November 13, 2002
To: Campus Community
From: M.R.C. Greenwood, Chancellor
Re: President Atkinson resigns
At 11:45 a.m. today, President Richard C. Atkinson announced his resignation as President of the University of California, effective October 1, 2003. The President's statement is copied at the end of this message. UCOP will post an announcement with attendant materials very soon, and we will link it to our Currents website as soon as it is available.
I am sharing this information with you now, to be certain you are aware of this important news. I also want to convey my sadness that this talented leader and guiding light for all of higher education will be moving into the next phase of his already distinguished career.
President Atkinson is one of the longest serving and, in my view, one of the most effective of the presidents of the University of California. Fortunately, we will continue to have his advice and guidance for most of the next calendar year. For now, please join me in thanking him for his many efforts and wishing him well for the future.
MEMBERS OF THE UNIVERSITY OF CALIFORNIA COMMUNITY
Today, at the Board of Regents‚ meeting in San Francisco, I announced my retirement as President of the University, effective October 1, 2003. I wanted to pass along word of my decision to the rest of the University of California community as quickly as possible.
I reached my decision to retire only after careful consideration of both the University's needs and my own. I took office on October 1, 1995, and when I step down next fall, I will have served for eight years. Of the 17 presidents of the University of California, only four have served longer. In addition, at the time of my retirement I will have spent 27 years as either Director of the National Science Foundation, Chancellor of UC San Diego, or President of the University. That is a lengthy period of time for positions of this kind. These have been extremely rewarding years -- challenging, stimulating, and deeply interesting years. But the time has come to bring them to a close, and to allow the University to move forward under new leadership. It also is time, I might add, for my grandchildren to see more of their grandfather.
One of the principal conclusions I have drawn from my time in office is that the University of California is an incredibly robust institution. When I became President, the University was grappling with severe budget constraints and a bitter conflict over affirmative action. I think it is fair to say that we have not only recovered from the difficulties of that era, but we have thrived. We have continued to recruit and retain faculty of the highest quality -- faculty who, at every campus, have maintained and heightened the University's standards of excellence in teaching and research. We have continued to provide access to a world-class education for California's highest-achieving students, and the dramatic expansion of our outreach and teacher professional development programs has helped ensure that the University of California will be within the reach of students from all backgrounds and walks of life. We have planned intelligently for growth, expanding our capacity in order to keep the University open to future generations of California's youth. And we have reached out to the state in countless innovative ways, increasing our service to the people of California and providing solutions for many of the problems facing our society.
It is not the President who is solely, or even chiefly, responsible for these achievements. It is the University of California community -- The Regents, faculty, staff, students, parents, alumni, and friends of the University. And that is why, even in a time of budget uncertainty once again, I am confident in the University's continued vitality. Over the next 10 months, I will work to keep the University's budget on as firm a footing as possible and to provide a smooth transition for my successor as President. But for the long term, this University's success lies in the capable hands of our creative, energetic, and dedicated community of people. I am enormously proud of all you have achieved, and I will look back on my years at UC with great fondness.
Richard C. Atkinson