University of California President Michael V. Drake, M.D., made the following statement today (Friday, Sept. 29) about the passing of U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein:
I am deeply saddened to learn of the passing of one of California's greatest champions and its longest-serving senator, Dianne Feinstein. I had the privilege of getting to know the senator throughout her decades of service on behalf of the people of San Francisco and California. She was a pivotal figure who broke barriers as the first woman to serve in numerous leadership roles and left an indelible mark on our state and the nation.
Throughout her career, Senator Feinstein was well known for working with colleagues across the political spectrum and was a leader on issues such as LGBT rights, reproductive rights and gun safety. Her advocacy on behalf of higher education — and the University of California — is unparalleled. She was a champion of science, leading efforts to drive critical changes in research funding and the research pipeline. She fought to protect Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) participants, some of whom were studying at the University, and worked to reform our nation's immigration system. She committed herself to making college more affordable and accessible for all through efforts to increase the Pell Grant, establish programs to support students' basic needs, and much more.
Senator Feinstein’s legacy will shape California and the nation for generations, and we were all better for having known her as a leader and as a friend. Our deepest condolences go out to her family, friends and colleagues during this difficult time.