Regents pick University of Texas chancellor to lead UC system
A legal scholar who's headed two major public universities, Mark Yudof stresses accountability, vows to 'earn the confidence of the people of California every day'
| 02 April 2008
The Board of Regents voted unanimously last week to appoint Mark Yudof, current head of the University of Texas system and a recognized leader in American higher education, the 19th president of the University of California.
The appointment was made official at a special meeting of the board on March 27, following a search committee's recommendation. Yudof will succeed Robert Dynes, who last August announced his intention to step down by June 2008 after nearly five years in the position.
Yudof's appointment will become effective this summer, with the exact date to be determined.
"I am deeply honored by this appointment," said Yudof. "The University of California stands as a model for the world, creating tomorrow's leaders and innovators and helping to solve many of society's most pressing problems. I can think of no greater personal privilege than to have the opportunity to lead this remarkable institution."
Yudof, 63, has served as chancellor of the UT system since 2002. He heads one of the largest university systems in the country with 15 campuses, 194,000 students, and an annual operating budget of $10.7 billion. Yudof previously was president of the University of Minnesota and a longtime faculty member, dean, and provost at the University of Texas at Austin.
"The regents have made a terrific choice in selecting Mark Yudof to be the next president of the University of California," said Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger, who contacted Yudof by phone earlier in the day. "This is a world-class selection for a world-class university system. As one of the nation's most important and respected university leaders, Mr. Yudof has a proven record of great achievements. I am confident that his broad range of executive and academic expertise will serve the university and the people of California well."
Board chair Richard Blum said California was fortunate to have secured one of the nation's most sought-after university leaders.
"I am delighted that Mark Yudof has agreed to lead the UC system and serve as its next president," Blum said. "I cannot think of a more qualified person to meet the day-to-day challenges and provide the long-term vision that is needed at this time in the university's history.. Mark Yudof brings a strong commitment to academic values and also a strong record of performance as a manager, and I am certain that under his direction the UC system will continue to thrive as the world's preeminent public- university system."
In addition to serving as president, Yudof will hold a faculty appointment in the School of Law at Berkeley.
Chancellor Robert Birgeneau, saying he "could not be more pleased" with Yudof's appointment, noted his "close ties with a number of our faculty at Boalt Hall School of Law," and said "we are delighted to welcome him as the newest member of our distinguished law faculty."
"In both his academic and administrative efforts, Mark has demonstrated that he shares Berkeley's unrelenting commitment to excellence, accessibility, and public service," said Birgeneau. "He also understands at a deep level the challenges that great public research and teaching universities like Berkeley face in guaranteeing our continued preeminence, both nationally and internationally."
Added the chancellor: "On the personal level, I greatly appreciate Mark's warmth, humanity, and sense of humor. I look forward to working with him in the years ahead on behalf of both UC Berkeley and the entire University of California system."
Yudof currently heads a public university system with nine academic campuses and six health institutions. Before being named chancellor of the UT system, he was a faculty member and administrator at UT Austin for 26 years and then served five years as president of the University of Minnesota. A highly regarded legal scholar and the recipient of many professional awards, Yudof is an expert on constitutional law, freedom of expression, and education law.
Yudof said that in addition to academic excellence and student opportunity, among his priorities at the University of California will be continuation of the effort to review and refine the roles and responsibilities of systemwide administration.
"A system office exists to facilitate the work of the campuses and add value to the campuses - to ensure that the whole is greater than the sum of the parts," Yudof said. "It should facilitate collaboration and cost savings among the campuses, not erect obstacles in their quest for excellence. The University of California already is looking intensively at these issues at the Office of the President, and I intend to continue that restructuring effort as president."
Yudof also emphasized the importance of accountability mechanisms at the systemwide and campus levels to demonstrate the return on the public's investment in the university. He promised to place a priority on communicating with Californians and building greater understanding of how the university contributes to their daily lives.
"The University of California is important to every family in California," Yudof said. "We must earn the confidence of the people of California every day, and part of that effort involves demonstrating how our work is solving problems that are important in their lives - in health, in the environment, in agriculture and nutrition, and in countless other areas."
UC faculty leader Michael Brown expressed his support for the appointment. "Chancellor Yudof brings strong leadership, a commitment to academic excellence and diversity, and a deep appreciation of shared governance," said Brown, chair of the UC Academic Senate and professor of counseling/clinical/school psychology at UC Santa Barbara. "I believe the faculty will be pleased with his appointment."
Yudof, a native of Philadelphia, earned a bachelor's degree and an LL.B. degree from the University of Pennsylvania. He began his academic career at UT Austin in 1971 as an assistant professor of law and later became dean of the School of Law from 1984 to 1994 and executive vice president and provost from 1994 to 1997, when he left for the University of Minnesota.
He is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a member of the American Law Institute, and a member of The President's Council on Service and Civic Participation, an appointment President Bush made in 2006.
His wife, Judy, is the immediate past international president of the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism. She also serves on the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum Council in Washington, D.C., and on the international board of Hillel. The Yudofs have two grown children.
As UC president, Yudof will receive a compensation package valued at $828,000 in the 2008-09 year, compared to a current package estimated at $790,000 at the University of Texas. His annual base salary will be $591,084, as compared to annual cash compensation of $528,860 at UT.
Speaking to reporters after the meeting, Yudof offered a glimpse at how he plans to approach his new job. "I'm very big on campuses exercising discretion," he said. "I don't think I know how to pick a chemistry professor. I don't think I'm smarter than a chancellor or vice chancellor on a campus."
"I have a philosophy," Yudof said. "The role of the system office is to facilitate the campuses and what they're trying to accomplish, and to add value. And if you can't add value you ought to get out of the way."