R Scene


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A Brilliant Result

In October 2021, UCR launched the Beyond Brilliant initiative with the goal of raising $50 million in five years for resources supporting students. Thanks to the generosity of alumni, parents, faculty, staff, students, corporations, foundations, and other members of the Highlander family, UCR has raised $53,617,519 for Beyond Brilliant, successfully capping the initiative in less than two years.

“We are so thankful for the supportive community that recognized the opportunities we have to make a difference in the lives of our UCR students,” said Susan Atherton and Wally Bakare, members of the UC Riverside Foundation Board of Trustees and co-chairs of the Beyond Brilliant Committee. “Exceeding our goal years ahead of schedule was proof that our alumni and friends share our belief that the Highlanders of today and tomorrow should have everything they need to be successful.”

Over 600 student support funds are benefiting from Beyond Brilliant in areas including scholarships, fellowships, research, experiential learning, career development, and health and well-being.

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UCR Joins the Association of American Universities

Following an announcement by the organization in June, UCR joined the Association of American Universities, or AAU, on July 1. Membership in the AAU is selective, and the association includes the nation’s foremost universities — those that claim the majority of competitively awarded federal research funding.

AAU maintains strong advocacy on behalf of its members in Congress for research funding, as well as for public policy principles including academic freedom and college affordability.

UCR was admitted with five other universities in the first new-member cohort in four years and only the second cohort since 2012. There are now 71 member institutions in the AAU, which was founded in 1900. Founding members include universities such as Cornell, Columbia, Harvard, Johns Hopkins, Princeton, and Stanford. Public universities subsequently admitted include Michigan State, Ohio State, Penn State, and Purdue.

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Congratulations, Highlanders!

For the first time ever, students graduating in UCR’s class of 2023 walked across the stage in one of two locations: the Student Recreation Center on campus or the Toyota Arena in the nearby city of Ontario. The university’s 69th Commencement included 10 discipline or degree-based ceremonies as well as other celebrations organized by various student resources, like Honor’s Cording, ASP’s Black Grad, and CSP’s Raza Grad. More than 6,000 graduates, 54,000 guests, and 340 volunteer staff registered to attend the June celebrations. The move of most ceremonies to Toyota Arena was announced last fall in response to graduates’ needs for air conditioning, more guest tickets, and better viewpoints of the ceremony. Historically, UCR Commencement was held outdoors on Pierce Lawn or at the bell tower where temperatures sometimes crept toward the 100-degree zone.

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UCR Garners Rankings Successes

Among several notable rankings in recent months, UCR achieved a 4.5 out of 5-star rating in Money magazine’s Best Colleges in America 2023, released in June. On Money’s 2023 list of 736 four-year colleges, 34 universities achieved 5-star rankings, and 190 were awarded 4.5 stars.

Money’s editors wrote: “UC Riverside has an economically diverse student body and impressive outcomes.” Among the metrics touted, UCR’s graduation rate of 79% and average salary of $64,000 a decade after enrolling were mentioned.

Other recent noteworthy rankings include:
  • The university was named one of the world’s top universities in the 2024 edition of the QS World University Rankings released June 27. The campus placed No. 69 in the United States in the 20th edition of the rankings, published by higher education analyst Quacquarelli Symonds and posted at TopUniversities.com.
  • The university ranked among the top 1.3% of universities worldwide (No. 252 out of 20,531 institutions) in the 2023 Center for World University Rankings.
  • The School of Medicine ranked No. 5 for diversity in U.S. News & World Report’s 2023-2024 Best Grad School rankings.
Aerial view of UC Riverside campus with bell tower and UCR letters