UC President announces recommended candidates for Chancellors of UC Davis, UC San Francisco

University of California Office of the President
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Susan Desmond-Hellmann

University of California President Mark G. Yudof will bring the names of two candidates to serve as chancellors of UC Davis and UC San Francisco to next week’s meeting of the UC Board of Regents, the university announced today (May 1).  Both appointments are subject to approval of the Board of Regents and, if approved, would take effect this summer.

Yudof will recommend Susan Desmond-Hellmann – a physician, distinguished leader in cancer research, and biotechnology industry executive who most recently served as president of product development for Genentech – to become chancellor of UCSF, one of the world’s pre-eminent centers of health science teaching, research and patient care.

The president will recommend Linda Katehi – an accomplished professor of electrical and computer engineering and veteran of large public research institutions who serves as provost of the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign – to become chancellor of UC Davis, a leading research university renowned for its commitment to undergraduate education, international engagement, public policy and service to society.

Desmond-Hellmann would replace J. Michael Bishop, M.D., who is stepping down after 10 years as UCSF chancellor.  Katehi would replace Larry Vanderhoef, who will have served 15 years as UC Davis chancellor when he steps down this summer.

“I am delighted to bring two extraordinary candidates to the Regents for consideration,” Yudof said.  “These are creative, imaginative leaders who bring a strong record as managers and a strong commitment to high-quality academic programs that make a direct contribution to people’s lives.  Both are tremendous success stories, and both will ensure that these UC campuses are national players in shaping the future of higher education and health care.

“The searches for these two positions have generated enormous interest, and I felt it was in the interest of all involved to now share my official recommendations publicly.  I look forward to the opportunity to present these outstanding individuals to the Board of Regents.”

If approved by the Board of Regents, Desmond-Hellmann would take office on August 3 and Katehi on August 17.  Bishop and Vanderhoef would stay on as chancellors until those dates.

UC Davis:  Katehi, 55, has served since 2006 as provost of the University of Illinois – a public land-grant institution like UC Davis – where she is the chief academic and budgetary officer for the 41,000-student campus. A dual-degree holder from UCLA, she spent 18 years as a faculty member and academic administrator at the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor, before becoming dean of engineering at Purdue University in 2002, where she launched an ambitious program to heighten the national distinction of the engineering school.  Throughout her career she has focused on expanding undergraduate research opportunities and improving the education and professional experience of graduate students, with a focus on underrepresented groups.

Katehi’s academic work focuses on electronic circuit design.  She was named in 2006 to the National Academy of Engineering, where she has chaired the NAE Committee on K-12 Engineering Education, and she is a fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science.  In 2007, President George W. Bush appointed her as chair of the President’s Committee on the National Medal of Science.

Katehi holds master’s and doctoral degrees in electrical engineering from UCLA.  A native of Greece, she holds an undergraduate degree from the School of Mechanical and Electrical Engineering at the National Technical University of Athens, Greece.

“UC Davis is an institution of demonstrated excellence in faculty scholarship and academic programs, and I am humbled by President Yudof’s recommendation of my candidacy to lead it,” Katehi said.  “The next chancellor has a wonderful opportunity to work with the academic community to solidify the position of UC Davis as one of the top public research universities in the country and help it visibly participate in the development of the national agenda.”

UC San Francisco:  Desmond-Hellmann, 51, brings a deep clinical, research, and executive leadership background and commitment to high-quality patient care to the position of UCSF chancellor.  She is a board-certified physician in internal medicine and medical oncology who has dedicated much of her career to cancer research.  She has been with South San Francisco-based Genentech for 14 years – as clinical scientist, chief medical officer, executive vice president and president – where she has overseen successful trials for therapeutic drugs, including Herceptin, Avastin and Rituxan, targeting a range of cancers and other diseases.

Prior to joining Genentech, Desmond-Hellmann was associate director of clinical cancer research at Bristol-Myers Squibb, worked in private medical practice, and co-led AIDS and cancer research projects in the African nation of Uganda.  She completed her clinical training at UCSF after receiving a medical degree from the University of Nevada, Reno; she also holds a master’s degree in public health from UC Berkeley.  She has served at UCSF as an assistant professor in hematology-oncology and currently is an adjunct associate professor at the campus.

Desmond-Hellmann is a member of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco’s Economic Advisory Council and has been named multiple times to Fortune Magazine’s “Top 50 Most Powerful Women in Business” list.

“I began my career at UCSF, and my heart has never left it,” Desmond-Hellmann said.  “I am delighted and humbled to have the Regents’ consideration for the position of chancellor at this truly great institution.  My life’s work has been focused on making a difference for patients, and I cannot think of a better place than UCSF to carry that work forward.  As the health needs of the world continue to change, UCSF will continue to play a pivotal role in developing solutions through its research, teaching and clinical care across all the health disciplines.”

Yudof and the two candidates will have no further comment until the Board of Regents acts on the proposed appointments at its meeting next week.  Compensation for both candidates will be discussed by the Regents in closed session, acted upon in open session, and disclosed to the news media and the public as part of the Regents’ meeting.

Photos and additional biographical information about the two candidates are available at www.universityofcalifornia.edu/news.  The agenda for the Board of Regents meeting is available at www.universityofcalifornia.edu/regents/meetings.html.

Background information

For 100 years, the University of California, Davis, has engaged in teaching, research and public service that matter to California and transform the world. Located close to the state capital in Sacramento, UC Davis has 31,000 students, a workforce of 21,000, an annual research budget that exceeds $500 million, the UC Davis Medical Center and 13 specialized research centers. The university offers interdisciplinary graduate study and more than 100 undergraduate majors in four colleges – Agricultural and Environmental Sciences, Biological Sciences, Engineering, and Letters and Science – and advanced degrees from six professional schools – Education, Law, Management, Medicine, Veterinary Medicine and the Betty Irene Moore School of Nursing. Among their many public contributions, UC Davis scientists and alumni have transformed California agriculture, influenced the course of art history, helped to protect Lake Tahoe and other environmental treasures, and fueled the growth of the $45 billion California wine industry.

The University of California, San Francisco, is one of the leading health-science universities in the world. It comprises premier graduate schools of dentistry, medicine, nursing and pharmacy, top graduate and doctoral programs in medical research, and a world-class medical center and teaching hospital. UCSF is distinguished worldwide for its robust research enterprise, which has helped lay the groundwork for scientists’ understanding of the full range of human diseases, including cancer, diabetes, heart disease and neurodegenerative diseases. Its medical center, ranked among the top 10 hospitals nationally, has pioneered such areas as fetal and transplant surgeries and heart, cancer and neurovascular innovations. UCSF is ranked second nationally – and first in California – in total funding from the federal government for scientific research, a reflection of the quality of the scientific research conducted. The campus is the second-largest employer in San Francisco, with a workforce of 18,600 employees and more than 4,000 students.