The honor of a lifetime

To: UC Santa Cruz Community

From: Chancellor George Blumenthal

What an incredible journey.

In 1972, shortly after I arrived on campus, then-Chancellor Dean McHenry summoned me to his office. I responded, although with considerable trepidation. I wondered, what had I done wrong? Are they going to fire me — already? It turns out the chancellor simply wanted to meet new faculty members and say hello. Forty-seven years later, I still chuckle at the memory.

I couldn't have imagined back then that one day I would share with Chancellor McHenry the immense honor of serving as the leader of this remarkable institution. It has been my privilege to do so for the past 13 years, and I will forever be grateful for the opportunity to serve as UC Santa Cruz's 10th chancellor. Together we have accomplished so much.

I was asked the other day what I would miss most about my time as chancellor. That's easy. Before taking the position, I knew for the most part what a chancellor did. What I didn't realize was how frequently I would be called upon to mark the incredible achievements of so many in our community. I soon came to marvel at the breadth of excellence on this campus. Regularly celebrating the impressive accomplishments of so many staff, faculty, and students stirs the soul. I will miss that the most, without question.

As I approach my last day as chancellor, I want you to know I am not heading out to pasture. On Aug. 1, I begin a new part-time role as faculty director of the Center for Studies in Higher Education at UC Berkeley. I am eager to draw attention to issues of higher education that are unique to California, and to advocate for the multi-disciplinary scholarly approach to issues that we at UC Santa Cruz have long championed. I also plan to continue my astrophysics research here on campus, so a passive retirement is not in my future.

I leave the Chancellor's Office feeling proud and optimistic — and confident that the campus is in capable hands.

With appreciation for the wonderful memories, I offer two final words: Fiat Slug!