Chancellor George Blumenthal has announced his retirement following the end of the coming academic year.
Student enrollment has more than doubled since he was named chancellor—the tenth in the school’s history—in 2007, and Blumenthal points to an increase of underrepresented minority groups in the student body, improvement in town-gown relations, renovation and expansion of Porter and Merrill colleges, and the opening of UCSC Extension in Silicon Valley as some of his proudest accomplishments over the last 12 years.
“This university is filled with people eager to make a difference, change paradigms, and challenge conventional ways of doing things,” Blumenthal said in a statement. “That is what makes UC Santa Cruz the dynamic place it is and always has been. It has been thrilling be a part of that mission since 1972, when I arrived on campus as an assistant professor, eager to help shape the future of a still-young university.”
Blumenthal’s background in astrophysics and astronomy is something that he’s not quite ready to leave behind. He will stay on campus after his retirement; teaching, writing and maybe even offering some words of wisdom to his successor.
“Now it feels like the right time to pass the reins,” he said. “Our new Strategic Academic Plan is in place, and I sense the same energy on campus that I felt when I first arrived — a feeling that our future is limitless, and that we are on the precipice of remarkable change. I believe a new campus leader should help chart our next steps.”
His resignation announcement comes as the university preps development projects that have proven to be controversial both on campus and off, including the recently modified Student Housing West Project proposal, which will provide an additional 3,072 student beds on campus.
The search for a new UCSC Chancellor will begin immediately and will be spearheaded by UC President Janet Napolitano’s office.
“The list of George’s accomplishments, far too numerous to list here, is a testament to his devotion to a life of learning, teaching and public service,” Napolitano said in a statement. “In all his endeavors at the university, he has demonstrated his sharp intellect, deep engagement, curiosity and wit. In the coming weeks, I intend to convene a committee to conduct a national search to find a new chancellor for the dynamic and beautiful Santa Cruz campus, which deserves and demands the best leadership possible.”