Top Choice for UC President

Photo: University of Texas Chancellor Mark Yudof was recommended unanimously by the regent's selection committee.
John Gilchrist/The Daily Texan/Courtesy
University of Texas Chancellor Mark Yudof was recommended unanimously by the regent's selection committee.

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Photo: UC President Robert Dynes pictured at a Board of Regents meeting at UC San Francisco on January 17, 2007. Dynes has announced his intent to resign either in June or after a new president is selected.   

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SAN FRANCISCO-Mark Yudof, chancellor of the University of Texas, has been selected by a UC Board of Regents committee as its choice for the next University of California president, UC officials announced yesterday.

Following a closed session of the regents' Special Committee to Consider the Selection of a President, university officials confirmed that Yudof had been selected by the committee to take over the position after current UC President Robert Dynes steps down.

Board Chairman Richard Blum said the committee "unanimously and enthusiastically" chose Yudof to be recommended to the full board.

"I can't find anybody that has anything bad to say about him," Blum said.

The search for a new president has been ongoing since Dynes announced last year his intent to resign either in June or when a new president is chosen.

Dynes was appointed in October 2003, having previously served as chancellor at UC San Diego. His term has been marked by executive compensation scandals after he was found to have violated regental policies on compensation, steering millions of dollars toward senior officials at the university.

While the selection committee has approved Yudof for the position, he must be confirmed by the whole board before he is officially hired as president of the university, which will likely take place in a special meeting next Thursday, Blum said.

Yudof became chancellor of the 15-campus University of Texas system in August 2002. Before that, he had served as president of the University of Minnesota for five years.

Having earned his bachelor's degree in 1965 and a bachelor of laws degree in 1968, both from the University of Pennsylvania, Yudof began his career at the University of Texas at Austin in 1971, where he was appointed an assistant professor of law.

During his 26-year tenure at the campus, he served as dean of the law school from 1984-94, and as the executive vice president and provost from 1994-97.

Yudof has also taught at UC Berkeley's Boalt Hall School of Law as a visiting professor and at the University of Michigan Law School, with a focus on constitutional law, freedom of expression and education law.

The University of Texas has a student enrollment of more than 185,000 across its nine academic and six health institutions.

As chancellor of the University of Texas, Yudof earned $742,209 in 2006-2007, according to University of Texas spokesperson Anthony de Bruyn.

In 2007, Dynes received a $405,000 base salary, as well as $7,500 in other cash compensation and $8,916 in car allowance.

The exact details for Yudof's compensation package if hired as UC president are to be discussed at the special meeting of the board, Blum said, although he added, "He's expensive."

Acknowledging that faculty and staff at the university are underpaid, UC San Diego Chancellor Marye Anne Fox said it is also important for the university to find a strong leader.

"He's one of the strongest administrators in the U.S.," said Fox, who worked closely with Yudof during her time at the University of Texas at Austin. "I think the regents chose wisely."

The UC president is responsible for overseeing the 10 campuses and working in conjunction with the UC Board of Regents and the Academic Senate, which is composed of the university's faculty members.

The UC Office of the President is currently undergoing a structural reorganization, as university administrators have proposed cutting the office's budget by $56.7 million and reducing its workforce by 404 full-time-equivalent positions.

Other colleagues of Yudof cited the search committee's unanimous vote as an indication of Yudof's quality.

"I can't think of the last time there was ever a unanimous vote," said David Kirp, professor at UC Berkeley's Goldman School of Public Policy, who co-authored a book with Yudof. "That just goes to show you the breadth of his appeal."

Richard Pfutzenreuter, chief financial officer at the University of Minnesota, said Yudof could bring strong leadership qualities to the university.

"I think being that decisive and that self-directed and motivated is very refreshing in higher education," Pfutzenreuter said. "California just couldn't be luckier."


Angelica Dongallo covers higher education. Contact her at [email protected]

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