December 2023: A Message from UCCA President Jemma Samala

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UCCA’s December 2023 / January 2024 University City News print newsletter PDF is now online; delivery begins this weekend. Print copies will be available in University City Libraries and Recreation Centers this weekend.

UCCA held an election for its executive officers at the November 8 meeting and welcomes its new executive team. The new officers as of December 1, 2023, are President Jemma Samala; Vice President Jim Beshears; treasurer Phil Fowler; and secretary Katie Rodolico. See photo and details below.

Jemma Samala UCCA President 2023

From UCCA President Jemma Samala, Thinking Locally, Acting Neighborly:

Happy Holidays everyone! My favorite time of the year – the baking, the decorations, the shopping, the music, the movies, the gatherings, the giving, oh and did I mention the cookies? All the merriment, it’s plain fun.

We just finished our Thanksgiving weekend, and I am most grateful that I live in such a wonderful community as University City, and as we delve into the holiday season, I’m also thankful that I am able to give back to my home.

I didn’t grow up in University City, like many of you in the community, some of which are third generations coming back to home. I wasn’t even raised in San Diego. But about 30 years ago, I moved to San Diego with my then husband (who did grow up in San Diego). It was his great idea to move to University City in 1999, because this was in his opinion the best place to raise our kids. He was right, and I thank him for bringing me to my new community. (He’s no longer in UC – I got the UC house, but hey we’re still friends.)

Ever since, I have loved this community. I have been welcomed by such a diverse group of friends, and that warmth has moved me to give back and help keep University City more than just a neighborhood…because it is home.

I like to take my walks in the quiet of the morning. One day I took a nice long walk along Governor Drive, what I consider our main street. And as I strolled, I realized everything around me represented my comfort zone – my local Starbucks where they know to prepare my grande hot chocolate, the elementary school my kids attended and whose teachers I try and keep in touch with, the baseball fields where my kids played Little League and where we met most of our close friends, and my favorite donut shop (and yes, I got a chocolate glazed donut).

If I had the time, I would have walked by our library where we have had many meetings, the senior apartments where my parents moved in from Orange County so they could be closer to their grandsons (and my dad would go across the street and sweep up around McElroy Field during baseball tournaments), and even further The Lighthouse Preschool where my little boys began their own journeys into life on their own.

The gist is, that like many of you, University City is our comfort zone, with many fond memories. I hope to help keep the neighborhood feel for those of us here, and for those we welcome into the University City family – so we can all strive to make more memories that bring a smile to our faces.

Join me in this goal and let me know what UCCA can do, and how you can help. My first “Jemma at Starbucks on Saturday” (JASS ?) will be on January 13, from 9:00 to 11:00am. (Starbucks on Governor Drive.) Stop by, sit, chat, have a drink, and we can solve all the problems in the world, or at least try in our little corner of San Diego.

Enjoy your holidays, relax and spend time with family, friends, and neighbors…because we have a lot of work to do in the new year! Peace be with you.


UCCA held an election for its executive officers at the November 8 meeting. The slate of all four candidates was approved unanimously. The new officers, beginning as of December 1, 2023 for a two year term, are pictured below from left: Katie Rodolico, Secretary; Jemma Samala, President; Phil Fowler, Treasurer; and Jim Beshears, Vice President.

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