Looking Ahead, Looking Back: From the City by the Bay to the Central Valley (and Back Again)

From San Francisco to Stockton...

It has been an exciting couple of weeks during which I moved forward to accept a new role as Interim Provost of University of the Pacific, a position which will start on July 1, 2010. I’ll be spending up to four days per week in Stockton in this interim role, with additional travel back to San Francisco and to our Sacramento campus.

I’m very much looking forward to getting to know the University community on a deeper level and working with my colleagues in the Central Valley.

Still, as I prepare to adjust my schedule in the next couple of months, I recall some of the daily aspects of life in the City that I enjoy and that I’m going to leave behind for a while.

One of the things I’ll especially miss is walking to work through the beautiful Pacific Heights neighborhood. It’s hard to beat the charm of the well-kept Victorian houses, parks filled with dog walkers, joggers and families, trees and steep but scenic hills that span this part of San Francisco. It’s truly a special neighborhood like no other.

I’ll also miss Fillmore Street with its neighborhood shops and delicious restaurants. Many of them have become familiar haunts where the proprietors recognize me the minute I walk in.

Most importantly, I’ll miss the daily interactions with students, faculty and staff that take place in our building as a matter of course. Our school is close-knit in more ways than one. In the elevators, stairways and hallways — especially during “rush hour” between classes — we get to know each other when criss-crossing the building for meetings, lunch or classes. Many a quick elevator meeting allows us to catch up with colleagues. It’s amazing what you can find out in a few seconds between floors!

On the other hand, I’m looking forward to getting to know the University community at an even deeper level, working with all of the various departments and students across the Stockton, Sacramento and San Francisco campuses. The people at the other campuses have been very welcoming during my time with them and I expect they will introduce me to more of their favorite places in their towns as well!

Beyond my attachment to this place, there is a bigger picture. University of the Pacific’s three-campus organization positively affects the three communities around the campuses and gives us a unique regional identity. We have a significant impact on the Central Valley, Sacramento and San Francisco communities through the students, faculty, staff, patients, and community ties that we have in each of these cities.

So while I’ll miss some of the day-to-day aspects of San Francisco, there are many upsides to this interim role. And I’m looking forward to spending more time in the warmth of the Central Valley, especially on the chilly fog-filled summer days in the City by the Bay.