New IT leader drawn to campus to improve world

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Vice Chancellor of Information Technology Van Williams said he was drawn to UC Santa Cruz because it is uniquely positioned to make a major impact on the world.

“Our unique position is framed by the strength of our research faculty, our innovation in interdisciplinary research and scholarship, our proximity to Silicon Valley, ‘the power of ten’ that comes from being part of the UC system, and most importantly our commitment to social impact and diversity/inclusiveness,” Williams said. "I want to help leave the world a better place than I’ve found it. I can think of no other institution in the world that so deeply shares this goal as UC Santa Cruz.”

Williams started in his new role on July 2, replacing retired VC Mary Doyle and interim VC Brad Smith.

Williams has spent much of his professional life on the East Coast, working in a multitude of roles including chief technology officer and senior director of enterprise operations and solutions at New York University’s Stern School of Business. He holds a master’s degree in business administration from Stern, and a bachelor’s degree in classical civilization from NYU.

Williams has already begun meeting with each of the 240 staff members in the ITS organization. Williams said he has been impressed with how his new team has been offering consolidated IT services and support to the campus for more than 13 years. There are so many impactful projects taking place at UCSC, and one that he’s enthusiastic about is the metamorphosis of enterprise applications by leveraging Amazon Web Services (AWS) to better optimize IT efficiency through improved agility, stability, and security.

“It is clear to me that I am joining a team of dedicated, talented, professional, collaborative and forward thinking people who have taken the ITS organization on an amazing journey,“ Williams said. ”I am excited to be their new leader. I want to help show the world the reasons why Banana Slugs have no known natural predators. It’s because we rock!”

In his new role, Williams said he plans to build upon the strategic and operational excellence of both academic and administrative information technology to support and advance all aspects of the campus mission. He’ll be conducting several listening tours over the next few months to gather feedback from all campus constituents to help guide the creation of a new ITS strategic vision, including developing relationships with alumni and Silicon Valley business partners.

Williams, his wife, Kerry, and their three sons moved to Los Gatos in June. Kerry started her new job at UCSC Silicon Valley Extension on July 2.