On October 14, 2015, the “What Matters to Me and Why” Lecture series began the 2015-2016 school year with a Lecture featuring Biological Sciences School Professor James McGaugh. The “What Matters to Me and Why” series encourages reflection about the values, beliefs, and motivations in the lives of those who shape our university. With the series kicking off in the same month as UCI’s official 50th anniversary celebration, the series coordinators thought it fitting to have one of the Universities founding faculty members.
Professor McGaugh spoke briefly about his childhood and how certain events impacted his personal development. He also spoke in great detail about how he first ended up at UCI, recruited then by Professor Edward Steinhaus the founding Dean of the Biological Sciences School, and serve as chair of what is now the Department of Neurobiology & Behavior. Nevertheless, the major theme of Professor McGaugh’s talk was the importance of education. A great deal of the lecture was focused on what Professor McGaugh thinks of the current educational climate. Professor McGaugh feels that education should be an investment and doesn’t feel that our current educational system adequately invests in our students. He is critical of the high tuition our nations Universities, including the UC system, and feels that a college education should be free once again.