Francisco Santamarina


Francisco Santamarina

Job Title:

Assistant Director

Joined the L&S Office of Undergraduate Advising in:

August 2011

What is your approach to advising?

I'm always mindful, perhaps because I'm an immigrant, of transitions and adjustments and how challenging both of these can be. My goal is to assist students with their own transition to Cal by offering them options and showing them ways they can use to engage with their studies, succeed academically, and connect with resources available in the University.


I was an undergraduate student at Northwestern and later a law student at Michigan and a graduate student at Berkeley.

How did you get here?

During my graduate years at Cal, I discovered that what I enjoyed the most was working with students and faculty. After leaving Berkeley, I served as an adviser for undergraduate students and as a dean at the University of Chicago. When my wife and I relocated to the Bay Area, I was fortunate to find a position as an adviser in the College of Letters and Science.

What's your favorite part of your job?

It's always a pleasure to observe the almost limitless possibilities of a liberal education in the hands of talented students. I also enjoy watching students establish relationships with faculty, discover their academic passion, and find activities that complement their studies.

About me:

My family and I moved from the Caribbean to Chicago in the late ‘60s. At times, I feel that I've been on a permanent study abroad program. I'm a firm believer in the value of overseas study as a means of shedding preconceptions and developing cultural and linguistic dexterity.

What advice do you have for L&S students:

Get to know faculty; they're the reason you chose to attend Cal. If you're hesitant about doing this, speak with a college adviser as soon as possible. Become a thoughtful and judicious academic explorer – again, a conversation with a college adviser can help you overcome a reluctance to expand your intellectual horizons.