George Blumenthal named chancellor of UC Santa Cruz

George R. Blumenthal, a distinguished UC Santa Cruz professor of astronomy and astrophysics and former chair of the UC systemwide Academic Senate, was appointed chancellor of the University of California's Santa Cruz campus today (Sept. 19).

In a video message to the UC Santa Cruz community from Davis, the newly appointed Chancellor talks about the essence of the campus he has known for 35 years and the future we can achieve by working together.

Acting on the recommendation of President Robert C. Dynes, the UC Board of Regents appointed Blumenthal the tenth chancellor of UC Santa Cruz during the board's meeting in Davis. The selection culminates a five-month, nationwide search that attracted more than 550 prospective candidates.

Blumenthal has been serving as acting chancellor for the past 14 months, following the death in June 2006 of Chancellor Denice D. Denton.

"In naming George Blumenthal to this important position, we are choosing a person who has contributed significantly to UCSC's richly deserved reputation for producing world-class research and student-focused instruction," Dynes said. "George Blumenthal's thoughtful, collegial and constructive leadership style will solidify UCSC's stature as one of the premier research universities in the nation."

"I am deeply honored by this appointment to lead a campus so distinctive and effective in fulfilling its mission," said Blumenthal. "UCSC has a bold vision and superb programs. Our students are outstanding, and our faculty are exceptional scholars committed to giving students uncommon learning and research opportunities. I will proudly work with the campus community, our accomplished alumni, and the many communities we serve to continue UCSC's upward trajectory."

During Blumenthal's tenure as acting chancellor, he united the campus community after the death of Chancellor Denton, presided over the development of a new campus academic plan, effectively reached out to Santa Cruz leaders and neighborhood groups concerned about UCSC's projected growth, strengthened ties to Silicon Valley's business and higher education communities, and broadened external support for UC Santa Cruz (the campus' endowment exceeded the $100 million-milestone during Blumenthal's tenure as acting chancellor).

Blumenthal, 61, has been a UC Santa Cruz faculty member since 1972 with a research focus on theoretical astrophysics. His work spans subjects ranging from gamma ray bursts, compact X-ray sources, and active galactic nuclei to cosmology, and the origin of structure in the Universe. He helped lead the way in developing the "cold dark matter theory" of galaxy formation, which has over the last 20 years become the standard paradigm for how structure forms in the Universe.

As one of the first generation in his family to attend college, Blumenthal earned his B.S. degree from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee and his Ph.D. in physics from UC San Diego. He is the co-author of one of the leading astronomy textbooks, 21st Century Astronomy.

In addition to his distinguished scholarship, Blumenthal has broad experience as an academic leader both at UC Santa Cruz and within the University of California system. He served as chair of the UC Academic Senate for the 2004-05 year. He was the faculty representative to the UC Regents from 2003 to 2005. In these statewide roles, Blumenthal's leadership helped change UC's eligibility criteria to meet UC's mandate to provide access to the top 12.5 percent of high school graduates and enhance the ability of community college students to transfer to UC.

He also chaired the UC Santa Cruz Division of the Academic Senate from 2001 to 2003, and twice previously chaired the campus's world-renowned Department of Astronomy and Astrophysics. He also served on the campus' Silicon Valley Initiative task force, which established the vision for UC Santa Cruz's engagement and activities in Silicon Valley.

Blumenthal is a founding faculty member of Oakes College, one of UCSC's 10 residential colleges; Oakes, which is committed to serving students from diverse backgrounds, emphasizes multicultural approaches to its "living and learning" activities.

He has been an aggressive champion of diversity, both as a member of the Regents' Study Group on Diversity (on which he serves as chair of the working group on diversity in graduate and professional schools) and in pushing a number of new campus initiatives, including the creation of the first-ever Chancellor's Advisory Council on Diversity.

"George Blumenthal's success as acting chancellor presages an extraordinarily successful chancellorship," said UC Board of Regents chairman Richard C. Blum. "He has demonstrated he has the talent and skills, the respect of the campus and the community, and the support of the Regents to help write an exciting new chapter in the history of a unique and important campus in the University of California system."

In addition to serving as chancellor, Blumenthal will continue to hold his faculty appointment at UC Santa Cruz.

He is married to Kelly Weisberg, a professor of law at UC Hastings College of the Law in San Francisco. They have two children.

For a brief biography of Blumenthal and to download a high-resolution photo of the new chancellor, please go to the following UCSC web site:

About UC Santa Cruz:

The University of California, Santa Cruz, which is renowned for the outstanding educational experience it provides to students, has earned national distinction as a major research university with an uncommon commitment to teaching and public service.

UC Santa Cruz opened just 42 years ago, in fall 1965, with a class of about 600; today, UCSC serves approximately 15,000 students.

Undergraduates now pursue course work in 63 majors in the arts, engineering, humanities, physical and biological sciences, and social sciences. Graduate students work toward master's degrees, doctoral degrees, and graduate certificates in 33 academic fields.

On a campus with world-class facilities and one of the most visually spectacular settings in higher education, faculty and students continue to augment UCSC's impressive record of achievement. In fact, UCSC people, including 70,000 alumni, are leaders in virtually every field; the campus is increasingly acknowledged for the positive impact it has on all aspects of society.

A National Reputation for Excellence: UC Santa Cruz has earned national recognition for the quality of its research and teaching. Some recent examples of major national rankings follow.

. In a survey of more than 60 elite Association of American Universities member schools, UCSC ranks 15th nationally for the percentage of bachelor's degree recipients who went on to earn doctorates (second only to UC Berkeley among UC campuses).

. UCSC is included in the top one-fifth of national public universities according to U.S. News & World Report's 2008 rankings.

. UCSC doctoral programs in music and in environmental health engineering rank 3rd in the nation, according to a faculty productivity index produced by Academic Analytics.

. UCSC ranks 1st nationally for its per-paper research impact in physics and 5th for its research impact in the space sciences, according to Science Watch.

. In a survey of U.S. engineering schools, UCSC ranked 3rd in the nation in the percentage of master's degrees awarded to women.

. UCSC's program in international finance in 2005 was ranked 9th in the world.

Innovative people and programs: UC Santa Cruz faculty, students, and alumni continue to contribute to the body of scholarship that has earned the University of California the ranking as the foremost public research institution in the world.

. UCSC alumni include five winners of the Pulitzer Prize.

. In 2006, literature professor Nathaniel Mackey won the National Book Award in poetry.

. Alumnus Joseph DeRisi in 2004 became the seventh person affiliated with UCSC to receive a MacArthur Fellowship "genius award."

. UCSC researchers assembled the first working draft of the human genome and created the UCSC Genome Browser, a web-based tool for genomic research used by scientists worldwide.

. Alumna Kathryn Sullivan was the first American woman to walk in space.

. The Dickens Project, headquartered at UCSC, is internationally recognized as the premier center for Dickens studies in the world and is one of the leading sites for research on 19th-century British culture.

. UCSC's interdisciplinary Center for Justice, Tolerance and Community combines academic rigor with social relevance. Its work influences policy makers to foster positive changes in areas such as environmental justice and bridging the digital divide.

. UCSC is renowned for its strengths in marine sciences across multiple academic disciplines. The Institute of Marine Sciences provides superb facilities for faculty and students and also offers public access to marine science through the Seymour Marine Discovery Center.

. The recently established Institute for Advanced Feminist Research continues UCSC's groundbreaking work that nearly 30 years ago helped launch women's studies as a respected academic discipline throughout the U.S. and beyond.

. UCSC is home to Shakespeare Santa Cruz, heralded as one of the nation's most innovative theater festivals, and the Film and Digital Media program, which combines art and engineering to prepare students for success in the burgeoning film and video industries.

. UCSC's Jack Baskin School of Engineering is the newest engineering school in the UC system. Its faculty's research is focused on the 21st-century disciplines of biotechnology, information technology and nanotechnology.

World-class facilities: UC Santa Cruz extends well beyond the campus, situated on a spectacular 2,000-acre site overlooking the Monterey Bay.

. UCSC's Long Marine Laboratory is an oceanside research facility located on a coastal site overlooking the Monterey Bay National Marine Sanctuary.

. UCSC is headquarters to UC Observatories/Lick Observatory, which operates Lick Observatory above San Jose, and is a managing partner of the world's largest ground-based telescopes at the W. M. Keck Observatory in Hawaii.

. UCSC is managing the University Affiliated Research Center at the NASA Ames Research Center in Silicon Valley, under a 10-year agreement between UC and NASA.

. UCSC manages the Monterey Bay Education, Science and Technology Center, located in Marina.

. UCSC manages five natural-reserve sites-from 25 acres at Año Nuevo along the San Mateo County Coast to 4,200 acres on the Big Sur Coast.

As UC Santa Cruz chancellor, Blumenthal will receive an annual salary of $310,000, which represents a 10 percent increase over his predecessor's salary of $282,200, along with these additional items:

. Per policy, standard health, pension and senior management benefits and standard sabbatical, sick and vacation accrual;

. Per policy, an automobile allowance of $8,916 per annum;

. Per policy, Blumenthal will be required to live in university-provided housing;

. Per policy, use of administrative funds for official entertainment and other purposes;

. Per policy, packing and relocation of household effects up to a maximum of $15,000, as well as packing and relocation of his library and laboratory equipment.

. As an exception to policy, if personal furniture cannot be accommodated within the University-provided house, reimbursement of reasonable storage and insurance costs up to $10,000 for up to six months, in addition to standard policy of one month storage.

. Consistent with past practice, upon leaving the Chancellor position and returning to the University of California faculty, the University will arrange for the relocation of personal belongings to a location close to his faculty appointment campus.