Dear campus community,
I am delighted to inform you that this morning the Regents voted unanimously to confirm our Interim Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost, Carol Christ, as the 11th Chancellor of the University of California, Berkeley. Now that the vote is complete, I am pleased to join the chorus of voices, from across our extended campus community and the country, that is greeting this news with so much enthusiasm.
The President and the Regents have made a superb choice, and as I contemplate stepping down as Chancellor on June 30th, I am confident that Chancellor-Designate Christ will provide exactly the kind of leadership our university needs at the present time.
For the past eleven months, it has been my great pleasure to work closely with Carol on the widest range of issues, opportunities, and challenges facing our university. I have been impressed by her intelligence, her strategic acumen, and most of all her love for Berkeley. Carol knows this institution inside out, and she brings ample experience as well from her time as President of Smith College. She embodies and embraces the ideals and values that are fundamental to Berkeley: shared governance; student welfare; diversity, equity, access, and inclusion; freedom of expression; and public service.
These are difficult times for higher education, and especially for public higher education. We are all aware that as UC Berkeley works to adjust to vastly different funding models, amid growing pressure from different constituencies and persistent financial challenges, we need exceptional leadership. I know that we will have it during Carol’s chancellorship. I look forward to supporting her as a member of the Berkeley faculty in the years ahead.
Now, my attention and energies will turn to working with Carol, as well as with colleagues in the senior administration, faculty, staff, students, alums, and supporters, to ensure a seamless transition. For more about Chancellor-designate Christ, please visit this new webpage dedicated to her appointment: http://news.berkeley.edu/chancellor-christ/.
I am pleased to share with you this personal message from Carol.
I am deeply honored that the President and the Regents have chosen me to lead Berkeley at this critical moment in its history, and even more honored to serve the campus that I love. The two weeks between President Napolitano’s very unexpected telephone call, asking if I would take this job, and this past Monday, when the news became public, have been ones, for me, of deep reflection. I’ve been asking myself what Berkeley has meant and continues to mean to me. I arrived here in 1970—a freshly minted Ph.D. who had never been west of Philadelphia, young, naïve, and green. Berkeley transformed me, as it has transformed so many of us, and it transformed my understanding of higher education. I had never been in a place of such intense intellectual vitality, with as great a sense of the consequence of its research. There seemed no field, of knowledge or endeavor, that someone on the faculty did not know profoundly—and indeed was not working to extend its understanding. And I had never been in a place so deeply committed to widening the doors to educational opportunity. Berkeley is as much about the community college transfer student from Modesto or Fremont or Arcata who discovers her intellectual passions here, and discovers she can excel, as it is about its Nobel prize winners. Indeed, it’s that combination that defines us. Former Chancellor Chang Lin Tien used to call it excellence and access; it is Berkeley’s DNA.
This is a difficult historical moment for our campus—one more difficult, I believe, than any since the 1960’s. Because of our budget deficit, we must reimagine our financial model while always staying true to our public mission. This is currently the challenge of public higher education. Although some of Berkeley’s choices have exacerbated this situation, I believe it is structural, and not unique. Berkeley can be a pioneer here in meeting this challenge, as it has been in so much else. I will need your wisdom and imagination as we do this together; I hope I can rely on your advice, your candor, and your trust. I am honored to serve the campus and its mission.
Interim Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost