[Currents header graphic]
April 20, 1998

Noted scientist is new UC Irvine chancellor

By Rick Malaspina
UC Office of the President

A nationally acclaimed atmospheric scientist, who currently is dean of the School of Physical Sciences at the University of California, Irvine, was appointed on Thursday, April 16, to lead the campus as its fourth chancellor.

Ralph J. Cicerone was named to the post by the UC Board of Regents on the recommendation of UC President Richard C. Atkinson. The Regents met by teleconference and their approval of Cicerone was unanimous.

Cicerone, 54, will take over as chancellor as of July 1. He will succeed Laurel L. Wilkening who announced her decision to step down last September to pursue interests outside of higher education, such as population growth, the global environment, and women's issues.

"Ralph Cicerone is a scientist of great distinction who has been active on issues of science policy at the national and international levels," Atkinson said. "Dr. Cicerone is committed to continuing to build the quality of the UCI campus. He is a seasoned, effective manager and an accomplished fund-raiser. As a recognized leader on the Irvine campus, he is well positioned to lead the campus as it enters the next century."

Meredith J. Khachigian, chairman of the UC Board of Regents, said: "I am especially familiar with UCI, and I know Dr. Cicerone will be a strong leader for the campus. He will provide the skill and experience necessary to add to the many successes achieved by UCI under Chancellor Wilkening's leadership. The Regents and I congratulate Dr. Cicerone at this new and exciting turn in his career, and we look forward to working with him."

"It has taken the sustained efforts of many people to bring UC Irvine to its current position," Cicerone said. " I am committed to build upon this foundation and to make our programs ever more attractive for students, our research activities ever more distinguished, and our contributions to this region even more positive."

As chancellor of UC Irvine, Cicerone will head one of the youngest of UC's nine campuses, which in the 34 years since its founding has ascended into the ranks of the nation's leading research universities. It is nationally recognized for the high quality of its undergraduate programs, and six of eight UCI graduate programs are ranked in the top 25 nationally. The campus, whose operations include a medical center, has nearly 18,000 students, 1,200 faculty members, and a staff of 6,000.

In 1995, UC Irvine became the first public university with faculty receiving two Nobel Prizes in two different fields the same year, one in chemistry and one in physics. Both are disciplines in the School of Physical Sciences, which Cicerone has headed since 1994.

Cicerone's research interests center on atmospheric chemistry and climate change. Last fall, he was one of six American scientists to receive a prestigious United Nations award for research that seeks to protect the earth's fragile ozone layer. In the 1970s, he conducted research into ozone depletion by chlorine gas and found that rocket exhaust could damage the ozone layer by emitting hydrogen chloride into the stratosphere.

Cicerone joined UC Irvine in 1989 as the Daniel G. Aldrich Professor in the Department of Earth System Science and served as department chairman from 1989 to 1994. He has held an appointment as a professor of chemistry at Irvine since 1990.

Before joining UCI, Cicerone was a senior scientist and director of the Atmospheric Chemistry Division at the National Center for Atmospheric Research in Boulder, Co. In a succession of appointments at the University of Michigan from 1971 to 1978, he was a research scientist, a lecturer in the Department of Electrical Engineering, and an assistant professor in the Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering. From 1978 to 1981, he was a research chemist at the Scripps Institution of Oceanography at UC San Diego.

Cicerone has written and edited numerous professional publications and is a member of many academic and professional organizations, including the National Academy of Sciences. He also has served as president of the American Geophysical Union, the world's largest society of earth scientists. He is the recipient of many awards and honors in addition to the recent United Nations award.

Cicerone received his bachelor's degree in electrical engineering from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He received both his master's degree and Ph.D. from the University of Illinois.

Cicerone's annual salary as chancellor of UC Irvine will be $202,500.

To the Currents home page

To UCSC's home page