2020 State of the University Address Full Speech Transcript

UC San Francisco Chancellor Sam Hawgood, MBBS, delivered his 2020 State of the University address in a virtual event on Oct. 30, 2020. You can watch the full address of the speech, titled “Resolve and Resilience,” online.

Below is a full transcript of the speech.

Chancellor Sam Hawgood: During the past year, we have lived through changes and events that none of us could have anticipated. The unpredictability of the major events that have reshaped our lives, have created the sense that everything has changed. But what hasn’t changed, is our mission and commitment to the communities that we serve. That commitment remains constant and is more relevant and important than ever. 

Our mission and values have endured for more than a century, and they will guide us when our resolve is tested and our resilience is needed. Since my last year’s State of the University address, the disruptions of the COVID-19 pandemic have reverberated around the world. Almost overnight, the familiar routines of our daily lives were upended. As we consider the cascading events that followed, it has become clear that COVID-19 did not create some of these changes, but it did accelerate many pre-existing trends. So, this year’s State of the University address, I want to share with you my perspective on COVID-19 the great accelerator. 

Across society, experts in various fields are beginning to describe COVID-19 as a catalyst that is speeding up and supercharging forces, that existed before the arrival of the novel coronavirus. Some of these changes represent new opportunities, and of course some new challenges. And many underscore the urgency of familiar concerns. 

In the retail industry for instance, COVID-19 has hastened the bankruptcy of brick-and-mortar stores while digital-commerce companies enjoy record-breaking sales. For many people working remotely was a regular, if occasional part of their work. And now many organizations are exploring ways to leverage remote work beyond what the pandemic may require. 

Meanwhile, the divide between the haves and the have-nots is accelerating. In the academic health sciences, our world, we feel the acceleration of multiple trends and forces that have been building for years. The trend towards anti-globalization continues to create economic and political disruptions. These disruptions are directly impacting global health and scientific collaborations. 

Today, universities such as UCSF have an increasingly critical role in advancing collaboration across national boundaries. Our goal of advancing health worldwide has never been more important. Here at home, UCSF health has seen a dramatic increase in the use of telehealth, which has become a successful alternative to in-person care visits. 

It is serving the needs of patients and their care teams well, and I fully expect that we will continue to see telehealth expand access as part of the digital transformation of health care, that I described in last year’s State of the University address. But COVID-19 has also compounded the inequities in health access and outcomes. Black, Latinx and Native American communities, are suffering disproportionately in this public health crisis. 

The great accelerator is unquestionably reshaping our global society. In the phase of a still evolving pandemic, as progress towards a vaccine is made, it is tempting to think that life will return to what it was. That a vaccine will undo the changes that followed the sudden arrival of COVID-19. Now, a vaccine will of course help our societies resume many shuttered activities, and return us to some sense of normal life, but not all things will, or should go back to how they were. 

Amid all this uncertainty, the communities we are privileged to serve, at home and around the world, are relying on us. This is indeed our moment to seize. Throughout an unprecedented year, we have struggled with new ways of living and working. Responsible public health orders shut down critical parts of our social infrastructure, such as schools and childcare, a difficult necessity for curbing the spread of COVID-19. 

Unfortunately, these measures have had a disproportionate impact on women and others who provide care for children dependents at home. I am especially concerned about the pandemic’s effect on the career trajectory of women in our UCSF community, and how it may widen the gender-based disparities that already exist in places. This is why we are continuing to look hard for ways to support women and other dependent care providers in our community. 

An example of this, is our partnership with the YMCA to operate on-site learning camps. However, more needs to be done and will be done. We are continuing to develop solutions that will help reduce the impact of the public health emergency on those who provide care to dependents at home. Now, for all of us, this past year we have experienced emotional fatigue, isolation and anxiety, or what some have described as the Pandemic Halo. 

In times like this, it is important that we continue to look for ways to support one another, to remember that we share a purpose guided by our pride values. I firmly believe it is our values and shared purpose that enable us to serve as an indispensable part, of our society’s response to these crises. To look beyond ourselves and provide stable leadership to our communities reeling from the pandemic. And I believe it is our values and shared purpose, that will help us address the second pandemic our country has confronted this past year. 

When our society faced a long overdue reckoning on systemic racism, advocates for racial equity have filled the streets with a clear and growing voice, a voice demanding social justice. Then an early and unusually fierce start to the wildfire season, brought about the tragic loss of life and property. These fires cast a pall of smoke over the West Coast, stretching to the East Coast and into Europe. A further reminder of how our global communities are connected, and the urgency to mitigate climate change. 

Throughout a year marked by profound adversity, the UCSF community has responded with dedication and action that can only be described as extra ordinary. In my nearly four decades at UCSF, I have never been prouder of the work we do together to serve the needs of our patients and the communities that depend on us. Teams across UCSF, have rallied in response to the pandemic, with speed and selflessness acting as if by instinct. And I've heard many of you say with pride, “We were made for this.” So, let’s turn now to some members of our community to hear their perspectives on our shared pandemic response.

- Armond M. Esmaili, MD: Nobody ever wishes for this moment to arise, but I think many of us felt like this is what we’ve trained our whole careers to do.

- Alicia Catanese, NSN, RN: When the pandemic hit a lot of things were shifting about, it was very unknown at the time, it was very mysterious.

- Emily Crawford, PhD: It was scary in those early days, we didn’t know what it was gonna be like, and, you know, whether our own health and well being was at risk.

- Armond M. Esmaili, MD:  My name is Armond Esmaili, and I’m a physician in hospital medicine or a hospitalist here at UCSF. Since the pandemic, I’ve been the medical director of our respiratory isolation unit here at our Parnassus Heights campus, which cares for patients who have suspected or confirmed COVID-19.

I remember some of our first patients who had COVID-19 way back in February. For patients foremost, we just didn't know what to expect. It's a scary and unique feeling to share with a patient that you’re one of their first few patients to ever have this brand-new illness that we don’t know a lot about, and we don’t know what the best therapies are, we don’t necessarily know who’s gonna get better or who’s gonna get worse.

One of the biggest lessons has been, folks on all levels here at UCSF, being asked to step into roles, myself included, that they weren’t prepared for or weren’t trained to do, and leaning on others and rising to the occasion. I go and now seeing patients with COVID-19 feeling a lot of confidence, not just with my personal experience, but being able to tell them as an individual provider and as an institution at UCSF, we have a lot of expertise caring for patients with COVID-19.

What I’ve seen our institution do that’s been really inspiring, is not just prepare here to see a rise in patience, but also to shift our focus to be able to help offer our expertise to areas across the country and across the globe.

- Alicia Catanese, NSN,RN: My name is Alicia Catanese and I am a registered nurse here at UCSF. Well, right when I heard the pandemic was hitting, I have friends and colleagues in New York who were telling me of things going on. And as a provider and especially as a nurse, like this is what I do. So, I was a part of a group that was deployed to Navajo Nation. The community itself was so inviting and absolutely welcomed us with open arms, but also they had already been so devastated by the effects of COVID. When it comes as fast as COVID did, you just don’t have the time to react and people end up just dying.

UCSF doctor: Are you feeling especially depressed?

Patient: Stressed.

UCSF doctor: Stressed, yeah, I totally understand.

- Alicia Catanese, NSN,RN: We came at just the right time for the support of the hospital there and of the nurses and doctors and the community there. They didn’t need us to come and save them, they just needed us to come and support them in this time. COVID-19 has really just exposed many of the health disparities in many different communities that we haven’t really seen on a grand scale. I think many of us who are in this field knew about it, but now the world knows about it a lot more, and we can give more voice to it now. I am so happy that I was with an institution like UCSF that understood those disparities.

- Emily Crawford, PhD" My name is Emily Crawford, and I’m a group leader here at the Chan Zuckerberg Biohub. So, when COVID came up early this year, I transitioned my work from basic research to eventually running this COVID-19 diagnostics lab. What we were charged with was to increase the capacity for COVID testing here at UCSF. We expanded that to actually provide no cost testing to public health departments actually, throughout the whole state of California.

In addition, we've also been involved in a number of clinical research studies. We were really proud to be involved in those studies, The Mission District study early on in April, for example, which was one of the first to really highlight so strongly how this pandemic disproportionately affects communities of color in San Francisco and the Bay Area. It’s really important for us in these times to be protecting our public institutions and really focusing on them. The pandemic needs the attention of public institutions that really have this broad availability and accessibility to all the people in our community regardless of, you know, where they’re coming from.

- Alicia Catanese, NSN,RN: If you have the gift and the skill, then you need to use it for the betterment of someone else. And I believe UCSF holds that same mindset, I think we all can say this year has been just a whirlwind but I was very proud of the fact that UCSF responded the way they did.

- Armond M. Esmaili, MD: I’m very proud of how UCSF has risen to the occasion. It’s taken its mission to serve the community, the region, the nation, and the world wholeheartedly from the front lines, who are facilities workers, our patient care providers, our nurses, our doctors, everyone has risen to the occasion to provide the best patient care possible.

Chancellor Sam Hawgood: What you just heard are powerful testaments to the solidarity that binds UCSF to our patients and the communities we serve. This bond was in brilliant display in the early phases of the pandemic. In those anxious days, our nurses, respiratory therapists, physicians and other clinical staff, led UCSF response, focusing as they do today, on the well being of our patients. 

And following their lead, the rest of the UCSF community supported them with our full might. Indeed, our response has spanned the entire University, from those providing care on the front lines, to the work of our faculty and learners, to those who keep our operations running seamlessly, movers between campuses, and keepers of our facility safe and clean. 

Our collective response to this public health crisis has been breathtaking. What I have seen is a new level of integration involving thousands of people from all corners of UCSF. And I urge you to continue reinforcing this foundation. 

Let me share with you just a few examples from the last nine months. In our research mission, UCSF researchers led by Sawona Biswas and faculty in our Bakar Computational Science Institute, the COVID Host Genomics Consortium is focused on better understanding the genetic basis of disease risks and protections, and integrating this knowledge into better patient care.

Through the federally funded common project, Carolyn Calfee and colleagues are mobilizing our immunologist to collect and analyze clinical data in a wide range of patient samples from our UCSF Health partners. With these rich data in hand, COMET researchers are mapping out features of the immune system related to COVID-19 susceptibility and severity, with an eye towards more effective therapies. 

The UCSF Quantitative Biology Institutes Coronavirus Research Group under Nevan Krogan’s leadership, has assembled a global network of top scientists to unveil the key proteins in our own cells, that are hijacked by the SARS-CoV-2 during infection. Now, this group is using that information to identify dozens of drug candidates, including already approved compounds with the potential to stop the virus in its track. 

Leveraging this and other emerging research on COVID-19, to develop clinical therapies is an urgent priority. UCSF scientists and clinicians from disparate fields are refocusing their research efforts and adapting their expertise to fight COVID-19. 

The unprecedented collaborations that emerged have led to remarkable breakthroughs, including AeroNabs, a technology that has the potential to alter the course of the pandemic. Peter Walter and Aashish Manglik were able to engineer a synthetic antibody, that when administered as an inhalant could act as a molecular form of PPE, neutralizing the novel coronavirus before it can ever infect our cells. 

Taking a similar approach, the School of Pharmacy’s Jim wells, is applying his protein and engineering expertise, to develop innovative tests and therapies that will also combat the novel coronavirus. At my last count, there are 23 clinical trials at UCSF that are related to treatments for COVID-19. 

Physicians Annie Luetkemeyer, Sarah Doernberg and their colleagues, are involved in clinical trials to test whether antiviral drugs and immunomodulators can accelerate the recovery of COVID-19 patients. UCSF is also involved in one of the major COVID-19 vaccine trials. 

Very early in the pandemic, UCSF infectious disease leaders realized that COVID-19 could have an out-sized impact on underserved communities. They quickly organized to address these inequities. Diane Havlir saw firsthand, the overwhelming number of Latinx COVID-19 patients coming in to Zuckerberg San Francisco General Hospital. Drawing on her experience as a veteran of the fight against HIV/AIDS, Diane created a close partnership with the Latino task force for COVID-19. She and her team are documenting through mass surveillance testing, the pandemic's overwhelming impact, on low income Latinx essential workers in the mission and other communities. Her work has led directly to critical policy changes at the local and state levels, to better support this community. 

Other community partnerships to enhance testing and direct resources towards marginalized communities have been formed under the banner of UCSF’s COVID-19 Community Public Health Initiative, which is led by Kirsten Bibbins-Domingo. Her colleague Kim Rhodes has led work in San Francisco's Bayview, Sunnydale and Visitacion Valley neighborhoods. Alicia Fernandez of the UCSF Latinx Center of Excellence has led the effort in Oakland's Fruitvale neighborhood. And Margot Kushel and her team, have worked with the San Francisco unhoused population.

During the severe testing backlog at the very start of the pandemic, Joe DeRisi led a team to build a state of the art COVID-19 diagnostic laboratory in our UCSF research lab adjacent to CZ Biohub, in just eight days. Thanks to the tireless volunteer work of our skilled UCSF graduate students and postdocs, that lab soon became the hub for analyzing samples from our community partners and public health departments across the state, delivering them free results in 48 hours or less. 

In partnership with the California Department of Public Health, George Rutherford is leading a project that trains thousands of individuals across the state, in contact tracing and case investigation. Throughout the pandemic, UCSF work has been part and parcel of a coordinated public health response led by municipal and state leaders including Mayor London Breed and Governor Gavin Newsom. 

Our closest partners in this work include; Mark Gailey, California Health and Human Services Agency Secretary. Erica Pan, acting state health officer at the California Department of Public Health, Thomas Aragon, health officer of the city and county of San Francisco, and Grant Colfax, director of the San Francisco Department of Public Health. All of them are good friends of UCSF, and they know as well. They have provided exceptional leadership during this tumultuous year, and all of them I am proud to say, received their training at UCSF. 

Our society is in desperate need of health leaders like these, whose decisions are grounded in science and fact, and who work for the interests of all. In the divisive politics that have sown confusion in our society, science has repeatedly come under attack. This disturbing trend has led to unnecessary suffering and loss of life. 

With the national elections upon us, I urge you to vote and make your voice heard. In the real time unfolding of the pandemic, we are witnessing the devastating consequences and connections, between health disparities and systemic racism. 

As I’ve described an important part of our response to this public health emergency, spans the work of multiple teams that are providing COVID-19 testing for underserved communities, and then ensuring that those who need care receive it. This important focus illustrates how UCSF partners with community organizations and public health officials, to ensure that the most vulnerable among us don't slip through the social safety net. It reflects our long-standing commitment to health equity. 

But as the national conversation on race and racism has expanded, we have recognized the need to look in the mirror and examine our own institutional culture and practices as well. This summer, we launched our Anti-Racism Initiative, which is led by Vice Chancellor Renee Navarro. This initiative supports and extends the important work that UCSF advocates have been advancing, since the Civil Rights Movement that began some 60 years ago. 

The UCSF Black Caucus, the Chicanx Latinx Campus Association, the Diversity Matters Programs within the School of Medicine, and many others are building on this legacy at a critical time in the country's history. The troubling events of this year, have given us greater urgency in our work to address practices that explicitly, unconsciously, or systemically, disadvantaged people of color in our community. So, let’s take a moment to hear from members of our UCSF family on why this work is so critical.

- Jazzmin Williams: I’ve been thinking about why 2020, why this feels different than in years past. I think it’s because of how people are responding to it. It seems like there’s more of an awakening, and the only thing that I can, you know, trace it to, honestly is the pandemic.

- LaMisha Hill, PhD: The reality is that these in justices have been happening for many, many years, and then continue to happen. But the amplification of the movement for Black lives really coalesced with COVID-19.

- Alicia Fernandez, MD: You know, COVID-19 has been called the great reveler and I think that’s true in terms of revealing how much the social determinants of health shape who gets sick, and who dies from this disease.

- LaMisha Hill, PhD: How do we dismantle structural racism? I think the first part is that we have to be able to talk about race. It is a small word that has a big impact. And doing the work and understanding the ways in which race as a classification system has separated many people from one another, right? And the ways in which we are taught to set ourselves apart from one another is just not true.

- Jazzmin Williams: Being a Black woman, and coming from an area of California in the Central Valley, that has an underserved medical population, that also has a lot of health care providers that don’t necessarily represent the makeup of the community, I felt really passionate about changing those demographics myself, being a part of the solution. White Coats For Black Lives actually was a really strong motivating factor for me even coming to UCSF in the first place. I felt that UCSF was a place that really valued students pushing them forward. UCSF really values being a progressive institution, wants to make sure that they are delivering the best care to everyone, and also, I felt that they were humble and realized that they had blind spots, and that students were really important and motivating them and exposing those blind spots and coming up with solutions creatively to really address them.

- Alicia Fernandez, MD: One of the things that really matters to me, is that UCSF is one of the largest employers in San Francisco if not the largest. How we conduct business as an employer is crucial to the health of our communities. Saying that now carries a resonance that it didn't say two years ago.

- LaMisha Hill, PhD: We have relied on much of the gift, the energy, and the labor of people of color to drive this work and that comes at a significant cost. There is a great invitation and opportunity for those who have maybe not realized the ways that they stayed on the sidelines to come in.

- Jazzmin Williams: Having a more equitable, diverse and inclusive society benefits all of us because we’re all represented, we all have a voice. And if we make sure that as an institution that voices from all fabrics of our society are equally represented and have equal weight, then we can really make sure that when we sit down to address a certain issue, that we're not biasing our solution, that we're making sure that we can see it from all aspects.

- Alicia Fernandez, MD: There’s no question in my mind that we don’t do social justice because it’s morally right, we do social justice because it is in our own self interest. There is a constant assault on our sense of self and our sense of what it means to be human. When we see the food lines that are 14 blocks long in the Mission, when we see police violence and acts of racism, social justice needs to be conceptualized really broadly, because it really will allow us to be more human and allow our children to be more human.

- LaMisha Hill, PhD: When you knew that the COVID-19 pandemic was real, what did you do? Did you look around your house for all of your extra hand sanitizer, or you may be sewing homemade masks, and all of those things that people did and we saw them do, they did it with love. They didn’t do it knowing what the breakdown of the virus looks like, and how it impacts the body, they didn’t do it from knowing all of the right things to do, right? And I think in parallel, it is the same with regards to the peace around social justice and equity, right? We may not always have the right words, we may all need to be learning and growing, absolutely, and yet we can still show up with love.

Chancellor Sam Hawgood: We must do the hard work required of us to listen, learn and act. To make changes within our own institution, to remove behaviors and policies that perpetuate inequities. We must also do our part and aspire to lead these anti-racism actions on a broader national stage. 

As part of this important effort, I'm encouraged by our early work to eliminate race-based algorithms, in the assessment of health and illness. Unconscious racial bias in medicine, is a needless and potentially dangerous risk factor for many people of color. Two of our early efforts include kidney and lung function tests. We are also exploring how we can better address race in science and health care more broadly. 

In the conversations on racism taking place across the country, there is rightly a focus now on anti-Black racism. It remains one of the most pervasive and stock forms of bias and discrimination in our society. As it has been for decades, the fight against anti black racism is at the vanguard of a broader movement. At its core, it shares the values of equity, diversity, and belonging that also drive the pursuit for social justice in other important areas. This includes advocacy efforts that address LGBTQI; gender, indigenous people, immigration and disability related issues. In each of these we stand firmly on the side of history that fights for equity. 

These are indeed turbulent times, and it is entirely appropriate that we reprioritized our 2020 plans to focus on the twin pandemics of COVID-19 and racial injustice. And yet, we must also continue to look and plan for the future. Our ongoing work must maintain a long view, and we must continue to advance health across a wide range of fronts. 

You know that UCSF is among the world’s elite organizations focused on health science research, education and care delivery. And as the work I’ve described shows, we are embracing our responsibility to be bold and continue leading the way. The fundraising campaign we publicly launched in 2017, leveraged this vision. Last month we closed this highly successful campaign after raising more than $6 billion for UCSF’s core mission, a very bright spot indeed in this challenging year. 

The incredible outcome of that campaign will enable us to accelerate discoveries and translate them to therapies, that transform health care and improve lives. Our supporters are urging us to expand our aspirations to be audacious, to reach further and push harder for transformative advances in research, education, and clinical care. 

To train the next generation of health leaders, to recruit and retain the best and brightest minds, and to equip them with cutting edge facilities and resources to work at the very edge of innovation. It has been deeply gratifying to see how our vision has resonated with and inspired our many donors and supporters. So, on behalf of the entire UCSF community, I thank the thousands of our supporters for their generosity and their faith in our public mission to advance health in the Bay Area and around the world. 

One of the many UCSF initiatives that will help us expand our mission, is our comprehensive Parnassus Heights plan. We are making excellent progress towards re-imagining our historic Parnassus Heights campus where the story of UCSF began and has continuously unfolded, for more than 120 years. Our beloved Parnassus Heights campus has served us well throughout our history but now it needs to be upgraded, to keep pace with the requirements of 21st-century science and clinical care. 

Despite our current challenges, it is the right moment to look ahead and begin the transformation of the campus for the next century of progress. To create state-of-the-art facilities for our patients, clinicians, scientists, learners and staff. For the past two years, we have engaged and consulted our neighbors and elected officials in the planning process, for a welcoming community-friendly campus. 

We are now in the final stages of obtaining the approvals needed to move forward with design and construction of the initial phase projects. You, our UCSF family, are very best advocates. So, I encourage you to sign up and lend your support to our advocacy efforts. Major progress on the Parnassus Heights plan will be made in 2021. And I thank the hundreds of people and supporters who have gotten us to this moment. 

In the aftermath of COVID-19 the San Francisco Bay Area will continue to face economic challenges. Even as we navigate our own financial hurdles, we will do our part and contribute to the local economy with construction and service jobs in the years ahead. As we plan for the future to ensure our mission for generations to come, and as we manage the unpredictability of the pandemic, I ask you to stay focused on the four goals for UCSF, that I shared with you last year well before the challenges of 2020 were known.

These goals are even more crucial today. I believe they will serve us well as we rise to the immediate challenge of COVID-19. And they will serve us in the longer term as we plan for the coming decades. So, let me speak briefly to each goal through the lens of 2020. First, innovation. The COVID-19 pandemic has unleashed innovation across our campus and beyond like never before. 

New collaborations within UCSF and with external partners, were formed overnight with one goal in mind, to use our incredible research brain trust and infrastructure, built over many decades to innovate and accelerate discoveries that could bring an end to the suffering caused by the novel coronavirus. 

This was an inspiring grassroots effort. Scientific egos and other career aspirations were put aside, in pursuit of the singular goal. Whole laboratories were repurposed within days, and large scale worldwide collaborations were forged. The progress has simply been astounding. To tackle this new disease, our immunologists, infectious disease specialists and clinicians, quickly huddled, pioneered new treatment strategies, and started clinical trials in a record time. The campus wide strategy of digital transformation started pre-pandemic, has been accelerated and adapted. 

There will be no going back on these innovations. They have been building since before COVID-19, but have accelerated with the onset of the pandemic. Indeed, I believe the striking lesson we have all learned over the last nine months, is that we can bring massive, effectual innovation to scale rapidly. This lesson will serve us well into the future. 

The second goal I introduced last year is our partnerships. since our founding, we have had a deep partnership with the people and leaders of San Francisco. From our emergency response in the 1906 earthquake, to working with the city and our community during the AIDS crisis in the 1980s, we have formed strong bonds and partnerships that make a real difference in a public health crisis. And as we face the reality of a continuing pandemic into 2021 and beyond, our partnerships with our health care network, and our county and state public health departments, have never been more pivotal or impactful. 

As we aggressively pursue new therapies and discoveries for COVID-19, we continue to expand our transformational partnerships with other academic institutions and companies, throughout the Bay Area and the world. These relationships, bridging academia and private enterprise, are helping to ensure a coordinated response to the pandemic across national borders. Our third goal was financial resiliency. 

The events of 2020 have created significant economic challenges for our entire society. COVID-19 and the policy response to it, has created financial difficulties for individuals and institutions alike. These effects will be felt for years, and we at UCSF will not be immune. But as we face our economic challenges, we need to balance responsible short term responses, with the imperative to continue investing strategically in our future. Now, we faced a similar challenge during the Great Recession. Now a decade later, we must again employ the strategic foresight that helped us emerge from the 2008 financial crisis stronger than ever. 

And lastly, our people and culture. We have seen how UCSF rises together to overcome difficult times with solidarity. This is made possible by the amazing people of our community and the culture we have created together. Our people with their diversity, their creativity, and their commitment, are UCSF’s greatest asset. To be sure, the scale and pace of change this year, have made it difficult to fully make sense of our individual and collective experience. And I suspect it will take time to appreciate the full scope of what we are living through. But we are a restless community. In the phase of a global public health crisis, we are doing what we do best, tackling the hardest problems to make lives better. 

The challenges of COVID-19 notwithstanding, we are living through an exhilarating time in the history of UCSF. As we face the still uncertain course of the pandemic, I asked you to focus on two very big priorities. First, let us continue to aggressively and relentlessly pursue our efforts to better understand, prevent, and treat COVID-19. This requires all of our community from research to education, to care delivery and operations, to continue working as one UCSF. 

I encourage you to continue building on the new collaborations both within UCSF and beyond, that we have created in response to the pandemic. And second, I ask you to keep our focus on our long-term strategy, to ensure our ability to provide UCSF’s leadership for the decades ahead. Critically, we must continue the hard work required to foster a culture of inclusivity in which equity drives our shared success. We cannot retreat from these ambitions. No matter how urgent and compelling the current moment feels, we have the responsibility to those that will follow us in the decades to come to balance the needs of today, with a need to plan strategically for tomorrow. 

In this most unpredictable year, one of the few constants has been change itself. Now, there are some changes that are beyond our influence, but there are other changes that we have the power to direct and it is our responsibility to accelerate them. I spoke last year of the golden opportunities in science, education and health care that lie before us. We are in a truly unique moment arising from the transformational partnerships we have formed, and the confluence of science and technology both here in the Bay Area and around the world. 

This convergence is driving unbelievably rapid advances in the health sciences. So, we must grasp these once in a generation opportunities. So, now I will close by thanking you all, each and every one of you, for responding to the many challenges of 2020 with such resolve and such resilience. We will undoubtedly face more change in the coming months, and we will be tested further. But our resolve and our resilience will see us through and ensure a very bright future for UCSF for decades to come.

Chancellor Sam Hawgood: After filming of the State of the University program, we learned of the passing of former UCSF Chancellor Philip R. Lee. I want to take a moment to honor his extraordinary contributions to UCSF. Chancellor Lee was the third person to lead UCSF when he took the helm in 1969. At a time of great turmoil in our society, and a great transition for the University. A physician by training, he became a champion of health policy research, and led the expansion of the biomedical research enterprise, to push UCSF from a professional school, to in his words, a true health science university.

Chancellor Lee was a vanguard of his time, an early advocate of free health care and affirmative action. He also served under two U.S. presidents impacting public health on a national level. At UCSF, his legacy lives on through the Philip R. Lee Institute for Health Policy Studies, and his passion for UCSF public mission reverberates to this day. Let’s hear it in his words from his 1969 inauguration.

- UCSF Chancellor Philip R. Lee: But second I believe that the universities and a health sciences university, has a unique contribution to make to the solution of many of these problems that seems so overwhelming today. I think indeed that we will make those contributions, I think we are making them, I think our contributions in the future will be far more important to our society than they have been in the past.

Chancellor Sam Hawgood: Today, we honor the legacy of Chancellor Philip R. Lee.