Chancellor Carol Tomlinson-Keasey to Step Down as Chancellor in August 2006 to Return to Teaching and Scholarship

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.

Media Contact