THE WINDMILLSept. 1, 2011
Before our first meeting in September, we had so much fun greeting each other that we got a late start. Prez Ed Jackson, however, guaranteed us a 1:30 finish so we held our ground. PP Jim Collins led us in our flag salute (the flag being in the proper spot). Marsha Hunt provided a beautiful invocation, asking for a blessing on our club and reminding us not to lose our sense of humor. Prez Ed announced that YOE (PP Ernie Wolfe) has been admitted to a local hospital and we’ll have to wait for details. I sure hope he’s back next week, because publishing this Windmill is not easy. Maestro Lenny led us in “God Bless America” which rang out sweetly. PP Steve Day, who had greeted us at the door, reminded us to rustle up our checks for the Paul Harris Drawing and buy our Circus Vargas tickets before they’re all goneyou can bring your checks next Thursday. A couple of Elementary School visits were announcedcontact New Generations Chair Colby Smith for information. YOD announced we are currently making reservations for the meals and entertainment on the San Francisco Chinatown Rotary Trip (Oct 7-9), so please record your choices on the WVRC website or call Dwight Heikkila, Club Service Chair, right away. Dwight thanked Pauline Harris and the Auxiliary for the excellent Summer Fun Party last Saturday night at Leo Tseng’s house (after which, Leo left for parts unknown).
Prez Ed acknowledged our Membership Chair, Steve Scherer, for leading District 5280 in recruiting new members this year. Maintaining our momentum, Steve inducted Ms. Mirabelle Segovia, with New York Life, as our newest member. She is a double threat, both sweetening our gender mix and reducing our average age. Prez Ed gave us a few minutes to enjoy our swordfish after PP Eric Loberg regaled us with a redneck joke. When I was above Cayuga’s waters, we used to call the crew team “rednecks” for an obvious reason, but (oarsman) Eric failed to mention that.
John O’Keefe next stepped up to introduce our speaker, Mr. Vijay K. Dhir, Ph.D., Dean of the Henry Samueli School of Engineering and Applied Science at UCLA. Dean Dhir came out of the gate quickly, showing us a graph of the decline in domestic students earning Graduate Engineering Degrees20% over the past 10 years. We do have more graduate engineering students at UCLA than decades ago, but many are foreign students who now are more likely to return to their country of origin, where there may be more need and opportunity. Our students cite a lack of academic financial support and lower salaries in engineering relative to MBA grads, but there is also the problem of domestic students not doing as well in math and science (in one local school, 70% of 7th graders failed math). Other countries are often willing to pay more for engineering brains than we are.
Why should we worrywell, there are a “few” little engineering problems we haven’t conquered yet like sustainable energy, climate change, clean water, the cost of healthcare, along with the fact we haven’t built a nuclear reactor in 30 years. Dean Dhir did present some bright spots, however, including a “smart cane” that records your exercise activity and warns a caregiver if you fall. UCLA has contributed more than its share to these areas and outreach, holding a Summer Tech Camp on campus, tutoring and encouraging high school and Elementary school students, developing a joint program with the Anderson business School, providing online graduate learning opportunities, and last year producing more engineering Ph.D.s per faculty than any other school. According to US News and World Report, UCLA ranks #8 among public universities in engineering despite the fact it is only 1/3 the size of the largest schools. It has grown nine externally-funded Research Centers and received Research Awards totaling $150,000,000.
Thank you Dean Dhir-another reason to be proud of our UCLA!