I write to share news with you that Willamette University earlier today announced Stephen Thorsett as the 23rd president of the Salem, Oregon campus. Steve, who has served our campus as dean of the Division of Physical & Biological Sciences for the past 5 years, will assume this new post on July 1.

Steve, a professor of astronomy and astrophysics who joined our faculty in 1999, has been a superb dean for UCSC. He has maintained strength and hope during budgetary difficulties while simultaneously continuing to build the excellence of the Division of Physical and Biological Sciences. During his tenure, for example, the division has hired an outstanding new generation of faculty — and they have been doing spectacularly well, receiving such awards and honors as Packard fellowships, Sloan fellowships, and Pew scholarships.

Research award support for PBSci faculty has also increased significantly during the past five years, going from $51 million to $68 million annually. Important research and teaching facilities on Science Hill have also been brought on line during Steve's years as dean, including the Physical Sciences Building and the Biomedical Research Facility (nearing completion).

Steve also helped develop our campus's Cal Teach program, preparing classes of future science and math teachers.

I am in the process of consulting with members of the PBSci community, Academic Senate leadership, and others about the appointment of an acting dean to succeed Steve Thorsett. We will make a formal announcement as soon as that process is completed.

In the meantime, please join Chancellor Blumenthal and me in wishing Steve the very best in his new position — and in thanking him for his important service to our campus.