- Author: Mike Hsu
During a meeting of the President's Advisory Commission on Agriculture and Natural Resources on June 23, UC President Michael Drake joined the virtual gathering to offer an update on the ongoing response to COVID-19.
Drake praised the diligence, resilience and continued productivity of the entire university community, and cited the systemwide 96-97% vaccination rate and judicious public health measures as reasons UC has been able to weather the worst of the pandemic.
While urging care and caution, he also expressed optimism for the future, pointing to the development and availability of better vaccines and treatments.
The PAC – comprising leaders from UC and the agricultural, natural resources and related human resources sectors – then heard from several commissioners about the importance of partnerships in achieving their shared goals.
Mary-Ann Warmerdam, senior vice president of government affairs for the Rural County Representatives of California, emphasized how essential collaborations are to advancing the interests of rural populations. Kathie Sowa, a senior vice president at Bank of America, highlighted the work of the A.P. Giannini Foundation, which supports research in the basic sciences and applied fields, and the Rosenberg International Forum on Water Policy.
Carol Chandler of Chandler Farms in Fresno County discussed the crucial role of the state's universities in delivering innovative solutions to farmers for a wide range of challenges – from diseases to water issues. Chandler, a former UC regent and California State University trustee, stressed the need for more collaboration between the two systems.
President Drake concurred, voicing his belief that – along with community colleges across the state – the UC and CSU institutions are all part of “one system of higher education.” In particular, he mentioned financial assistance plans and certificate programs as just some of the ways to help more people attain more education.