MERCED, CA— After seven years as founding
chancellor of the University of California’s newest campus in
Merced, Chancellor Carol Tomlinson-Keasey announced today that she
plans to step down as chancellor on August 31, 2006 to return to
teaching and scholarship.
Tomlinson-Keasey, 63, a longtime UC faculty member and
administrator, assumed UC Merced’s top position on August 1, 1999.
Under her energetic leadership, the vision of establishing the
first UC campus in the San Joaquin Valley — the 10
thin the prestigious University of California system
— flourished, despite unprecedented upheaval in the state’s
financial and political landscape. The new campus officially opened
on September 5, 2005 with nearly 900 students.
“It has been a tremendous privilege and honor to serve as
chancellor of the University of California, Merced during this
unique chapter of California’s history,” Tomlinson-Keasey said. “UC
Merced provides another educational avenue for the state’s
burgeoning student population, brings a research faculty to address
the issues of our era, and shines a beacon of opportunity to
students in the region. It has been the opportunity of a lifetime.
I am extremely proud of this new campus, its world-class faculty
and the pioneering group of students whose diversity reflects the
future of California.
“Now, after seven very intense and demanding years as
chancellor, I am ready to pass the baton.”
Tomlinson-Keasey, a distinguished developmental psychologist,
said she looks forward to returning to her academic roots. During
her sabbatical leave, she plans to document the early history of UC Merced.
“All of us at the University of California owe Carol
Tomlinson-Keasey a debt of gratitude for the tremendous energy,
skill, enthusiasm, and devotion she has brought to the creation of
the UC Merced,” said UC President Robert C. Dynes, who will conduct
the search for the next UC Merced chancellor. “Carol’s vision for
the University’s tenth campus and her commitment to expanded
opportunity for the youth of the San Joaquin Valley are largely
responsible for UC Merced coming into being. We will greatly miss
her leadership at the campus, but she can be secure in the
knowledge that she has made a lasting contribution to the Valley
and to California.”
Starting from a Blank Slate In 1997, Tomlinson-Keasey was
appointed as the University of California’s first systemwide vice
provost for academic initiatives. Former UC President Richard
Atkinson also named her to direct planning for the new UC campus in 1998.
When named founding chancellor in July 1999, Tomlinson-Keasey
joined UC Merced’s two other employees in temporary quarters at
Merced College. Since her first year, she has met regularly with
education and business leaders, civic groups and elected officials
from Bakersfield to Sacramento to build support for the new campus.
She also launched an intensive and highly successful campaign to
attract nationally recognized academic deans, faculty and senior
managers to UC Merced.
“This new campus would never have happened were it not for the
exceptional vision of community leaders and the inexhaustible
dedication of UC Merced personnel,” said Tomlinson-Keasey. “I
return to the faculty knowing that a wonderful team and a
supportive community will continue to move the campus forward.”
In March 2000, Tomlinson-Keasey announced the creation of the
founding UC Merced Foundation Board of Trustees, many of whom
continue their service today. Since then, some $50 million in major
gifts has been pledged or awarded to enhance the academic and
cultural experience at the newest UC.
Before construction began in 2003, Tomlinson-Keasey oversaw a
relocation of the campus from its original site to an adjacent
site, reducing the impact on wetlands by 90 percent. As the campus
began to take shape, she secured major new funding commitments from
the state to keep hiring and construction on track. She also
insisted that building designers meet or exceed the state’s
toughest standards for energy efficiency and environmental
stewardship throughout the new campus.
A nationwide search for a new UC Merced chancellor will be
initiated shortly, and a panel of regents, faculty, students,
community members, and UC Merced Foundation and staff
representatives will be named to serve as members of the advisory
committee. UC President Dynes will chair the search, which will be
completed as expeditiously as possible.