The first time Eduardo Fricovsky came in contact with UC San Diego, he was a ninth-grader coming from a neighborhood where violence and drug use were common occurrences. Fast forward a few decades and Fricovsky is now a faculty member at the Skaggs School of Pharmacy and Pharmaceutical Sciences, mentoring a diverse student population. He also volunteers at UCSD’s Student-Run Free Clinic Project, which serves a diverse population.
“I owe so much to this campus,” Fricovsky said at the 16th Annual Equal Opportunity, Affirmative Action and Diversity Awards Ceremony held Feb. 8 at the Price Center.
He was one of 17 individuals and eight departments, organizations and units recognized for their outstanding contributions in support of UCSD’s commitment to diversity and understanding of other cultures.
“Diversity is fundamental to our mission and it is a fundamental part of our excellence,” Chancellor Marye Anne Fox said Tuesday.
This year’s ceremony is all the more special that it coincides with the campus’ 50th anniversary, celebrating achieving the extraordinary—exactly what the award recipients have been doing. Fox said. “I know each one of you knows how important diversity is to UC San Diego,” she told the audience. “In fact, nothing is more important to me.”
The award winners come from a wide range of disciplines, Fox also said. Some helped heal racial tensions last year. Others reached out to underserved populations on campus and beyond. Others forged partnerships to help the university and the community. Fricovsky brings together many of these achievements.
A Success Story Fricovsky graduated from what was then Gompers High School. His neighborhood was defined by gangs and drugs, he said. But he strived to stay away from these influences. “For me, education has always been the most important thing in my life,” he said.
In ninth-grade, he enrolled in a UCSD outreach program run by Dr. Sandra Daley, now the campus’ chief diversity officer. In 1997, he became a UCSD student. He graduated in 2002 with a degree in biochemistry and chemistry. He went on to the UCSF School of Pharmacy, where he graduated in 2006. He wanted to come back to UCSD and received a three-year fellowship at the School of Medicine here. Finally, he applied for an opening at Skaggs and has been an assistant professor there for three years.
When he’s not mentoring students at Skaggs, or bringing middle and high school students to campus for “Pharmacist for a Day” events, he volunteers at the Student-Run Free Clinic, working with faculty across disciplines to help an underserved population.
Fricovsky is evidence that UCSD has achieved its outreach mission—and can achieve it over and over again, said Chief Diversity Officer Daley. Faculty and staff members worked in the community and stayed the course, allowing Fricovsky to graduate college and build a successful career, she said. Now he’s giving back as a faculty member here.
"It’s UCSD at its best," Daley said.
UC San Diego is ranked number one in the nation by the Washington Monthly’s 2013 College Guide, based on the positive impact the university has had on the public good. This is the fourth year in a row that this campus has received this recognition.