Critical Care: Why Dr. Chuck Galaviz Gives Back to Campuswide Honors

Wednesday, May 18 is UCI Giving Day 2022. On this day, we invite you to support the UCI Campuswide Honors Collegium (CHC). The UCI CHC is one of the top honors programs in the nation. The CHC provides transformative educational opportunities to a community of motivated learners that allow students to grow both academically and personally. On Giving Day, CHC supporters, like Chuck Galaviz, can give a gift to empower the success of UCI’s best and brightest. Read on to learn more about Chuck and why he supports the CHC.

Like many early Campuswide Honors alumni, Chuck Galaviz came to UCI without much of an idea about Irvine or what to expect. He had initially planned to attend UCLA, but his opinion changed after a visit to campus where he was pointedly told that as a pre-med student, he would just be a number there.

Wanting more out of his college experience, Chuck took a chance and visited UCI. After seeing the wide-open spaces of Aldrich Park and the construction of new buildings on campus, Chuck saw that UCI was on the rise. It was a presentation by Campuswide Honors that sealed the deal, and Chuck knew he had found his place.

For Chuck, the opportunities provided by Campuswide Honors gave him the undergraduate experience that he had hoped for. While perks such as priority registration ensured that he could get into popular pre-med courses and meet his academic goals, Campuswide Honors also opened the door for an array of exciting experiences he never imagined.

“I attended Coffee Hour whenever I could; it was so cool to meet with professors in a social setting—something I never would have tried to do on my own. I remember one time going to Coffee Hour and Thomas Keneally (author of Schindler’s List) was there. There were just so many cool moments. I remember making friends at the Honors camping trips or hanging out at the beach with friends from Honors. I also remember being able to go to a special day of presentations by Nobel laureates because of my affiliation with the Honors program and getting to meet one of the two scientists that discovered the double helix of DNA!”

Looking back, Chuck acknowledges the major role that Campuswide Honors played in his life at UCI both academically and socially. He even attributes much of his later success to the program as well. “The Honors program was a powerful force for helping me reach my goal of making it to medical school,” he reflects.

At the University of Iowa Carver College of Medicine, Chuck continued to work hard and excel academically. He graduated with a specialization in anesthesiology and completed his residency at the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics. Following his residency, he was hired at the University of Utah School of Medicine in 2005 where he currently serves as head of liver and kidney transplant anesthesia and co-director of anesthesia services for the university’s South Jordan health centers.

It is in this role that Chuck served as an essential worker when the Covid-19 pandemic hit in early 2020. As cases surged, Chuck and his team worked tirelessly, performing intubations and other procedures that carried a high risk for exposure to shield other hospital staff from the virus. Surrounded by such uncertainty and stress, Chuck called on the leadership skills he learned during his time in Campuswide Honors. He explains,

“As the experts in respiratory systems, our coworkers looked to us for answers. And, as the head of the department, all eyes were on me. But I was confident in the leadership qualities that I started to hone during my time at UCI, and I knew I could provide direction and give sound advice. At that time we didn’t have all the answers, so it was really strong leadership that pulled us through.”

Chuck admits that working at the front lines of the pandemic was difficult and even scary at times. With his wife also working as a physician, they were forced to confront the possibility of contracting the virus. Together they prepared for the worst, deciding how to quarantine to protect their three children and even updating their legal documents and wills.

Despite the overwhelming circumstances, Chuck explains that his sense of duty and desire to help others kept him going. Now, with the surge starting to abate, Chuck has finally had the time to process the pandemic. For Chuck, surviving Covid-19 has reminded him just how important it is to give back and make a difference.

“I feel very grateful for every step of my education because each place provided me an opportunity to get to the next level, and it all started with the foundation I built at UC Irvine and the Honors program. I wouldn’t be where I am today without my time at UC Irvine. I give back because I want to support the same experience for other students. It’s been nearly a quarter-century since I graduated, but it still makes me happy to know that I can help others have the same opportunities I did. I support Campuswide Honors specifically because I want to preserve those unique experiences and ensure that they remain available for others!”

Through the financial support of alumni like Chuck, the Campuswide Honors Collegium is able to continue traditions like Coffee Hour, prepare students for careers after UCI, give needed scholarship support, and expand resources and services. 

This UCI Giving Day, giving a gift to the CHC ensures that other UCI students can engage in the same transformative experiences that Chuck enjoyed. On Wednesday, May 18, all gifts will go towards supporting the specialized programming and resources that make the UCI CHC one of the best honors programs in the country. Show your support for UCI’s honors students by clicking here to give your gift.