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Ron Loveridge Honored

Homecoming Event Honors Riverside Mayor

Political science reunion Feb. 6 lauded Ron Loveridge for decades of teaching and mentoring UCR students.

(February 9, 2009)

Ron Loveridge enjoys the event with some of the guests.Enlarge

Ron Loveridge enjoys the event with some of the guests.

RIVERSIDE, Calif. – Generations of UC Riverside alumni whose careers have been influenced by Riverside Mayor Ronald O. Loveridge paid tribute to the associate professor of political science during a Homecoming reunion of political science graduates on Friday, Feb. 6.

The reunion, scheduled from 6:30 p.m. to 9 p.m. in the Alumni & Visitors Center, was one of many events planned during the four-day Homecoming celebration Feb. 4-7.

Loveridge, who was elected mayor of Riverside in 1994, joined the UCR political science department in 1965 and quickly began guiding political science students into internships in local, state and national government. Although his duties as mayor do not permit teaching full time, he still teaches local government courses on a part-time basis.

The internship programs and Loveridge’s continuing passion for helping students apply classroom concepts to real-world situations was life-changing, UCR alumni say.

“It’s impossible to imagine I would be where I am today without those experiences,” said Mac Taylor, a 1976 graduate who became California’s legislative analyst in October 2008.

As an undergraduate, Taylor served internships with a Riverside County supervisor and a state assemblyman in Sacramento. It was during the Sacramento experience that he met his wife, Sherry, who was one of six UCR interns.

“I’ve told Ron he was a full-service professor,” Taylor said, laughing.

Taylor recalled Saturday seminars Loveridge held to which local elected officials were invited to talk with students about a variety of issues and the challenges of public service.

“Ron tried to give people exposure to those actually practicing in the area. It wasn’t just theoretical,” Taylor said. “He also helped me personally by exposing me to public policy schools. I attended Princeton’s Woodrow Wilson School (of Public and International Affairs), and that further led me down the path I ended up on.”

Chuck Cole, a 1970 graduate and emcee of the tribute dinner, said Loveridge changed his life. Now president of the Sacramento lobbying firm Advocation Inc., Cole was planning a career as a foreign service officer when Loveridge persuaded him to participate in the Sacramento internship program.

“I didn’t want to go to Sacramento. I wanted to go to Washington,” Cole recalled. “He said, ‘Great, but give this Sacramento thing a try.’”

That experience ultimately led to a career in state government and as a lobbyist representing government agencies, Fortune 500 companies, cities and counties.

“I owe him so very much,” Cole said. “But for him, I wouldn’t have come to Sacramento, I wouldn’t have met my wife and had my children, or had this job. I owe all to him. My career as a government official and as a lobbyist all stem from Ron urging me to come to Sacramento. He opened doors that led to careers.”

Lizette Navarette, a 2006 graduate, said she first met the mayor at one of the annual meetings he conducts with student leaders at each institution of higher education in the city.

“I was very impressed with his leadership,” she recalled. She took his local government class at UCR, where she enjoyed discussions about current issues and their impact on government and stakeholders.

“It was a completely different way of looking at a course,” she said. “It got us out, meeting people and talking to them.”

Loveridge also served as a role model, she said.

“My goal was always to work in local government. It was nice to meet someone who worked in local government and had a lot of passion for what they did.”

Today she works for the mayor as coordinator of education and youth initiatives. Loveridge, she said, “is the hardest working man I’ve met. He’s very engaged in what he does and wants to share that with everybody.”

The tribute to Loveridge is one of many events planned for Homecoming 2009, which has as its theme “Come Play, come Celebrate, Come Home.” The four-day event featured concerts, a bonfire, a tailgate party and a basketball game against UC Davis.

The celebration kicked off at noon on Feb. 4 at the UCR bell tower with a two-hour spirit rally that will include UCR dance groups, the UCR Pipe Band, the pep band and Scotty the Bear.

“Homecoming is UC Riverside’s winter quarter celebration of school spirit and pride and aspires to bring all members of our community, including faculty, staff, students, alumni and parents, together as Highlanders,” said Susan Allen Ortega, assistant vice chancellor and dean of students. “Homecoming gives us all an opportunity to celebrate the role UC Riverside plays in our personal and professional lives and all we do for one another and for our students to make the university one of great distinction.”

Other events included the Barn Series with featured movies and bands at 7:30 p.m. Feb. 4 and 5 as well as alumni reunions, tours, a hike to the “C” on Box Springs Mountain and a golf tournament.

There was a Highlander Homecoming Tailgate on Feb. 7 from 3 p.m. to 5 p.m. with music, games, a barbecue and prizes, followed by the men’s basketball game in the Student Recreation Center.

HEAT, one of the biggest concerts of the year, was held at 7:30 p.m. on Feb. 7. The lineup will feature N*E*R*D, She Wants Revenge, Circa Survive, DJ Franki Chan, DJ Andy Caldwell, and Collette and D.J. Heather.

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The University of California, Riverside ( is a doctoral research university, a living laboratory for groundbreaking exploration of issues critical to Inland Southern California, the state and communities around the world. Reflecting California's diverse culture, UCR's enrollment has exceeded 21,000 students. The campus opened a medical school in 2013 and has reached the heart of the Coachella Valley by way of the UCR Palm Desert Center. The campus has an annual statewide economic impact of more than $1 billion.

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