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Former UC Riverside Chancellor Ray Orbach Returns Nov. 3 for Library Renaming

Former UC Riverside Chancellor Ray Orbach Returns Nov. 3 for Library Renaming

The public ceremony and a symposium honors a champion of science

(October 16, 2009)

Eva and Ray Orbach, in a picture taken while they were serving UC Riverside.Enlarge

Eva and Ray Orbach, in a picture taken while they were serving UC Riverside.

RIVERSIDE, Calif. ( -- Former chancellor Raymond L. Orbach will return to campus next month and he will stay forever — if not in body then in name, as the campus officially renames the Science Library the Raymond L. Orbach Science Library.

The ceremony, which will be held at 4 p.m. on Tuesday, Nov. 3 at the science library atrium, is the culmination of an effort, started two years ago by then-acting chancellor Robert D. Grey.

“During his tenure here at UCR, Ray Orbach did so much for the campus, I felt it was important to permanently recognize his contributions,” said Grey, who led the campus from May 2007 to May 2008.

Orbach served as the campus’ chancellor from 1992 to 2002 as it nearly doubled in student population from 8,500 to 15,500. During his tenure the campus also experienced a campus-wide building boom, including adding over 1-million square-feet of office, research, and teaching facilities with a value of $250 million.

Orbach also spent time in personal outreach to underserved communities, with the message that preparation for college needs to start in middle school. To that end, he oversaw the development of a booklet, “Keys to the Future,” which outlined how students could start preparing to be UC-eligible as early as the fourth grade. The booklet was translated into Spanish.

Timothy P. White, UCR’s current chancellor, enthusiastically endorsed the naming. “Since my arrival at UCR, I have been impressed with the considerable legacy he left this campus and community. It seems fitting to recognize his many contributions by the naming of this beautiful facility.”

Orbach and his wife, Eva, will attend the ceremony, as well as a symposium “Science-based Solutions for the 21st Century: The Legacy of Raymond L. Orbach,” which will be held 2 to 3:30 p.m. in the auditorium of the new genomics building.

Executive Vice Chancellor Dallas Rabenstein will moderate the symposium, which will include brief talks from Norm Ellstrand, professor of genetics and geneticist from the Center for Conservation Biology; Robert Haddon, a distinguished professor chemistry from the Center for Nanoscale Science and Engineering; Natasha Raikhel, a distinguished professor of botany and plant sciences from the Institute for Integrative Genome Biology; Tim Paine, professor of entomology from the Center for Invasive Species Research; and Joe Norbeck, professor of environmental engineering, from CE-CERT.
The speakers were chosen because they lead institutes or centers that Orbach helped launch.

“Chancellor Orbach worked tirelessly to build the campus in both size and stature, while at the same time strengthening ties with the community. His legacy includes a rash of new, much –needed capital facilities, including the Science Library,” noted committee members in the proposal to name the building after Orbach.

Opened in 1998 at a cost of $29.7 million, the 106,000 square foot science library houses approximately 533,000 books, journals, maps and other scientific resources. The library has more than 100 publicly accessible computer workstations, 25 group study rooms, map collection with state of the art cartographic and GIS resources. It is one of five UCR libraries. Others are the Rivera Library, the Music Library, the Multimedia Library and the Palm Desert Digital Library, located at UCR’s Palm Desert campus.

Raymond L. Orbach
Quick Facts

• Born in Los Angeles, Orbach earned a bachelor's degree from the California Institute of Technology in 1956. He was awarded a Ph.D. from UC Berkeley in 1960.
• Orbach began his academic career as a postdoctoral fellow at Oxford University in 1960 and became an assistant professor of applied physics at Harvard University in 1961. He joined the faculty of the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA) two years later as an associate professor, and became a full professor in 1966. From 1982 to 1992, he served as the Provost of the College of Letters and Science at UCLA.
• While chancellor, Raymond L. Orbach maintained an active research laboratory and regularly taught a freshman physics class.
• Orbach was the second-longest tenured chancellor at UCR. The first was Ivan Hinderaker.
• Orbach left UCR in 2002 to become director of the Office of Science at the U.S. Department of Energy in Washington, D.C., the highest ranking science policy administrator within the department. He was then nominated by President George W. Bush to become the first undersecretary for science, a newly created post that advises the secretary of energy on science and technology, and the management and state of the department’s national laboratories. The undersecretary also monitors the Department of Energy’s research and development programs.
• He recently took a new position as the director of the University of Texas at Austin’s Energy Institute, a multi-disciplinary institute that combines the strengths of the university’s schools and colleges to advance solutions to today’s energy-related challenges.

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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