Celebration to honor department Chair Miguel Garcia-Garibay

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Faculty and staff joined together on May 17th for a surprise celebration to honor Chemistry & Biochemistry department Chair Professor Miguel Garcia-Garibay.

Select photos can be viewed below and an online gallery of all photos from the event can be viewed here.  

Dean of Physical Sciences Prof. Joseph Rudnick, Vice Chair for Academic Personnel Prof. Jim Bowie and Vice Chair for Undergraduate Education Prof. Cathy Clarke made remarks at the event.

In his remarks Bowie said “Miguel, you are a true role model. Somehow you managed to run this complex, diverse department and still be a great teacher, mentor and do outstanding research. I know that I am not alone when I say that you have inspired me to try to do more. You have without doubt made the department better and set us up for an even brighter future. We can ask no more from a chair. So, thank you Miguel, your leadership will be greatly missed.”

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Garcia-Garibay was surprised by the crowd waiting for him at what was supposed to be a quarterly faculty meeting.

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(From left) Vice Chairs Jim Bowie and Cathy Clarke and Dean Joseph Rudnick made remarks at the event.

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Dean Rudnick led the group in a toast to Garcia-Garibay.

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Faculty and staff watch at Garcia-Garibay cuts his cake with assistance from Prof. Michael Jung.

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Garcia-Garibay poses with faculty and staff and Dean Rudnick.

Garcia-Garibay’s many accomplishments as Chair include the creation of the Chem 147 Careers in Chemistry and Biochemistry class in which UCLA alumni and friends of the department are invited to UCLA to give a lecture about their career paths.  Following the seminar, the students are given the opportunity to talk with the speaker informally. He started the Distinguished Lecture Series, the popular quarterly department-wide colloquium with lectures by world-renowned scientists.  In addition, Garcia-Garibay initiated the transformation of the old Young Hall library space into a vibrant Student Center & Lounge.  With the support of our generous alumni donors the Student Center is becoming the heart of student life in the department, providing students with much needed meeting and study space.  The first 2015 Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry Lab Summit, organized by Cathy Clarke, was inspired by Garcia-Garibay’s interest in undergraduate education. The purpose of the meeting of faculty, lab instructors, consultants, staff, and graduate students was to improve the undergraduate experience in lab courses so that more students successfully complete their requirements while simultaneously finding the learning experience compelling and exciting. During his term, four new faculty members were recruited – Alex Spokoyny, Hosea Nelson, Ellen Sletten and recently Roy Wollman, who will join the faculty in July. In addition to continuing his role as mentor for the UCLA Organization for Cultural Diversity in Science (OCDS), a graduate student-led group that creates a close-knit community among graduate students and faculty and promotes cultural diversity in the sciences, Garcia-Garibay helped the group expand their efforts to all physical and life sciences. He also shepherded the department through a successful 8-year review process. Garcia-Garibay’s term as Chair ends on June 30, 2016.

Photos by Penny Jennings, UCLA Department of Chemistry and Biochemistry