Q&A: Napolitano On Diversity, Academics and the Undocumented at U.C.

Nov. 7, 2013 / By

New America Media, Video, Peter Schurmann, Video by Jacob Simas

Ed. Note: In September former secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano took over as president of the University of California, the first-ever woman to hold that position. She now heads a $24 billion system of 10 campuses, five medical centers and three national laboratories. In an interview with New America Media, Napolitano says it was the promise of the California dream, which is really the “American Dream on steroids,” that drew her to the state. The interview was conducted by Peter Schurmann, NAM education editor, and Jacob Simas, videographer/youth media coordinator.

What attracted you to California and to the University of California in particular? 

California is really the engine for the United States, and in some respects for the world. And the University of California is a big engine for the state. The demographics of California are changing … 45 percent of [UC] students are now first generation [immigrants]; 30 percent are from historically underrepresented groups; we have more people receiving financial aid at four of our campuses than the whole Ivy League combined. So it’s a very open university, and it’s a world-class university. And that reflects California. California has always been at the head of innovation and creativity … this notion of the California dream [is] really the American dream on steroids.

Read more at New America Media

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