UC Provost Lawrence Pitts to Retire in February 2012

After nearly three years as the University of California’s provost and executive vice president-academic affairs, Lawrence Pitts will retire from his post in February 2012.

Lawrence Pitts

Lawrence Pitts, MD

Pitts, a longtime UC faculty member, past chair of the UC Academic Senate and professor emeritus of neurosurgery at UCSF, became interim provost in February 2009, and was appointed permanent provost in March 2010.

At the time of his appointment in 2010, Pitts indicated he intended to serve no more than three years as provost. He decided to remain true to his original plan and will step down next February to resume his retirement and spend more time with his family.

UC President Mark G. Yudof thanked Pitts for his leadership and his tenacious advocacy for UC and public higher education during an extremely difficult period for the university.

“I am and will always be deeply grateful for his advice and counsel, his dedication to the university and its mission, and most of all his friendship and support,” Yudof wrote in a letter to the UC Regents.

Reflecting on his tenure as provost, Pitts said, “It’s been an exciting time, as highly gratifying as it has been challenging.

“I have relished my close interaction with UC leadership here at the Office of the President, at the campuses as well as with the Academic Senate.  It’s been an honor and a pleasure to have served.”

Pitts has served on the UCSF faculty since 1975. At UCSF, he has been chief of neurosurgery at San Francisco General Hospital and at UCSF Medical Center at Mount Zion, and vice chair and acting chair of the Department of Neurological Surgery. He has also served on a variety of UC Academic Senate committees – including the Shared Governance Task Force, the Task Force on Healthcare and the drafting task force on UC’s Health Corporate Compliance Plan – at the divisional and systemwide levels.

The provost is the highest-ranking academic officer at UC and is responsible for academic affairs systemwide, with duties that include setting academic policies on student admissions, retention and graduation; developing academic priorities; and long-range planning to maintain UC's service to the public and to sustain UC's position as the world's leading public research institution.

In the coming weeks, Yudof will initiate a national search for the position, following procedures developed with the Academic Senate. In the meantime, Pitts has agreed to remain provost until his successor takes office.