders’ Rock in what is now Aldrich Park, and Adams captured the moment forever. In a sign of the times, the rehearsal also drew some unwanted attention. “A curious thing happened that afternoon when a police car drove right up onto the park’s grass and its driver ran up to me and asked if this was a strange religious event,” Cohen recalls. “A professor in the adjacent building had seen us through his window and called for the police to check it out. When he learned what we were doing, the policeman drove away, quite embarrassed.”

Spring 2018



“When I looked past the headlines and at the data, I usually found no association between time spent online and mental health for most teens. When there was a link, it was tiny, with an unclear relationship between cause and effect.” Candice Odgers, professor of psychology & social behavior Fortune April 6, 2018



Under the Stars

Paul Kennedy

The New Swan Shakespeare Festival is back for its seventh season, running from July 5 through Sept. 1. The pair of plays featured this summer in the modular, open-air, Elizabethan-style theater-in-the-round are “A Midsummer Night’s Dream,” directed by Eli Simon, and “The Winter’s Tale,” directed by Beth Lopes. For more info, go to http://newswanshakespeare.com.


UCI Libraries, Special Collections & Archives

Titania is surrounded by her fairies in this rare photograph of UCI’s first Shakespearean production: “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” Taken during the Department of Drama’s second season in 1966, the photo is on display in “Costuming the Leading Ladies of Shakespeare: From Stratford to Orange County,” which runs through September in Langson Library. The exhibit also features items from fabled Polish-born actress Helena Modjeska, who moved to Orange County in 1876.

Artistic Anteaters Students, alumni and retirees mingle and get hands-on experience in creating their own art at the Make N Take table during UCI’s Homecoming Festival on March 3. The intergenerational activity was part of the Art in the Park event, which also showcased the painting, jewelry and poetry of talented Anteaters and was co-sponsored by the UCI Center for Emeriti & Retirees.


Christopher Todd Studios


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The Need for Speed

Olivier Beroud Images

Matt McMurry, 20, is racing his way through college – sometimes at 210 mph. When he’s not studying at UCI for his aerospace engineering degree, the sophomore is traveling across the U.S. and abroad, participating in more than 20 events per year in the International Motor Sports Association WeatherTech SportsCar Championship series. McMurry, who drives for the team owned by Jim France (also vice chairman of NASCAR), raced last year in the prestigious 24 Hours of Le Mans, a daylong, 8-mile loop near the town of Le Mans, France. He was at the wheel 40 percent of the race, and his three-member team, driving under the Algarve Pro banner, placed 15th out of 59 entries. Here, he undergoes preseason testing in April at the Circuit Paul Ricard in Le Castellet, France. McMurry, who started racing go-carts at the age of 4 and cars at 12, says that there is definitely some crossover with his studies. “While you’re not allowed to develop the car, there are a lot of settings you can tweak – gear ratios, springs or aerodynamic changes – to be able to go that fast,” he says. “Half of racing is engineering.”


Spring 2018


Humanities Dean Appointed

Philanthropic Role Model Honored

Distinguished literary scholar and author Tyrus Miller will join UCI as dean of the School of Humanities, effective July 1. Currently vice provost and dean of graduate studies at UC Santa Cruz, Miller was chosen to replace Georges Van Den Abbeele, who will return to his faculty position at the end of his term as dean. “The concerns at the heart of the humanities – from our shared stories and histories to the languages, texts, images and concepts in which we express them – have never been more relevant than in today’s world,” Miller said. “UCI’s School of Humanities is a place where the future of humanistic study is being defined today: in its research, its teaching and its public engagement. It’s thrilling to have the chance to lead the school and experience that future together with this extraordinary community of scholars and students.”

The UCI Alumni Association bestowed its highest honor, the Lauds & Laurels Extraordinarius award, upon Steve Borowski ’79 for his philanthropic and volunteer work for the university. After earning a bachelor’s degree at UCI’s School of Social Sciences and an MBA at Pepperdine University in 1984, Borowski was a managing partner at Palley-Needelman Asset Management Inc. and a co-founder and managing partner at Metropolitan West Capital Management LLC before becoming president of Aristotle Capital Management LLC. Over the years, Borowski has served as chair of UCI’s School of Social Sciences Dean’s Council, a founding member and chair of the school’s Board of Councilors, an executive adviser for the campus’s Center for Economics & Public Policy, a member of the Anteater Athletic Fund board and a member of the Athletic Director’s Advisory Board. In addition to his university leadership, Borowski is on the boards of such nonprofits as the Blind Children’s Center in Los Angeles and the Orange County Youth Sports Foundation. Bill Maurer, dean of UCI’s School of Social Sciences, called Borowski “a stalwart community member and role model for all.”


Free Speech Advocate Selected Michelle Deutchman, a civil rights advocate and scholar with more than a decade of experience advancing free speech as an attorney and instructor, has been named the first executive director of the University of California’s National Center for Free Speech and Civic Engagement. Deutchman joined the center from the Anti-Defamation League, where, as national campus counsel, she provided guidance to ADL’s 24 regional offices on matters related to speech on college campuses. She began her new role on May 29, reporting to UCI Chancellor Howard Gillman, who – as co-chair of its advisory board – is responsible for administrative oversight of the center. “The National Center for Free Speech and Civic Engagement is developing into a vital resource advancing research, education and advocacy in these areas so key to American democracy, and Michelle will provide the leadership essential to its future success,” said UC President Janet Napolitano.


“After at least 50 years of continuous Mexican migration into Southern California, Spanish appears to draw its last breath in the third generation.” Ruben Rumbaut, Distinguished Professor of sociology The Economist March 28, 2018


Alumnus to Head CSU Campus Thomas A. Parham ’77 has been selected as the eighth president of California State University, Dominguez Hills and will join the South Bay campus in late June. Known affectionately as “Dr. P.,” Parham has been UCI’s vice chancellor for student affairs since 2011. Prior to that, he served as assistant vice chancellor for counseling and health services, director of the Counseling Center and director of the Career & Life Planning Center, among other positions. An adjunct member of the UCI faculty, he is a nationally respected psychologist and past president of the Association of Black Psychologists. Parham, who earned a bachelor’s degree in social ecology at UCI, “has been a mainstay of our campus for 33 years, influencing generations of students to make the most of every opportunity and achieve to their potential,” said UCI Chancellor Howard Gillman. Parham said of his appointment: “There is no greater blessing in life, next to being a parent, than being entrusted with the intellectual and personal growth and development of students. … This is a time of growth and opportunity for the university, and there are many exciting challenges that lay ahead at CSUDH.”



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By Design

Three of L.A.’s most iconic destinations have Anteater roots

“Urban Light” started with two old street lamps purchased at a flea market. Eventually, Chris Burden, M.F.A. ’71, amassed 202 antique road lights. Now located outside the Los Angeles County Museum of Art, the forest of illumination has popped up in movies, a beer commercial, music videos, and countless wedding photos and selfies.

Courtesy of Metro (Los Angeles County Metropolitan Transportation Authority)

Robert Irwin, who lectured at UCI from 1968 to 1972 and headed the art department’s graduate program, is an installation artist whose perception-bending work influenced the light and space movement. In the early 1990s, he began designing the Getty Center’s Central Garden, a multihued maze of walkways, water and plants that has enchanted millions.

Beneath L.A.’s fabled Hollywood and Vine intersection, Gilbert “Magu” Lujan, M.F.A. ’73, teamed with architect Adolfo Miralles on a movie-themed Metro Red Line subway station. “Hooray for Hollywood” premiered in 1999 with a ceiling of film reels, cartoonish car benches, old movie projectors and 240 hand-glazed art tiles.

Spring 2018



Italy Sperlonga


Italian Siren A choreographer’s artform translates a meaningful story through dance. And Koryn Wicks, M.F.A. ’17, found her tale in Italy. With a team from UCI’s Department of Dance, Wicks traveled to Rome and the seaside town of Sperlonga to create “Embodied Ecology,” an interdisciplinary project funded in part by a fellowship from UCI’s OCEANS Initiative and the Claire Trevor School of the Arts. Here, in Sperlonga, Wicks partnered with Katie Summers ’16 (right) to research how the introduction of water affects a dancer’s rhythm – and capture it on camera. The costume, a simple blue chiffon skirt, mimics the rippling effects of water through its light texture and layering. Wicks worked with her professors to devise a multimedia component. And collaborating with musicians, programmers and dancers, she ultimately brought her project to life onstage at UCI in a performance that transported the audience to the Mediterranean coast. “The trip empowered me to develop my voice as an intermedia artist,” Wicks says. “I was able to develop a piece that was interesting as a dance and true to the scientific research inspiring it.”


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Koryn Wicks

Spring 2018



P E R S P E C T I V E James Irvine Swinden Chairman, UCI Institute and Museum for California Art advisory board UCI Foundation trustee

Steve Zylius / UCI

A California Art Apostle Running an art museum was not something James Irvine Swinden ever imagined. When his mother, Joan Irvine Smith, began feverishly collecting California impressionist artwork in the early 1990s, Swinden was happily operating a 12-acre botanical garden on the island of Kauai. So when she asked him to help set up a museum to showcase the pieces, he figured it was a temporary project. Instead, he soon became president and chief champion of The Irvine Museum, which debuted in 1993 to promote California plein-air painting, an outdoor style that focuses on light and color. Over the last quarter-century, Swinden has devoted himself to the genre, taking numerous works across the U.S. and even overseas. Two years ago, the museum donated its permanent collection – a 1,200-piece assemblage that includes


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canvases by Franz Bischoff, William Wendt and Guy Rose – to UCI. Until the new UCI Institute and Museum for California Art is built, Swinden continues to shepherd The Irvine Museum’s exhibits, traveling shows and coffeetable books. He also gives talks about the collection. A lawyer and businessman by training (with degrees from Loyola Law School and the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School), the fifth-generation Californian revels in telling behind-the-scenes stories about the museum’s artists. On a recent afternoon, surrounded by paintings in his 12th-floor Irvine office, Swinden – who also chairs the advisory board for UCI’s future museum – sat down with UCI Magazine writer Roy Rivenburg to discuss art, ecology and Hawaii hurricanes.

Q: In 2002, The Irvine Museum organized the first tour of California impressionist art in Europe. What was it like bringing the Golden State’s version of the genre to its birthplace? When we arrived in Paris, the head curator [of the Mona Bismarck Foundation Museum] was bubbling over with enthusiasm for the show. I was a little uneasy and asked her, “How can you be so confident about it?” She replied, “You see the two gentlemen over there who are installing your art for us? They’re the two best installers in Paris.” I said, “Well, at least we know the paintings will be properly hung.” She said, “No, no, you don’t understand. They just finished installing a Matisse and a Picasso show at the Musée d’Orsay, and they like your stuff better.” We broke attendance records at all three museums we went to [in Paris; Krakow, Poland; and Madrid]. It was great fun. Q: You weren’t wild about art before launching The Irvine Museum. What changed your attitude? Although I grew up surrounded by great art – my mother and grandmother had significant collections of Asian art and British sporting art – I never thought a whole lot about the works. They were just there. And when I went to college, I primarily thought I would go into real estate. During law school, I bought and renovated my first commercial property. I was highly successful in that field and later went on to purchase a botanical garden in Hawaii. I expanded its collection of tropical plants, focusing on protecting endangered species, and opened the house for tours. But financially, after two hurricanes [including a record-shattering 1992 typhoon that toppled 100 trees on the property], it didn’t quite work out. My interest in art began when I was brought in to handle the financial and legal aspects of the museum. As I became more and more involved, it became a passion. I even started my own collection of California impressionism. Q: What led your mother to create a museum devoted to California plein-air painting? After collecting over 4,000 works in about a two-year span, she began to think about sharing them with the public, not only for their artistic merit, but as a way to create environmental awareness and inspire stewardship of California’s beauty and natural resources. Many of the paintings show California in a very pristine state. In some instances, those areas do not exist anymore. It’s a powerful message to people. Q: What’s your favorite piece in the collection? There are several that resonate with me. One is by

William Ritschel: a nocturne of the sardine fleet coming back into Monterey Bay. Not only is it a great impressionist painting, but it speaks to how an industry self-destructed in about 10 years by overfishing. So it conveys the environmental message we like people to think about. Q: You’re known for telling stories about artists. Whose background most intrigues you? Granville Redmond. At age 2, he contracted scarlet fever and became deaf. He then chose not to speak for the rest of his life. After studying art in Paris, he returned to California, befriended Charlie Chaplin and decided to try acting. Chaplin put him in several films but ultimately realized Redmond was a much better painter than actor and became a patron of his artwork.

“Many of the paintings show California in a very pristine state. In some instances, those areas do not exist anymore. It’s a powerful message to people.”

Q: Were you excited to hear that The Irvine Museum Collection will be joined by a newer gift to UCI, Gerald Buck’s trove of California art? Yes, the two collections enhance each other; their combination makes both more important. One thing I find interesting is that some of the paintings in my mother’s collection were purchased from Gerald Buck. So we’ve come full circle. Q: You said your mother originally had 4,000 paintings. What happened to the ones that weren’t donated to UCI? Some have been “de-accessed,” a fancy museum term for “sold.” Others are still in our private collections. About three and a half years ago, I started thinking about the sustainability of our collection and what the best purpose was for it. It seemed natural that it should go to the university my mother helped found. Q: What impact will a campus museum have on UCI? It takes the university to another, higher level. Art is one of humanity’s most significant endeavors. Throughout history, when you go back, almost everything disappears. Languages disappear, cultures disappear. But art and architecture last.

Spring 2018


Artistic Exposure Students learn to better see themselves and the world around them through the lens of popular arts and culture initiative By Cathy Lawhon Hamlet had a good attorney. The charge was first-degree murder in the death of Polonius, so it behooved the prince to get L. Song Richardson on his side. She’s dean of the UCI School of Law, and her trial experience includes defending people against charges of everything from petty theft to aggravated triple murder. The prosecutor was no slouch either. Richardson went up against the law school’s founding dean (now dean of UC Berkeley’s School of Law), Erwin Chemerinsky, who has argued before the U.S. Supreme Court. “I don’t know how I got into this,” Richardson said in early spring as the April 11 trial date loomed, “but I’m looking forward to it. I have to keep my defense strategy top secret; I don’t want to give Erwin any extra advantage. Prosecutors already have all the advantages, you know.”


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Julia Reinhard Lupton, UCI professor of English, may have a clearer idea how this all came about. She and colleagues from the Claire Trevor School of the Arts drafted the cast of “The Hamlet Trial,” one of about 100 projects funded this year by UCI Illuminations: The Chancellor’s Arts & Culture Initiative, which Lupton directs. “The best lawyers use drama skills in court all the time, to tell a story in their own voice that the jury can understand,” Lupton says. “We were very fortunate to have two stars on board.” Playing to a sold-out crowd of 750 at the Irvine Barclay Theatre, the dramatized trial fulfilled Illuminations’ goals of interdisciplinary undergraduate education, community involvement and good entertainment. The schools of humanities, arts and law collaborated

on the production. U.S. District Judge Andrew Guilford oversaw the proceedings, and audience members – many of them from the public at large – constituted the jury. Actors from UCI’s drama department performed soliloquies from “Hamlet” while votes were tallied. And the verdict? “That it should come to this!” Hamlet was found not guilty.

‘Being True to Myself’ Now in its fourth year, Illuminations exposes Anteaters to aspects of the arts they might not otherwise have an opportunity to appreciate. Concerts, art exhibits, author lectures and theatrical shows held on campus are free to all undergraduates. Most of these are organized by professors and funded by Illuminations grants of up to $3,000. In this academic year alone, the initiative has served more than 9,000 ticket holders. “It’s been so fun being able to bring together the students with the faculty and their research and the community,” Lupton says. “The campus events highlight the creativity and original art being created here at UCI.” Bianca Nicole Petrescu, a senior majoring in psychology & social behavior, attended one such art exhibit,

“Neuralscapes,” that she admits confused her at first. But then she had an insight. “There were a bunch of watercolor paintings that resembled biological diagrams of neurological components of the human body,” Petrescu says. “The more I analyzed each piece, the more I realized that the artists’ motive was to turn science into art. In reality, our biological makeup is just nature’s art. The exhibit definitely had the potential to relate to people at UCI, since a majority are science majors.” That’s part of what Chancellor Howard Gillman envisioned for Illuminations. “Making the arts a deeper and more pervasive part of the student experience reinforces the sheer joy of creation and discovery that is at the heart of all academic inquiry and expression,” he says. “We are highlighting the fundamental contributions made by the creative arts to our understanding of the world and our place in it, and that enables our students to grow in ways unavailable to them in any single field of study.” The Illuminations Authors Series, another cornerstone of the initiative, has featured Emily St. John Mandel, Viet Thanh Nguyen, Colson Whitehead and Alice Sebold, among others.

Facing page: UCI drama students perform in “The Service Workers Project,” a new community engagement play with original music that portrays the struggles and successes of employees on campus. Above left: Showing no hard feelings after Hamlet is found not guilty of first-degree murder in a 327-310 verdict are (from left) U.S. District Judge Andrew Guilford, who presided over the trial; UCI School of Law Dean L. Song Richardson, who defended Hamlet; and UCI School of Law founding Dean Erwin Chemerinksy, who played the prosecutor. Above right: Professional actor Zak Houston, M.F.A. ’15 (Hamlet), and Richard Brestoff (Polonius) and Cynthia Bassham (Gertrude) of UCI’s Department of Drama (from left) bring the play to life at the Irvine Barclay Theatre.

Spring 2018


“Many of the authors that we’ve had on campus have written books that are used in the UCI curriculum,” Lupton says. “When students are able to hear from the authors directly, it makes the experience of reading deeper and more meaningful.” Joan Hyun-A Park, a senior majoring in psychology & social behavior, was most impressed by novelist Angie Thomas, author of The Hate U Give. “Her opening speech and the inspiration for the novel were so emotionally driven and influential for today’s generation,” Park says. “Being true to myself is something I struggle with, but Thomas’ message taught me I should never be afraid to be who I am.” Students also travel to premier local venues such as Segerstrom Center for the Arts and South Coast Repertory that are among Illuminations’ community partners. Lily Li, a graduate student researcher in developmental & cell biology, found “Cambodian Rock Band” at the repertory “unexpectedly moving and eye-opening.” “It made me think more about my relationship with my parents and introduced me to some really cool music and important history,” she says. “Illuminations makes it possible for me to see and experience so many things outside the sometimes narrow context of school.”

UCI English professor Julia Reinhard Lupton is faculty director of Illuminations: The Chancellor’s Arts & Culture Initiative.

“Exactly!” Lupton says. “These venues and opportunities were always here, but students didn’t feel like they belonged to them. Now we open doors for them, and they can feel the arts at their fingertips, which enhances their lives.” In some cases, it becomes their lives. Victoria Zepeda, a fourth-year drama major, immersed herself in the arts this year when she stepped up to direct the Brown Bag Theater Co.’s spring production, “Ni de Aquí, Ni de Allá” (“Neither Here, Nor There”).

A student gets her copy of The Underground Railroad signed by its author, Pulitzer Prize winner Colson Whitehead, after a public book reading and Q&A in the UCI Student Center.


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The drama group, which gives voice to Latinx themes and actors, wrote an original script from interviews with UCI first-generation and “Dreamer” students and staged the play with Illuminations funding, says drama professor Lonnie Alcaraz, the theater company’s adviser. “Nobody was coming forward to direct,” he recalls, “so Victoria decided she’d give it a try. And she has become a real force to be reckoned with.” Zepeda laughs at the description but admits the job was demanding. She worked with drama student script writers Marco Antonio Miranda and Amilcar Jauregui, auditioned and directed actors, and collaborated with set designers. Finding and mining the student stories was also a challenge. “In this political environment, students hesitated to come forward,” Zepeda says. “But what I’ve learned through all this is that we all have beautiful, valid stories. Outreach through UCI’s Dreamers Resource Center and Cross-Cultural Center eventually yielded compelling tales that Zepeda hopes help create understanding. “I want people to be able to see through a lot of the twisting that goes on in politics and the media. What many people see is not who we are as individuals. We may come from different countries or areas, but we can still relate with compassion.” Zepeda and her undergraduate colleagues benefitted from graduate student mentors in staging the play. Kelly Musgrove, an M.F.A. candidate in the Claire Trevor School of the Arts’ stage management emphasis, did stints in the military and the corporate world before discovering her love of theater. She got involved with Brown Bag, she says, and “basically refused to leave.”

In “Yerma,” a UCI production of dramatist Federico García Lorca’s tragedy, students retell the story retaining as much of the original Spanish as possible.

“Illuminations makes it possible for me to see and experience so many things outside the sometimes

narrow context of school.”

“This is great learning for undergrads, and it’s not all about the fun side of drama,” she says. “We work with numbers and facts in grant writing and learn to be better speakers, better managers and diplomats and how to talk to people with all different personalities. And we couldn’t do this without the funding we get from Illuminations.”

Culinary Traditions The Illuminations initiative seeks to open hearts and minds through the arts in other ways as well. The Illuminations Student Rush program, which buys open seats for students just before showtime, provides chances to attend the New Swan Shakespeare Festival plays produced each summer at UCI. This year, the season will run from July

5 through Sept. 1 and feature “The Winter’s Tale” and “A Midsummer Night’s Dream.” The very popular Conversation Kitchen events, in which participants gather in the teaching kitchen at the Anteater Recreation Center and learn about food and cultural traditions in conflict zones around the world, will continue, with funding from Illuminations. And after the successful staging of “The Hamlet Trial,” the smart money is on another Shakespearean courtroom showdown next year. Says Lupton, “there’s a host of other nefarious characters waiting in the docket: Iago, Shylock, Lady Macbeth. … I can’t wait to see who’s up next.”

Spring 2018



State of the

Steve Zylius / UCI

Two landmark gifts of paintings and sculpture enchant the art world and resurrect forgotten plans for a campus museum By Roy Rivenburg


nside an unmarked Los Angeles warehouse, a woman wearing disposable purple gloves uses a $300 specialized flashlight to pore over every inch of a crayon portrait. Framed by towering racks of artwork, she’s inspecting and inventorying a long-hidden stash of 3,200 paintings and statues bequeathed to UCI by Orange County developer Gerald Buck. The collection, a who’s who of California artists that comes on the heels of 1,200 canvases donated by The Irvine Museum, has bewitched art cognoscenti and revived long-dormant plans for a museum on campus. Although it will take months to finish cataloging Buck’s treasures (which encompass everyone from abstract painter Richard Diebenkorn to street artist Shepard Fairey) and several years to finance and build


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a museum, some of the masterpieces will go public much sooner. This fall, UCI hosts the first in a series of sneak preview exhibits. Fittingly, a few of the featured artists – such as Los Four founding member Gilbert “Magu” Lujan, M.F.A. ’73 – taught or studied at the university during the art department’s maverick first decade, when UCI played a pivotal but mostly unsung role in California’s modern art movement. “These collections are extremely significant for California and, ultimately, the nation,” says Ilene Fort, curator emerita of American art at the Los Angeles County Museum of Art. “The depth and breadth is remarkable.”

For Father W.B., by Llyn Foulkes (1974); mixed media, 17¼ x 15¼ inches

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look at artwork on a computer screen, illuminated from the back in ultra-sharp resolution. This is incredibly misleading compared to how a painting actually affects the senses.” To cover the museum’s projected multimillion-dollar cost, UCI has begun courting donors and offering “multiple naming opportunities,” Barker says, ranging from galleries to naming the museum itself. “It will definitely get built,” he adds, “but why stop there?” Barker dreams of having the museum anchor an “arts and culture district” that would extend past Langson Library to the edge of Aldrich Park and include an outdoor sculpture garden, food trucks, musicians, the New Swan Theater and other entertainment to further entice the general public. “In the end,” he says, “we’ll do as much as we can pay for.” Stephen Barker, dean of the Claire Trevor School of the Arts, is leading the effort to create a museum on campus.

Museum Dreams The earliest vision for a UCI museum appeared as a small rectangle on architect William Pereira’s 1962 blueprint for the campus. Although the idea was eventually scrapped (like the football stadium he also diagrammed), the location proved rather prophetic. Almost six decades later, the building that will house the Buck and Irvine collections is expected to go up near the spot Pereira picked, which instead became the Irvine Barclay Theatre. An architect and a curator could be chosen by January, says Stephen Barker, dean of UCI’s Claire Trevor School of the Arts and executive director of the nascent project, currently dubbed the Institute and Museum for California Art. “We’ll probably select a California design firm because this is a museum of California art,” he adds. The provisional plan calls for a 100,000-square-foot structure – with 45,000 square feet earmarked as gallery space, slightly smaller than the 50,000-square-foot Broad museum in downtown L.A. Once the building opens, an army of docents will be deployed to answer questions, especially about sometimes difficult-to-decipher modern art pieces, Barker says. As a teaching museum, the center will also include a research institute devoted to interdisciplinary studies of California art, a largely unexplored scholarly field. “I’m looking forward to being able to walk to the collection with a group of undergrads and have them experience paintings and sculpture firsthand,” says Kevin Appel, chair of UCI’s art department. “Students these days tend to


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A Who’s Who of

Golden State Artists

Billed as “the greatest collection of California art that nobody has seen,” Gerald Buck’s gift to UCI straddles multiple genres and features some of the 20th century’s most renowned painters and sculptors. All were born and/or worked in the Golden State. The artists include abstract master Richard Diebenkorn, “Cool School” fixture Ed Moses, post-surrealist Helen Lundeberg, figurative painter Joan Brown, Chicano icons Carlos Almaraz and Gilbert “Magu” Lujan, collage maker Alexis Smith and pop artists Wayne Thiebaud (who designed California’s palm tree specialty license plates) and Ed Ruscha, to name just a few. Although Buck focused mainly on post-World War II West Coast works, he also scooped up smatterings of Mexican folk art, Danish pieces, even a Thai wood carving. Their fate in UCI’s California-themed museum is unclear. Rounding out the UCI Institute and Museum for California Art will be Joan Irvine Smith’s assemblage of California impressionist paintings (also known as plein-air art). The Irvine Museum Collection encompasses such landscape legends as Franz Bischoff, William Wendt, Guy Rose, Granville Redmond and Anna Hills, along with bird specialist Jessie Botke and scene painter Millard Sheets (whose oeuvre includes the University of Notre Dame’s “Touchdown Jesus” mural).


Thrasher, by Peter Alexander (1992); oil on canvas, 48 x 84 inches

A Tale of Two Collectors As soft jazz pours out of a dusty Sony radio in the L.A. warehouse, inventory taker Chanelle Mandell marvels at the eclectic nature of Buck’s art trove. “You don’t know what you’re going to see next,” she says, referring to the newest ration of unopened boxes. On this morning, the lineup includes a bronze lamb, a Russian immigrant’s depiction of Laguna Beach and a tile-and-wood disk of unknown origin. (“That’s for someone who went to grad school to identify,” quips Mandell, who previously worked at LACMA.) It takes about half an hour to inspect, measure, photograph and log each piece. Occasionally, Mandell dons a magnifying visor to scour for cracked paint and other subtle damage. She also discards outdated packing materials, such as bubble

wrap and glassine, which are replaced with archival foam and plastic by a former museum guard who works in the temperature-controlled building. Over the summer, two grad students will join the inventory team. But the collection is so vast that Mandell doesn’t expect to finish until next spring. Buck, who lived in the seaside community of Emerald Bay, began buying art in the 1980s. His stockpile grew slowly over three decades, in contrast to Joan Irvine Smith’s, which ballooned to 4,000 works in just two years. “Smith was like a vacuum cleaner when it came to California impressionists,” says Susan Landauer, an art historian and veteran curator. The Irvine Co. heiress was equally speedy about putting her canvases on public display, opening The Irvine

Museum in 1993. Buck, meanwhile, kept his pieces mostly under wraps. “His home was like a museum,” says Landauer, and when he ran out of room there, he converted a former Laguna Beach post office to a private gallery and used an old sail manufacturing plant as a storage facility. A self-taught scholar who flew under the art world radar, Buck invited only a few guests to the renovated postal building, where he acted as curator, docent and janitor. “He mopped the place himself,” recalls LACMA’s Fort. But, like the Irvine family, Buck aspired to share his discoveries with a larger audience. “He wanted to have schoolchildren come visit the Laguna gallery,” Fort says. In 2012, the year before his death,

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Lifting Fog, by Guy Rose (1916); oil on canvas, 23½ x 28½ inches

Buck hired Landauer to edit a comprehensive book about his collection, intending it to accompany a traveling exhibit called “Art at the Edge of the Pacific.” One of the essayists she recruited, author Jonathan Fineberg, met Buck for lunch in 2013 and pitched the idea of linking his art to a university. In a subsequent email, Fineberg – who was about to join UCI as a distinguished visiting professor – touted the campus as “a very good match.” Buck, still mourning the recent death of his wife, Bente, and contemplating his own mortality after being diagnosed with throat cancer, leaped at the proposal. “Since our discussion, I have not been able to remove from my mind your brilliant idea … of developing a California art research center using the Buck Collection … and affiliating it with a major educational institution,” he wrote in a July 2013 email to Fineberg. But five weeks later, before anything could be finalized, Buck succumbed to his illness. The book project and exhibit were canceled, and Fineberg feared the collection would be auctioned off. It was another year before an estate lawyer phoned him to reveal that Buck had amended the family trust at


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the last minute to donate his paintings, sculptures and 6,000-volume library to one of four tax-exempt institutions, with UCI listed as his top choice. When arts dean Barker learned of the bequest and thumbed through a pair of thick notebooks detailing Buck’s holdings, he had to catch his breath. “I was just knocked out,” he says. “I couldn’t believe it.” As if that weren’t enough, UCI heard from The Irvine Museum that same week about turning over its permanent collection to the campus. It took until 2016 to negotiate the Irvine deal and until late 2017 to resolve tax and legal issues surrounding the Buck gift. Together, they’re a dynamic duo, says historian Landauer. The Irvine Museum’s publication of numerous books on California impressionism “helped legitimize” the genre in scholarly circles, she says. And Buck’s gems will have an even greater impact, she predicts. “Most art textbooks are New York-centric, and Buck desperately wanted to change that,” Landauer says. “This museum represents the culmination of his dream to insert California art into the larger narrative of American art.”

Jane Doe (Girl With Built-In Drive), triptych detail, by Alexis Smith (1985); mixed media on paperboard panel, 24½ x 18⅞ x 5 inches

Spring 2018


Untitled (Albuquerque), by Richard Diebenkorn (1952); oil on canvas, 68ž x 60 inches


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Best Kept Secret Although often overlooked, UCI played a key part in shaping late 20th-century art, and Buck’s collection includes a healthy dose of Anteater professors and alumni from the 1960s and ’70s. “Some of the most influential artists of the time were there,” writes curator Grace Kook-Anderson in Best Kept Secret, the exhibition catalog for a 2011 Laguna Art Museum retrospective on UCI’s formative years. The roster of faculty and visiting teachers back then included pop artist David Hockney, optical maestro Robert Irwin (who later designed the Getty Center’s Central Garden), photorealist Vija Celmins, plastic sculptor Craig Kauffman and other rising stars. The result was a freewheeling cauldron of experimentation and creativity, says Tony DeLap, a founding professor and internationally acclaimed artist who painted murals in Disneyland’s Tomorrowland before coming to UCI, where he taught for nearly 30 years. One instructor, cube creator Larry Bell, had students scrutinize the composition of cigarette butts lying on a Goodyear on Target, by Roger Kuntz (1970); oil on canvas, 50⅜ x 59¾ inches

Untitled (Washboard), by Craig Kauffman (1966); acrylic on vacuum-formed colored plastic, 55⅜ x 31⅛ x 5 inches

sidewalk, according to Kook-Anderson. Painter Ed Moses urged his classes to wedge crayons between their toes. And DeLap invited a magician to guest lecture. “There were a lot of weird people then,” says James Gill, a pop art luminary who made a cameo teaching appearance in 1969 and has seven pieces in the Buck Collection, including the crayon-on-Masonite portrait “Man in Striped Tie.” Some art students proved just as unconventional. One created all his work underground, DeLap recalls. Another, James Turrell, a Quaker who had studied perceptual psychology and astronomy as an undergrad, tinkered with high-intensity light projectors to make eerie, glowing boxes. (He later purchased an extinct volcano in Arizona and began transforming it into a celestial observatory with futuristic tunnels and chambers.) Alexis Smith ’70 started reinventing collages as a student, eventually incorporating such offbeat elements as steering wheels, bowling balls and neckties. Perhaps the most unforgettable alumnus was performance artist Chris Burden, M.F.A. ’71. Nicknamed “modernism’s Evel Knievel,” he once had a friend shoot him in the arm with a rifle as they stood in a gallery. For his master’s thesis, Burden spent five days contorted inside a small locker at UCI, a stunt that befuddled a Los Angeles Times reporter trying to interview

Spring 2018


Le Comble, by Stanton Macdonald-Wright (1955); oil on canvas, 30 x 20 inches


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two of his peers. “We hope you don’t mind meeting us here,” one of his classmates told the writer, “but we wanted to include Chris, and he’s living in a locker this week.” The article, as recounted in Best Kept Secret, noted that “during the interview, [Burden] was nothing more than a voice coming from locker No. 5, his presence further made known by occasional clanky sounds as he shifted positions inside. It was a strange experience and possibly a great put-on. But according to Burden … he was exploring his personal reaction to living in darkness and confinement.”

Says DeLap: “Our students were not bound by the history of what you were supposed to be doing as a young artist.”

Coming Attractions In harmony with that renegade spirit, a trio of current UCI professors chose “some of the most challenging, abstract and avant-garde works in Buck’s collection” for the future campus museum’s first sneak preview, says Cécile Whiting, Chancellor’s Professor of art history. The process of winnowing the pool of canvases and 3-D objects from 3,200 to 50 was unexpectedly easy, says Whiting, who is cocurating the exhibit with Barker and Appel: “Somehow our tastes were absolutely congruent.” After reviewing thumbnail pictures from the catalog, the group trekked to Buck’s Laguna Beach showroom and the Los Angeles warehouse to see their picks in person, then laid out the floor plan by moving miniature copies of each piece around scale-model replicas of two UCI galleries.

The display will be accompanied by a coffee-table book with essays and color reproductions of select Buck artwork, Barker says. Leading up to the museum’s construction and opening, UCI officials hope to produce three exhibits per year, but first they have to find another venue on campus, because the Claire Trevor spaces are booked primarily for student art. The university may also need to rent additional storage room now that other collectors are joining the donation bandwagon, Barker says. So far, about 50 pieces have been accepted, he notes, bringing the value of UCI’s art holdings to more than $75 million. To ensure that the museum encompasses all genres, UCI hopes to add newer California art, Barker says: “We’re not going to neglect Hollywood, Disney or video art.” Adds Fort: “Whoever becomes curator should have a lot of fun.”

“Lifting Fog” is part of The Irvine Museum Collection at the UCI Institute and Museum for California Art; all other artwork is part of The Buck Collection at the UCI Institute and Museum for California Art.

Museum Sneak Peek The first in a series of exhibits drawn from the Buck Collection opens this fall. Featuring such acclaimed artists as Carlos Almaraz, John Baldessari, Viola Frey, Robert Irwin, Roger Kuntz, Agnes Pelton, Roland Petersen and Alexis Smith, “First Glimpse: Introducing the Buck Collection” will include early 20th-century abstraction, 1960s light and space, pop art and assemblage. The exhibit’s curators are Stephen Barker, dean of the Claire Trevor School of the Arts; Kevin Appel, chair of the Department of Art; and Cécile Whiting, chair of the Department of Art History. When: Sept. 29 through Jan. 5, noon to 6 p.m. Tuesday through Saturday, except holidays Where: UCI’s University Art Gallery and Contemporary Arts Center Gallery

How much: Admission is free. Parking is $10. More info: See http://imca.uci.edu for directions, related lectures and holiday closures.

Assemblage, by Mabel Hutchinson (1978); wood, 29½ x 9 x 8½ inches

Spring 2018


In Perfect Harmony By adopting Santa Ana High School, the UCI Symphony Orchestra has composed an outreach program that is ‘bigger than music’


By Rosemary McClure

e doesn’t wince when out-of-tune melodies rock the room. He just tries to stop them from reoccurring. Stephen Tucker, conductor of the UCI Symphony Orchestra, is at Santa Ana High School today directing a much less experienced group: a music class made up of 39 teenagers. And he’s stoic in the face of sour notes. Stoic but insistent. “Start together and in tune this time, please,” he tells the young musicians. There’s a ripple of nervous laughter. The students are playing a passage from Richard Strauss’


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Photos by Steve Zylius “Allerseelen” (“All Souls’ Day”). It’s not progressing well. “Are you going to watch me, or are you just going to do your own thing?” he asks. Then he turns slightly, smiling and waving his arm toward a cluster of woodwinds who have managed to stay in tune. “Thank you, people over here. I like you a lot,” he says. Their faces light up. In actuality, Maestro Tucker likes all of these students a lot. That’s why he initiated a collaboration between UCI and Santa Ana High School six years ago. Tucker, an associate professor of music, teaches conducting, orchestration and analysis at UCI’s Claire

Trevor School of the Arts. He has led ensembles all over the world. But he has a special fondness for Santa Ana High School’s musicians. The program Tucker founded began small, with a UCI concert at the downtown Santa Ana school. “There were 55 of my [UCI] kids there to play and fewer than 10 SAHS students who showed up,” he says. “But the ones who were there were very enthusiastic. So we invited them to UCI to see the campus.” Their eagerness gave Tucker an idea. He wanted to adopt the school. “When you adopt a child, you have to feed it,” he says. And that’s exactly what UCI’s outreach program has done. In addition to Tucker’s master classes at the high school, its students are coached by university students, visit UCI to observe symphony rehearsals, tour the Claire Trevor School of the Arts, and talk with UCI students and counselors. Each year climaxes with a combined UCI and SAHS concert at the high school’s Bill Medley Auditorium. But the end goal of the program has nothing to do

with creating more high school French horn players. “This collaboration has never been about developing musicians,” Tucker explains. “It has always been about developing young people who have been valued and encouraged in a way that they can now see themselves going to college, continuing their education and taking advantage of opportunities. Music is how we are connecting with them, but this is bigger than music.” Santa Ana High School, established in 1889, is the largest and oldest high school in Orange County – a Title I school with a large percentage of students from low-income families; 98 percent are Hispanic. During the first UCI concert at the school a few years ago, attending students were asked how many of them wanted to go to college. “No hands went up,” Tucker recalls. But things began to change, and by the third year of the program, 10 students said they had applied to college – and all had included UCI in their applications. Among those who have gone on to UCI is Daniel Lopez Perez, a sophomore trumpet player who was accepted

Spring 2018


into the Department of Music, a prized admission. “It’s so great being here,” he says. “They helped me get the financial aid I needed. People really care, and everything they do is top-notch. Everything about UCI is phenomenal.” Perez wants to eventually pay it forward: “I would like to have the kind of influence on younger students that Dr. Tucker and the outreach program have had on me.”

Part of the Band UCI freshman Adam Kormondy rolls out of bed at 5 a.m., lays out the clothes he plans to wear, then jumps back under the covers for a few more minutes of sleep. By 7 a.m., he’s at Santa Ana High School, ready to coach a novice jazz pianist. Such work is an integral part of the outreach program. Today Kormondy is tutoring Daniel Cardena, a high school junior. Soon they’re seated at a well-used upright piano in a small, cluttered practice room, discussing a tricky passage in the jazz version of Michael Jackson’s pop hit “Billie Jean.” “Let’s say you’re trying to work on this part and it doesn’t sound good by itself,” Kormondy says. “In a big jazz band, piano never sounds good by itself; that’s normal.” He continues: “There might be five saxophones and four trombones, and you’re just a part of that rhythm section.” Daniel nods. “You might feel a little sad inside because you’re in the rhythm section,” Kormondy says reassuringly. “But you just have to relax and not worry about it – it’s about supporting the rest of the band.”


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Kormondy, though only a year or two older than the students he tutors, is vastly more accomplished. He began playing piano when he was 6, had eight years of lessons and went on to specialize in jazz. Few students in the Santa Ana Unified School District own instruments, take private lessons or even are able to take instruments home from school, teachers say. This makes it particularly difficult for them to develop a compelling interest in music. But Kormondy loves working with them. That’s why he wakes up so early to give them pointers. “If you like music, one of the best things you can do is get someone else interested,” he says.

‘A Bigger World Out There’ Santa Ana High School orchestra teachers Joseph Kaye and Victor de los Santos were excited about the UCI partnership from the beginning. “We had a vision when this started,” de los Santos says, “but we didn’t know how it would work out. It’s turned out to be so much better than we ever thought possible.” Resources at the school are limited, they say, and some of their students come from families in distress. They mention teens who live in one-bedroom apartments with two or three families and others with similarly chaotic home lives. Kaye and de los Santos believe that if their students have the opportunity to observe excellent musicians, hear well-played music and see what conductors expect at that next level, they’ll be motivated to improve. “Our kids aren’t used to having people do nice things for them,” de los Santos says. “With this program,

“There are a lot of skills you get from music that are applicable to other fields like science and reading. I tell [students], whether or not they major in music, to not sell themselves short. If they want to go to college, they can.”

they’re learning that there’s a bigger world out there. They’re learning that college – whether it’s UCI or somewhere else – is achievable.” The original program has expanded in several ways. The Claire Trevor School of the Arts has broadened its support beyond instrumental music. High school art, dance and drama students are now interacting with UCI professors, undergrads and graduate students. Another development occurred last summer when a weeklong class linked high school musicians from Santa Ana with a group in Manizales, Colombia. The Telematic Bridges music course used cutting-edge audio

software and high-bandwidth internet to unite the students and allow them to collaborate and play music together even though they were on two continents. Michael Dessen, UCI associate professor and Robert & Marjorie Rawlins Chair in Music, led the class; among his Colombian counterparts was Juan David Rubio, a 2017 M.F.A. graduate of the UCI music department. The course enabled students to interact across cultural borders and explore new perspectives on music making and technology. Topics included digital audio collages and soundscapes, telematic performance, improvisation and conducting. “We don’t know what will catalyze

a young person to achieve, so we try to provide as many access points as possible,” says Megan Belmonte, a main driver of the program and director of outreach for the Claire Trevor School of the Arts. “If we reach them through music, or through a tour of the art school, or through anecdotes from UCI students, and they are then driven to succeed – whether in their education, in the arts or in life – then we have succeeded.”

Practice Makes Perfect Three French horns are warbling discordantly. Someone suggests that it sounds a bit like elephants dying on the savannah. But Jasmine Koo, one of five UCI outreach coaches, stays calm and perseveres. “It’s a rocky start,” she tells the trio of beginning horn students she’s working with today. “Let’s try that one again individually. Play each note one by one.” The novices, two girls and a boy, are in a high-ceilinged practice room at SAHS. They giggle a bit about the jarring noises they’re producing. But they play the passage again and

Spring 2018


again, with encouragement from Koo, whose credits include being principal horn with the UCI Symphony Orchestra. “At measure 8, be sure your eyes move fast enough,” she instructs one student. “They got behind on that last note.” “Use a lot of air,” Koo tells the group. “Half the problems we’re working on would be solved if you’d use more air.” Then she advises: “Use the tip of your tongue, not the back of your tongue.” After several minutes of practice, Koo sighs audibly and claps. “Everyone got it,” she says. “OK, now we’re going to do it in rhythm.” She claps again when they’re done: “That was great!” Koo, a UCI junior, hails from Diamond Bar and visits Santa Ana High School weekly to work with students. She admits it can be trying at times but says, “I really enjoy teaching. Seeing improvement is the best.”

Not Taking Things for Granted Last year, the Santa Ana Unified School District launched SanArts – a next-generation visual and performing arts conservatory – at the high school. Dan Abrams ’15, M.F.A. ’17, scored a teaching job at SanArts in January, bringing him back to the school where he had coached students for more than three years.


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“While I was at UCI, Dr. Tucker encouraged me to work with the SAHS outreach program,” Abrams says. He taught bassoon and other instruments. The experience taught him a few lessons in return. “You take things for granted,” he says. “Where I grew up, everyone had music lessons when they were young. The students at SAHS don’t have that advantage. But they were so enthusiastic.” Abrams, who had spent some time in the finance industry, decided he had found his calling “working with individuals who didn’t have the access to music that they should.” Now, as a teacher, he strongly encourages students to be involved in the SAHS music program, even though it’s an elective. “There are a lot of skills you get from music that are applicable to other fields like science and reading,” Abrams says. “I tell them, whether or not they major in music, to not sell themselves short. If they want to go to college, they can.” Four of his novice bassoon players – all coached by Abrams when he was a UCI student – wanted to continue their education. He helped them with their applications and took them to auditions. The result? “They all pushed hard and got into college,” Abrams says. “I’m so proud of them.” To learn more about how SAHS and UCI make music together, go to m.uci.edu/SAHS.

Thank you!

Together, we made a mountain out of an anthill! Your support of our students, research and innovative programs across campus will make a difference and impact the world for the better. #UCIGivingDay On April 25, 2018, we:

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A successful and wide-ranging arts program means a growing number of alumni are thriving on Broadway


By Shari Roan

f you gathered every UCI graduate who has Broadway experience, you could practically staff an entire musical or play. And it would undoubtedly be a hit. Almost three dozen alumni have been employed or are currently working in New York City’s famed Theater District, says Gary Busby, chair of the drama department at the Claire Trevor School of the Arts. “Our school has a very good reputation because we have had so many years producing alums on Broadway or in TV, film and opera,” he says. “We’re getting a critical mass of people from the department who are making names for themselves.” Busby says this talent pipeline begins in the classroom with inspiring faculty whom students can emulate and who provide real-world experience. “The faculty is so dedicated to helping these students,” he says. “Because of the work we do in the department, which is consistently at a very high caliber, the transition from school to the professional world is a small step. When the students study with us, we introduce them to the industry and help them make their first connections.” In 2016, The Hollywood Reporter ranked the Claire Trevor School of the Arts undergraduate drama program, as well as UCI’s drama M.F.A. program, among the top 25 in the world. And three years ago, the university celebrated as two alumni, actress Beth Malone and producer Tim Kashani, were nominated for Tony Awards. Students can tap into this star power. Every year, as part of a satellite program, the school takes a group to New York, where they live and breathe Broadway. “During that time, whatever alumni are in the area hold master classes for the students,” Busby says. “So they get firsthand experience in what it’s like to make the transition from school to Broadway. These alumni are spheres of influence for our students.”

Drama alumna Beth Malone appears this spring as the Angel in select performances of the Broadway revival of Tony Kushner’s “Angels in America.”

Brinkhoff & Mögenburg

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B e t h M a l o n e , M.F.A. ’00, drama

.................................................................................. Beth Malone’s career and her commitment to LGBTQ advocacy intensified in tandem several years ago when she joined a group of writers and actors piecing together a new musical they hoped would someday see an audience. It did. Malone originated the role of Alison in “Fun Home,” a Broadway hit that garnered 12 Tony nominations in 2015, including one for Malone as best leading actress in a musical. “You work on this thing in the dark, not knowing if it’s going to be anything, and then it’s something everyone is talking about,” Malone says. “We performed one show before United Nations delegates – all these people from other countries. I felt like it changed lives and saved lives.” The musical is centered on a woman’s sexuality and her relationship with her gay father. The experience ignited Malone’s LGBTQ activism. She now performs around the nation to promote LGBTQ causes. “It’s something that is so easy to do,” she says. “All I have to do is be honest and truthful and visible and not shy away from any questions that come my way.” This spring, Malone appears at Broadway’s Neil Simon Theatre as the Angel in a revival of Tony Kushner’s acclaimed play “Angels in America,” which is set during the AIDS crisis and 1980s politics. Her education at UCI made the role possible, she says. “There’s no way I’d be in this show without [UCI drama professor] Annie Loui,” Malone says. “I think it was the movement training that got me in the room, because it’s an extremely physical version of ‘Angels in America.’ Annie taught me the exact type of work for me to do the auditions with confidence.”


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A l a n M i n g o J r . , M.F.A. ’98, drama

.............................................................................................................. The ink was barely dry on his M.F.A. diploma when Alan Mingo Jr. joined the touring company of the Broadway musical “Rent.” When the national show closed a year later, he volunteered – on a whim – to help take the play to Italy. Within months, the young actor found himself assisting in its launch and performing in Italian. “It was the most stressful and exhilarating thing I’ve ever done,” he says, laughing. “I thank UCI for that experience, because it allowed me to bite off more than I could chew and be successful at it.” Mingo is a musical theater specialist, having performed in such hits as “Shrek the Musical,” “The Lion King,” “The Little Mermaid” and the Tony Award-winning “Kinky Boots.” He coveted the role of Lola in “Kinky Boots” and auditioned to be a replacement six or seven times, he recalls. “When I saw the show, I said, ‘I have to get this part,’” he says. “For two and a half years, I was told no, no, no. But the casting director said to me, ‘One day, you’re going to get this role.’ So I went to audition again – they told me to buy a new dress for the audition, but I said no way – and wound up booking it!” Mingo, who rents out part of his two-family Harlem brownstone to two other UCI drama graduates, says he now knows to ask for what he wants: “I learned that lesson shortly after I left school, and it was a wonderful lesson for me.”

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K i m b e r l y F a y e G r e e n b e r g ’98, drama


You could call Kimberly Faye Greenberg the go-to girl on Broadway. The UCI drama graduate is a self-described multitasker who acts off-Broadway, operates her own solo tour playing Fanny Brice, fills in as a substitute wardrobe dresser on Broadway, and serves as a career coach and consultant for Broadway-based professionals. “I have learned that if you want to work and be successful, you really have to create your own opportunities,” she says. “I’ve always found ways to get my art into the world and create opportunities that would grow me as an individual and keep me working in my field rather than waiting tables.” Greenberg participated in UCI’s New York satellite program – which, she says, helped illuminate the business side of Broadway. “Because of that program, I learned how a business is run,” she explains. “Sometimes people are not taught that stuff. I was very educated as a businessperson when I graduated.” She has discovered that she loves assisting others, whether it’s helping an actor zip into costumes backstage or providing advice about leveraging one’s skills. “I really enjoy inspiring others and helping them thrive,” Greenberg says. “Even as a dresser, it’s about giving the actors what they need to go onstage and be successful.”

R o s s J a c k s o n , M.F.A. ’15, drama


Imagine landing on Broadway three days after graduation. That’s what happened to Ross Jackson, who trained in stage management at UCI under senior lecturer Don Hill. Commencement was on a Saturday, and Jackson flew to New York on Sunday. He began his job as an intern on the set of “Wicked” on Tuesday. “I had done a couple of internships with touring companies while I was at UCI, and I got the ‘Wicked’ job all because of those other companies opening the doors,” Jackson says. “None of it would have been possible without UCI. When I chose UCI, I could look at the alumni and see that they were out working and doing what I wanted to do.” During the “Wicked” internship, he helped three actors who were new to the musical learn their roles and stood in the wings during shows to oversee entrances and exits. “It was an amazing experience,” he says. Today Jackson is in demand as an equity stage manager. Based in Los Angeles, he often works at the Geffen Playhouse and travels extensively. This spring, he’s attending the U.S. Institute for Theatre Technology conference to be a mentor in USITT’s Gateway Program, which assists theater majors from underserved communities. Jackson wants to give back in the same way that others helped him. “I’m excited about the program because it creates an opportunity to mentor somebody throughout their career,” he says.


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G w y n C o n a w a y , M.F.A. ’13, drama

...................................................................... Costume designer and illustrator Gwyn Conaway was seemingly destined for a life in the arts – she hails from a family of entertainment professionals and has been exposed to everything from the circus to film to opera. Nevertheless, she had to work hard to find her niche. An expert at “Marvelous Designer,” a 3-D garment simulation program, Conaway serves as a consultant for feature animation studios producing films and video games. “The software allows you to pattern and sew and alter costumes in a 3-D space on a 3-D character,” she says. “I help teach [the animators] how to see and fit clothing and how to alter costumes within the program.” She’s also co-author of a recently published book, The Story We Wear: Costume Design for Animators and Illustrators. Conaway has been an assistant costume designer on several Broadway projects and the Broadway-produced “Carrie: The Killer Musical Experience.” But success didn’t come knocking on her door. After graduation, Conaway turned down job offers to get the technological training she needed to do 3-D animation costume work. Her time at UCI prepared her to tough things out. “The environment at UCI was challenging,” Conaway explains. “It made me able to stand up for my choices and fight for the things I wanted to do with my career.”

Spring 2018


H i d e k i Y a m a y a , M.F.A, ’01, music

.............................................................................................................. On a recent weekend, Hideki Yamaya headed home to New Haven, Connecticut, after teaching a master class at Oregon State University. On Monday, he flew to Chicago to play with an orchestra. Then it was back to the Belasco Theatre, on Broadway, for “Farinelli and the King.” It’s hard to believe Yamaya once wondered if he could make a living as a musician. Today he enjoys a reputation as an expert in the lute, early guitars and mandolins, performing as both a soloist and a chamber player with numerous opera companies and orchestras. In “Farinelli and the King,” his first time on Broadway, Yamaya plays the lute onstage in full costume as a member of the baroque ensemble that accompanies the lead character. “It’s a play but with live music incorporated into it,” he explains. “It’s been a fun experience and very different.” Yamaya credits the attention he received from John Schneiderman, a senior lecturer in guitar and lute at UCI, for his career success. “John was very encouraging, and he was very eager to play with me,” he says. “We performed together on a number of occasions when I was still a student. That’s not something all faculty members do. I was so grateful for that.”


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T i m K a s h a n i ’86, information & computer science, MBA ’88

.......................................................... Tim Kashani’s tech and business expertise didn’t go to waste when he became successful in entertainment. He founded Apples and Oranges Studios, which produced the 2010 Tony Award-winning musical “Memphis,” as well as the Tony Award-winning revival of “Hair,” on Broadway and in London’s West End. Kashani also launched THEatre Accelerator, which focuses on blending technology and theater, with his wife, Broadway actress Pamela Winslow. Moreover, he didn’t abandon the computer science field; he runs a highly successful information technology company too. “I don’t like buckets,” he says. “We’re becoming more fluid in the way we live. We’ve found that extremes don’t work.” Kashani encourages entertainment industry professionals and students to develop business skills. “When you’re bringing a show to Broadway, it has to have commercial viability,” he says. “Students sometimes ask me, ‘Are you selling out?’ I tell them, ‘I hope I’m selling out the entire theater!’” An active supporter of UCI, Kashani is working on a campus project that bridges the computer science and fine arts schools. “There’s an idea that you have to be broke and starving to be in the arts. I always thought that was stupid,” he says. “I want to see more UCI students become employed around the world right when they graduate.”

Spring 2018


Dig It! All-American Aaron Koubi (right), with backup from All-Big West honoree David Parker, covers the court on UCI’s way to the NCAA postseason for the third time in the last six years.

Glenn Feingerts


Mastering Life’s Lessons



By L. Song Richardson

he last few notes of the symphony performed by the Harvard-Radcliffe Orchestra have just faded away. My stomach tightens. My hands sweat. I feel extremely cold. My name is called, and I slowly walk across the stage and take my place at the piano – the piano that will, in a few minutes, be either my closest friend or

my worst enemy.

I am performing with the orchestra because I won the annual HRO concerto competition as a freshman a few months earlier. I begin to play the piece I have practiced for months. As I near the end, an uncontrollable smile appears on my face because I know I am almost done. At the same time, I feel sad because I want the excitement and pleasure of performing to continue. I finish and exhale amid the sound of applause from a packed Sanders Theatre on the Harvard campus. I stand, bow and see the beaming faces of my parents in the audience. And while I’m thankful for my parents’ support, I have no idea that the lessons I learned from


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them, through the piano and elsewhere, would steer me to where I am today: dean of the UCI School of Law. My earliest memories are of practicing the piano with my mother sitting next to me – literally, sitting next to me. I began lessons at the age of 4 and gave my first recital at 9. I began concert touring at 11 and thought I would become a concert pianist when I grew up. I even had the privilege of performing several times with the Boston Symphony Orchestra. Through the end of high school, I practiced four to six hours on school nights and eight to 10 hours on the weekends. It wasn’t until much later in life that I understood the enormous

sacrifices my parents made to ensure that my brothers and I would have opportunities that they did not. My mom, a Korean immigrant, worked the night shift in a rope factory. She worked her fingers raw every night so that she could drive me to my weekly piano lessons. She has a strong Korean accent and speaks broken English. Growing up, I witnessed countless times the way people would snicker, make fun of her accent and underestimate her intelligence. She never allowed any of this to stop her, and she would never take “no” for an answer when it came to her children. My father, an African American, was an officer in the U.S. Army. Upon his retirement from the military, he continued to work, traveling from our home to his job in Boston each day to ensure that my brothers and I had the resources to pay for our expensive music lessons (one brother plays the cello, one plays the violin and viola) and crisscross the world performing. He had a sunny disposition, which often caused people to underestimate his strength of will and resolve. His warm personality would turn to steel the moment anyone attempted to take advantage of us. I am my parents’ daughter when it comes to these traits. Through their example, I learned what determination, grit and discipline meant. It’s because of them that I never give up once I’ve committed myself to doing something. I view mistakes as opportunities for growth, and I relish challenges and push myself to master new skills. Witnessing the discrimination and ignorance my mother and father experienced in their day-to-day activities motivated me to fight for the causes in which I believe – and to pursue a career in law. When my piano teacher would give me a new piece to learn, say, Franz Liszt’s “Mephisto Waltz,” it seemed impossible that I would ever get my fingers to move in the way the music required. However, it never occurred to me to give up or to complain that the piece was too difficult or that I would be unable to master it. I knew that my parents and my piano teacher would never allow me to quit. Therefore, I would just continue, one note … one measure … one movement at a time, until I had perfected it. Each time I learned a new piece, it reinforced for me the power of determination, grit and perseverance. And most importantly, I discovered that mistakes were an indispensable part of mastering a new skill. This lesson has served me well throughout my career. It has taught me to embrace novel experiences, to relish new challenges and to view tireless preparation as a necessary correlate to success.

I found my calling to become a lawyer while in college after working as a field investigator/compliance officer at the Massachusetts Commission Against Discrimination. As a person of color who had watched my parents experience discrimination, I gained immense satisfaction from helping people who had been evicted or denied housing because of their race. While I enjoyed my work at MCAD, I was frustrated by my inability to see a case through to the end because I didn’t hold a law degree. I decided to become a civil rights lawyer, and upon graduating from Yale Law School, I spent most of my career doing just that. During my time in practice, I was struck by how similar practicing law is to playing the piano. Both require extensive preparation, the ability to communicate effectively, and the capacity to work well under pressure.

“When my piano teacher would give me a new piece to learn, say, Franz Liszt’s ‘Mephisto Waltz,’ it seemed impossible that I would ever get my fingers to move in the way the music required. However, it never occurred to me to give up or to complain that the piece was too difficult or that I would be unable to master it.” Now, as dean and a professor of law, it is my goal to help students thrive and pursue their passions with determination, grit and perseverance in the face of all obstacles so that they, too, will have more devices at their disposal to achieve their dreams. I certainly do not maintain the same practice routine that I had as a child. However, not a day goes by in which I do not think back to my piano lessons or think of my mother next to me on the bench. Nor is there a time in which I give up or get discouraged by mistakes, setbacks or impasses. This, I believe, is the way in which I can best honor my parents and thank them for all they have done for me. I am not performing with the Boston Symphony Orchestra anymore, but because of the lessons my mother and father taught me, I can make each day a masterpiece. Richardson is dean of the UCI School of Law.

Spring 2018


Universal Language Visiting students from Beijing and Shanghai universities perform a traditional Chinese piece in UCI’s annual “East Meets West� international dance festival. The cultural exchange program, created in 2015 by co-directors Lisa Naugle and Tong Wang of the Department of Dance, promotes academic collaboration while offering residencies for students and faculty in the U.S. and China.

Jerry Li


Drawing for the Ages

Greg Preston Photography

Award-winning cartoonist engages the public in democratic process .............................................................................................................. By Jim Washburn Michael Ramirez had been working at home on a recent Monday – something the editorial cartoonist admits he often does in pajamas – yet he answered the door of his south Orange County home attired in a sharp black business suit. “I’m wearing a suit because I’m very serious about my job,” he explains when asked. “I think political cartooning is serious journalism. Cartoonists don’t necessarily get a lot of respect, so I try to do my part and look respectable.” Ramirez titled one of his books of cartoons Everyone Has the Right to My Opinion, and he’s not kidding when it comes to getting his political perspective across to readers. The artistry, passion and cutting humor of Ramirez’s work have won the kind of respect that sometimes requires him to wear a tuxedo: He’s earned


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nearly every honor his profession has to offer, topped by two Pulitzer Prizes. Even so, he says, the UCI Medal his alma mater presented to him in 1997 remains one of his most meaningful awards. The 58-year-old cartoonist credits UCI with providing a pivotal juncture in his life. It’s not exactly the pivot he or his parents were expecting: He entered the university with plans to become a doctor and exited it pursuing an uncertain and ink-stained career in editorial cartooning. Ramirez was born in Tokyo, the middle of five children, to a Japanese mother and an American father of Mexican and Spanish descent who was an Army intelligence officer. Ramirez’s first language was Japanese, and he spent his early childhood in Japan, along with stints in Germany, Belgium and the U.S., where the family settled

for good when Ramirez was 12. In Mission Viejo, his high school studies were augmented by surfing, reading encyclopedias and running the school newspaper. “Going to UCI was kind of a foregone conclusion for me, because both my older brother and sister were Anteaters, and it was the ideal path for them to go on to medical school and become doctors,” Ramirez says. That was his goal when he enrolled as a biology major, minoring in fine arts. Ramirez recalls, “It really was the perfect college for me, with great professors like Vince Guinn, who taught chemistry in a way that would really pull you into the subject. That was true of most of my UCI professors.” On the arts side, an introduction to the works of Caravaggio, Mondrian and others came to influence his own work. Ramirez says he always had the ability to draw almost anything, but he never considered it as a livelihood until he drew a cartoon for the campus newspaper, New University, that skewered student government candidates. “I’d written several articles for the paper that had almost no response,” he recalls. “Then this one cartoon spurred a ton of interest, protest and argument. That really hooked me.” In his junior year, Ramirez switched majors. Well before he graduated in 1984 with bachelor’s degrees in studio art and art history, he was regularly selling his cartoons to a chain of local newspapers and had been published in major papers after persistently sending his work around the country on spec. His dad had grown up in East L.A. and worked as a farmhand before becoming the first member of his family to graduate from college. “Both parents raised us to find

careers where we could try to make the world a better place. My siblings [including a younger brother and sister] did that by becoming doctors. I probably saved lives by not becoming a doctor,” Ramirez quips. Ramirez’s career choice was validated in 1994, when he won a Pulitzer Prize for his work as editorial cartoonist for The Commercial Appeal in Memphis.

appear in some 450 newspapers. Ramirez’s workday usually starts before sunup, with him checking out the TV, print and online news. From that, he generates 10 to 15 ideas and chooses the one he likes best for the day. He can draw a cartoon in half an hour, noting the result only has seconds to grab a reader, so he crafts his drawings to shock or amuse, however serious he might be about

“I’d written several articles for the paper that had almost no response. Then this one cartoon spurred a ton of interest, protest and argument. That really hooked me.” “My goal was to reach the public and get them more involved in the democratic process by doing quality work that exceeded that of my colleagues, so I hoped I’d someday have a good shot at winning a Pulitzer. But I was absolutely surprised that I got it so early in my career,” Ramirez says. Being a conservative in a media that leans otherwise also fueled his desire to stand out. “I was outnumbered 10 to 1, so I figured I had to be that much more obnoxious than my competitors,” he says. “And the skill level and points you make have to be better, so even if they disagree with you philosophically, they can admire the quality of your work.” Ramirez became the Los Angeles Times’ editorial cartoonist in 1997, affording him a wider audience and decidedly better surfing than in Memphis. He subsequently drew for Investor’s Business Daily, where he won his second Pulitzer in 2008. These days, his syndicated cartoons

the points he’s making. He also travels to do public speaking and has made several USO forays to Afghanistan, Iraq and other non-touristy destinations to talk with troops and do drawings for them. In his time off, Ramirez still surfs, is a voracious reader, sings and plays charity gigs in a rock band. Even with all his activity and accolades, Ramirez’s UCI Medal holds a special place in his heart: “UCI was a great learning environment. I’m a proud Anteater, and to be in the company of the other Medal recipients who have accomplished such great things means a lot. “In my acceptance speech, I said that I’m an ordinary guy in an extraordinary job that has allowed me to do extraordinary things. It was really UCI that helped me realize the belief my parents instilled in me that you can accomplish things that have an impact on the world.”

Spring 2018


Class Notes

Lou Renza, Ph.D. ’72, English Bob Dylan’s lyrics have fascinated Lou Renza since the early 1960s. After earning a doctorate from UCI, he launched a popular class on the singer-songwriter’s verse at Dartmouth College, where he taught English until 2010. In 2006, Renza spearheaded a conference on Dylan. And, after retiring, he began writing a magnum opus on the performer’s entire poetic output. “I’m only up to 1989,” he says, but the first installment, Dylan’s Autobiography of a Vocation: A Reading of the Lyrics 1965-1967, was published last fall. “I regard this book as the culmination of my career as a teacher and critic,” says Renza, who grew up in Connecticut and has also penned scholarly works on Edgar Allan Poe, Mark Twain, Sarah Orne Jewett, Wallace Stevens and Ernest Hemingway.

..................................................... Crystal (Smith) Turner ’00, English, M.A. ’02, teaching Is winning a UCI Lauds & Laurels award genetic? It might be if you’re Crystal Turner. After finding out she’s one of this year’s L&L distinguished alumni, the Saddleback Valley Unified School District superintendent revealed that her mother, Laureen Edwards Smith, a 1973 classical civilization grad, received the same honor 45 years ago for university service. (Smith was an Associated Students of UCI senator, campus tour guide and cheerleader.) At the very least, Anteater blood runs thick in Turner’s family. Her dad, Terry Cameron Smith, graduated from UCI in 1972 with an engineering degree. And her sister, Pamela Smith, earned a sociology degree in 2002. Growing up in Yorba Linda, the siblings also attended numerous UCI basketball games with their season ticketholder parents, who now continue the tradition with Turner’s two children. “We are all Anteaters,” she says. “Even my husband, Tom, earned his teaching credential at UCI.”



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Sundara Bhandaram ’15, Earth system science Diapers, chopsticks and cardboard boxes are among the products supported by Sundara Bhandaram’s work as environmental policy manager for the American Forest & Paper Association, a national trade group based in Washington, D.C. Bhandaram, who moved to Orange County from India at age 6, helps devise sustainability goals for the industry and monitors water quality laws that affect wood and paper companies. As a sideline, she also volunteers at the White House Visitor Center museum. Bhandaram first came to the nation’s capital for an internship through the systemwide UCDC program. She returned after graduation “with no job and no solid connections,” just a sense that Washington was “where I belonged,” she says. The gamble paid off when a temp position she landed with the trade association turned into a permanent post. Bhandaram hopes to eventually earn a master’s degree in environmental management – and learn to knit.

..................................................... Joshua Estrada-Romero, M.F.A. ’17, dance As a human statue, Joshua Estrada-Romero gets paid not to move. Coated in bronze, gold or white makeup, he serves as live art at celebrity parties and corporate events, where he has posed variously as an Oscar statuette, a cowboy, Zeus and Rodin’s “The Thinker.” Although standing motionless might seem like the opposite of his major – dance – EstradaRomero says his ballet training gives him the muscle control and strength needed to stay frozen for long periods of time. “I look at statue work as dance,” he says, adding that he sometimes jumps out of a pose to startle viewers who don’t realize he’s a person. In addition to playing sculptures, the La Puente native choreographs and performs across the U.S., operates his own nonprofit dance company (called Fuse), and teaches at the Orange County School of the Arts and local colleges.

In Memoriam

Donald McKayle, professor emeritus of dance

John Longhurst, professor emeritus of medicine

Modern dance pioneer Donald McKayle, one of the first African American men to break through racial barriers via dance, died April 6 at the age of 87. The iconic performer, choreographer, teacher, director and writer had a wide-ranging impact on the United States’ creative and cultural landscape, creating deeply socially conscious works focused on the human condition and the African American experience. A professor emeritus of dance, McKayle joined the UCI faculty in 1989 and continued teaching until shortly before his death. His seminal works “Games,” “Rainbow ’Round My Shoulder,” “District Storyville” and “Songs of the Disinherited” are still performed worldwide. McKayle was the first black man to both direct and choreograph major Broadway musicals, including the Tony Award-winning “Raisin” (1973) and “Sophisticated Ladies” (1981). Born in Harlem, New York, McKayle began dancing during his senior year in high school after being inspired by a Pearl Primus performance. He won a scholarship to the New Dance Group, where he studied with Primus, Sophie Maslow, Jean Erdman and others. McKayle made his professional dancing debut in 1948. During his seven-decade career, he danced or worked with virtually every well-known choreographer in the world. To view a video made by some of his students, go to m.uci.edu/McKayle.

Cardiologist John Longhurst died in a single-engine plane crash, along with his wife, Cherril, on Feb. 6 in San Diego County. He was 70. Longhurst joined UCI in 1998 as a professor and chair of the Department of Medicine. Specializing in cardiovascular disease and prevention, he helped deepen the understanding of acupuncture as a clinical tool in helping to lower blood pressure and treat hypertension. In 2003, Longhurst became director of the Susan Samueli Center for Integrative Medicine, merging his clinical commitment to prevention and wellness with his research interests. For the past two decades, he studied peripheral sensory and central autonomic regulation by electroacupuncture. Longhurst retired in 2014 but continued his National Institutes of Health-funded research. “As chair of the Department of Medicine, John was instrumental in adding the American Board of Internal Medicine Research Pathway program to integrate research and training for residents interested in developing skills as physician-scientists,” said Dr. Michael Stamos, dean of the UCI School of Medicine. “An excellent clinician and researcher of distinction, John will perhaps best be remembered as a committed and thoughtful mentor whose influence touched undergrads, graduate students, residents and fellows, as well as staff and faculty colleagues.”



To submit or view additional class notes, go to engage.alumni.uci.edu/classnote.

Spring 2018



Z O T !

Birds of a Feather A woman admires artist Lynn Aldrich’s installation, created with gold-leafed National Audubon Society book pages, which provides a faux bird-watching experience in the Beall Center for Art + Technology’s spring exhibition, “It Passes Like a Thought.”


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Will Tee Yang



From Irvine to Los Angeles County to San Francisco



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