University of California President Mark Yudof announced his recommendation of Linda Katehi from the University of Illinois to be UC Davis‘ sixth chancellor on Friday.
Pending approval by the UC Board of Regents later this week, Katehi will take over for Chancellor Larry Vanderhoef on Aug. 17. Vanderhoef announced his retirement in June 2008 after serving 15 years as chancellor preceded by another 10 as executive vice chancellor and provost.
Katehi, 55, has served as the provost and vice chancellor of academic affairs at the University of Illinois since 2006. The 41,000-student campus is a public land-grant institution like UC Davis.
“UC Davis is an institution of demonstrated excellence in faculty scholarship and academic programs, and I am humbled by President Yudof’s recommendation of my candidacy to lead it,“ Katehi said in a press release. “The next chancellor has a wonderful opportunity to work with the academic community to solidify the position of UC Davis as one of the top public research universities in the country and help it visibly participate in the development of the national agenda.“
The Greek native obtained her undergraduate degree from the School of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering at the National Technical University of Athens, Greece before receiving her master’s and doctoral degrees in electrical engineering from UCLA.
Following her graduation from UCLA, Katehi spent 18 years as a faculty member and administrator at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor before becoming dean of engineering at Purdue University in 2002.
“I can’t imagine a more perfect next chancellor for the Davis campus than President Yudof’s recommended choice – Linda Katehi, currently provost and vice chancellor for academic affairs and professor of electrical and computer engineering at the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign,” Chancellor Vanderhoef said in a letter to the campus. “By virtually any measure, she is a superstar!”
President Yudof also announced his choice for UCSF’s next chancellor as Dr. Susan Desmond-Hellmann, a cancer researcher and current president of product development at the biotechnology company Genentech. Confirmation of the two nominees would represent a significant increase in female chancellors, as currently only UC San Diego is headed by a woman.
“I am delighted to bring two extraordinary candidates to the regents for consideration,“ Yudof said in a press release. “These are creative, imaginative leaders who bring a strong record as managers and a strong commitment to high-quality academic programs that make a direct contribution to people’s lives.
“Both are tremendous success stories, and both will ensure that these UC campuses are national players in shaping the future of higher education and health care.”
University of Illinois Chancellor Richard Herman announced Katehi’s move in an e-mail to faculty and staff with “mixed emotions.”
“We are losing an individual of strong intellect, a leader with considerable capacity to guide our academic units, and a nationally respected scholar,” Herman wrote. “When you appoint individuals of this caliber, you know they will be constantly recruited. The position at UC Davis is an exceptional opportunity for Linda.”
Katehi isn’t the first administrator to come to UC Davis from Illinois. UC Davis‘ Vice Provost for Information and Educational Technology Peter Siegel came from the University of Illinois in 2006.
“Pete is quite a catch for the Davis campus,” Chancellor Vanderhoef said in a 2006 press release. “He comes from a university that is regarded as a national leader in the area of information technology.”
Katehi and Desmond-Hellmann will face a confirmation vote at the regents‘ meeting on Thursday. The meeting, originally scheduled to be at UCSD, will now take place via teleconference due to concerns about overburdening UCSD’s medical and security resources during the swine flu outbreak, according to a UC press release.
UC officials dismissed the notion that the regents are trying to avoid student protesters expected in response to the proposed 9.3 percent fee increase, according to a Los Angeles Times report.
In anticipation of the regents‘ approval of Katehi, UC Davis is planning a welcome reception on Friday at 11:15 a.m. in the Mondavi Center for the Performing Arts.
ALYSOUN BONDE can be reached at email@example.com.