UC President Appoints George Blumenthal Acting Chancellor of UC Santa Cruz

OAKLAND, CA.--University of California President Robert C. Dynes announced today (July 14) the appointment of George Blumenthal as acting chancellor of UC Santa Cruz, effective immediately. Blumenthal, a UCSC professor of astronomy and astrophysics and a former chair of the UC systemwide Academic Senate, will assume on an interim basis the responsibilities of Chancellor Denice Denton, who died tragically on June 24.

Dynes made the appointment in accordance with UC policy and after consulting with members of the Board of Regents. The president will bring a recommendation for confirmation of Blumenthal's acting appointment to the Regents at their July 19-20 meeting.

To ensure a period of continuity for the Santa Cruz campus, Blumenthal is expected to serve as acting chancellor for much or all of the 2006-07 academic year. A national search for Chancellor Denton's permanent successor will be conducted over the course of that period and is expected to begin this fall.

"This has been a period of grief and sober reflection for UC Santa Cruz community, and for all of us in the extended University of California family, in the wake of Denice Denton's death," Dynes said. "For the next interim period, I am looking to George Blumenthal to provide for UC Santa Cruz the thoughtful, collegial, and constructive leadership that I have witnessed in his leadership of the systemwide Academic Senate.

"George is respected throughout the university, and he has more than 30 years of deep working knowledge of the Santa Cruz campus. I greatly appreciate his willingness to step in at this difficult moment. And I know that he, working with campus Provost David Kliger and the other talented members of the existing leadership team, will help the campus continue moving forward - which it absolutely must do."

Blumenthal, 60, has been a member of the UC Santa Cruz faculty since 1972. He has chaired the UCSC Astronomy and Astrophysics Department and the Santa Cruz Division of the Academic Senate. In 2004-05 he served as chair of the UC systemwide Academic Senate, and he was faculty representative to the Board of Regents for the years 2003-05.

"This appointment is difficult because it has come about through such a tragic circumstance," Blumenthal said. "But I have enormous respect for the faculty, staff, and students of UC Santa Cruz, and I am honored to assume this responsibility.

"Over the past decade, UC Santa Cruz has been on a positive trajectory, moving upward among the top tier of our nation's universities. I am determined to continue that momentum. We shall increase the enrollment in our graduate and professional programs, while maintaining our uncommon commitment to undergraduate education. And our campus will remain committed to diversity and tolerance at all levels of the institution."

Blumenthal received his B.S. degree from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and his Ph.D. in physics from UC San Diego. As a theoretical astrophysicist, Blumenthal's research encompasses several broad areas, including the nature of the dark matter which constitutes most of the mass in the universe, the origin of galaxies and other large structures in the universe, and the structure of active galactic nuclei such as quasars. Blumenthal also is a co-author of the astronomy text 21st Century Astronomy.

As acting chancellor, Blumenthal will receive an annualized salary of $260,000. In addition to salary, Blumenthal will receive standard pension and health benefits in accordance with UC policy. He also will be entitled to an annual administrative fund allocation for official entertainment and other purposes permitted by university policy and procedures.

Established in 1965, UC Santa Cruz enrolls approximately 15,000 students. Numerous academic distinctions are underscored by national and international rankings, including first in the nation for its research impact in the space sciences and in the social sciences; second in the world for research impact in physical sciences; ninth in the world in international finance in a survey of more than 300 public and private research universities; and 15th for the percentage of its students whose bachelor's degree led to doctorates. Seven MacArthur "genius grants" have been awarded to UC Santa Cruz faculty and alumni, and five graduates have received Pulitzer Prizes. UCSC is headquarters for the UC Observatories/Lick Observatory, which includes co-management of the world's largest ground-based telescopes at Keck Observatory in Hawaii. Among the campus' major research centers are the Center for Adaptive Optics; the Center for Justice, Tolerance, and Community; and the Center for Ocean Health.

A photo of Blumenthal is available.

A remembrance of the life of Chancellor Denice Denton is available.