the UC History Digital Archives
the UC History Digital Archives

Home > General History > Overview and Timelines > UC Presidents


1899-1919 1919-2004
Henry Durant William W. Campbell
Daniel Coit Gilman Robert Gordon Sproul
John LeConte Clark Kerr
William Thomas Reid Charles J. Hitch
Edward S. Holden Harry R. Wellman
Horace Davis David S. Saxon
Martin Kellogg David Pierpont Gardner
Benjamin Ide Wheeler Jack W. Peltason
David P. Barrows Richard C. Atkinson
  Robert C. Dynes


William Wallace Campbell, 1923-30

Photograph of William Wallace Campbell courtesy of the Bancroft Library, UARC Picture 13:97eWilliam Wallace Campbell, astronomer and tenth President of the University (1923-30) was born of Scottish ancestry on a farm in Hancock county, Ohio, April 11, 1862. He graduated from the University of Michigan in 1886 with a B.S. in engineering, but the reading of Newcomb's Popular Astronomy and work as a student assistant in the university observatory under John M. Schaeberle had turned him toward astronomy as a career. After graduation, he taught mathematics at the University of Colorado for two years. Here he met Elizabeth Ballard Thompson, whom he married in 1892. In 1888, he returned to the University of Michigan as instructor in astronomy to succeed Schaeberle, who had gone to the newly-opened Lick Observatory. In the summer of 1890, Campbell studied astrophysics with James E. Keeler at the Lick Observatory. When Keeler resigned the following year to become director of the Allegheny Observatory, Campbell was appointed to his position. Keeler returned to the Lick Observatory as director in 1898 and died suddenly August, 1900. Campbell was then appointed director upon the unanimous recommendation of 12 of the leading astronomers of the world. He took office January 1, 1901.

For the next 23 years, Campbell maintained the Lick Observatory in the front rank of the world's observatories. His achievements and publications in astronomical research were awarded wide recognition. He was awarded five gold medals; the honorary degree of D.Sc. was conferred upon him by the universities of Western Pennsylvania, 1900; Michigan, 1905; Western Australia, 1922; Cambridge, 1925; Columbia, 1928; and Chicago, 1931. The honorary degree of LL.D. was awarded him by the University of Michigan in 1902 and the University of California in 1932. He was made commander of the Order of Leopold II of Belgium, officer of the Legion of Honor, France, and commander of the Order of the Crown of Italy.

He was appointed Silliman Lecturer at Yale, 1909-10; William Ellery Hale Lecturer before the National Academy of Sciences, 1914; and Halley Lecturer at Oxford University, 1925. He was also foreign associate or member of the leading astronomical societies and scientific academies of Europe, and served as president of each of the American astronomical societies.

In December, 1922, the Regents offered Campbell the Presidency of the University as a successor to Barrows. Campbell was reluctant to leave the Lick Observatory, but agreed to accept the offer if certain conditions were met: 1) that he remain director of the Lick Observatory in charge of general policy, the selection of research problems, and staff; 2) the word "academic" be deleted from the Standing Order of the Regents adopted June 24, 1920 which read: "The President of the University shall be the executive head of the university in all of its academic departments. The President shall be charged with the direction of all academic officers and employees of the University"; 3) other standing orders adopted at the same time giving the faculty direct access to the Regents be amended or repealed so that the President would again be the sole channel of communication between the two bodies; 4) the comptroller should report business matters concerning the individual departments to the President, who would then report them to the Regents. The Regents agreed to these conditions and Campbell became President- elect January 4, 1923.

When he took office in July, 1923, the statewide growth of the University was causing rapid expansion in the functions of the President's office. One of his first acts was the replacement of the dean of the faculties by a dean of the University with enlarged duties in assisting the President. Two years later (1925), he recommended the appointment of two administrative vice- presidents, one to administer academic affairs, the other business and financial matters. An Academic Senate council was formed among the faculty at Los Angeles. Without relinquishing leadership or responsibility for final decisions, he consulted the faculty widely and appointed boards and committees to assist in administration.

In a period of quiet and prosperity, the University grew tremendously, aided by generous private gifts. The Southern Branch became the full-fledged four-year University of California at Los Angeles, and as its campus became inadequate, citizens of the Los Angeles area voted bonds for the purchase of a new campus at Westwood. A few months later, a state bond issue of $3 million was passed for buildings on this new campus and for the replacement of outworn buildings at Berkeley. Also at Berkeley, John D. Rockefeller gave $1.5 million for an International House, William R. Hearst replaced the burned Hearst Hall with a larger gymnasium in memory of his mother, funds from the Cowell Foundation provided for the erection of a student hospital, the Bancitaly Corporation donated $1.5 million to establish the Giannini Foundation of Agricultural Economics and erect a building in which to house it, and Mrs. Philip E. Bowles gave $250,000 for the erection of a dormitory for men. The libraries benefited as Senator William A. Clark of Los Angeles gave his 10,000-volume library of rare editions of French and English literature together with the building housing them to the Los Angeles campus, and Mrs. May T. Morrison gave her husband's library and funds to equip and endow the Morrison Reading Room at the Berkeley library.

Campbell retired from the Presidency and the directorship of Lick Observatory upon reaching the age of 68 in 1930. In 1931, he was elected president of the National Academy of Sciences and steered it skillfully through four financially critical years. Then, as health and eyesight began to fail, he returned with Mrs. Campbell to live in San Francisco where he killed himself June 14, 1938. He was survived by his wife and three sons, Wallace, Douglas and Kenneth.

to top

Robert Gordon Sproul, 1930-58

Robert Gordon Sproul, 11th president of the University (1930-1958) was born in San Francisco, California, May 22, 1891, the first of two sons. His father was a native of Scotland and a graduate of Glasgow University; his mother came from New England. He was educated in the San Francisco public schools and at the University of California, Berkeley, where he received the degree of B.S. in civil engineering in 1913. As a student, he earned his letter in track and served as president of the University YMCA. He was a commencement speaker at graduation.

After a year as efficiency engineer for the Civil Service Commission of the city of Oakland, he returned to the University in 1914 as cashier in the comptroller's office, where he continued until January, 1918, when he became acting secretary of the Regents during the absence of V. H. Henderson. In April, 1918, he became assistant comptroller, assistant secretary of the Regents, and assistant land agent. In 1920, when Ralph Merritt resigned as comptroller, Sproul was appointed to take his place. At this time he also became secretary of the Regents and land agent. When the Regents established two administrative vice-presidencies in 1925, Sproul was appointed vice-president in charge of business and financial affairs. He continued to hold all four titles until he took office as President of the University in July, 1930.

He was chosen President-elect in June, 1929 after Campbell had announced his impending retirement the next year. In the interim, Sproul took a six-month leave of absence to visit other institutions, not only to study their educational and administrative methods, but to widen his acquaintance in the academic world from which future faculty members might come. He was already well-known in California through his public appearances and contacts as comptroller; he had been involved in the development of the Los Angeles campus from its inception; farmers knew him for his work on the State Commission on Agricultural Education; he had been treasurer of the California Alumni Association since 1915; and of the Save-the-Redwoods League since 1921.

Sproul's outstanding contribution during his 28-year administration was the multiple-campus expansion of the University to meet the demands for higher education in widely separated parts of the state, while maintaining one institution governed by one Board of Regents and one President. In 1931, 1945, and 1953, he forestalled ill-considered establishment of numerous local colleges by initiating impartial surveys of higher education, provided data to guide orderly higher education expansion in California.

Building and campus improvements had to be curtailed in the first 15 years of his administration because of the world-wide financial depression of the 1930's and the exigencies of World War II, but Sproul never allowed the University to falter academically. Good teaching was his first concern, but in the depression years when University legislative appropriations were reduced 25 per cent, he sought unceasingly for private funds to maintain research. The faculty renown attained in this period advanced the national ranking of the University in its number of distinguished departments from tenth place in 1934 as judged by the American Council on Education to second place behind Harvard in 1942.

Another concern was the promotion of a feeling of unity and accord among the highly individual campuses of the expanding University. In 1936, he organized the California Club, which brought student leaders of all campuses together. In 1944, he inaugurated the first of what came to be an annual series of all-University faculty conferences where representatives from each campus met with him for three days at Davis to consider previously announced topics of University import and offer recommendations for action. He "commuted" between the two larger campuses and visited the smaller campuses regularly, and toured the state annually to personally present the aims and achievements of the University to the public.

The increasing complexity of the University's administration was given careful study during the last decade of his Presidency and, in 1951, Sproul announced an administrative reorganization which continued to place responsibility for University-wide administration on the President, but granted considerable autonomy for local affairs to each campus under the direction of a chancellor or provost, and provided a council of chief campus officers for inter-campus relations.

In June, 1958, Sproul retired having seen the University grow from an enrollment of 19,723 in 1930-31 to 46,194 in 1956-57; the plant value increase from $32,689,000 to $203,992,000; library resources enlarged from 1,035,181 volumes to 3,997,245 volumes; state appropriations grown from $7,256,000 to $72,879,000 and the total income increased from $11,313,000 to $209,010,000.

Within a year after his retirement, he was a member of the Advisory Board on National Parks, Historic Sites, Buildings, and Monuments; director, Alameda County Chapter, American Association for the United Nations; chairman, California Advisory Committee on Civil Rights; member, National Council of the Atlantic Union Committee, Inc.; member, Advisory Commission to the Joint Interim Committee on Public Education, California; director, East Bay Regional Park District; member, U.S. Air Force, Air University Board of Visitors.

Sproul and Ida A. Wittschen were married in September, 1916. There are three children: Marion (Mrs. Vernon L. Goodin); Robert Gordon, Jr., and John Allen.

He received the honorary degree of LL.D. from Occidental College, 1926; University of Southern California, 1930; University of San Francisco, 1930; Pomona College, 1931; University of Oregon, 1932; University of Nebraska, 1935; Yale University, 1935; University of Maine, 1938; University of New Mexico, 1940; Harvard University, 1940; Mills College, 1943; Princeton University, 1947; Tulane University, 1949; St. Mary's College, 1949; University of California, Berkeley, 1958; University of British Columbia, 1958; Rensselaer Polytechnic Institute, 1958; and Brigham Young University, 1959. He received the honorary degree of L.H.D. from the University of California, Los Angeles, 1958; and the honorary degree of Litt.D. from Columbia University, 1938.

Among his foreign honors are: France's Officier de l'Ordre National de la Legion d'Honneur; Knight of the Order of the Iron Crown of Italy; and Royal Order of the North Star of Sweden (Commander Second Class).

He was given the Benjamin Ide Wheeler distinguished citizen award by the city of Berkeley, 1934; made an honorary fellow of Stanford University, 1941; and named "Alumnus of the Year" by the California Alumni Association in 1946.

to top

Clark Kerr, 1958-67

Clark Kerr, industrial relations economist and 12th President of the University (1958-1967), was born in Stony Creek, Pennsylvania, May 17, 1911, and spent his boyhood on a farm. At Swarthmore College, he was captain of the debating team and president of the student body in his senior year. He received an A.B. degree from Swarthmore in 1932, an M.A. degree from Stanford in 1933, and a Ph.D. degree in economics from the University of California, Berkeley in 1939. He studied at the London School of Economics in 1936 and again in 1939.

He was an instructor of economics at Antioch College in 1936-37, and a teaching fellow and a Newton Booth fellow while studying for his doctorate at Berkeley. He was acting assistant professor of labor economics at Stanford, 1939-40, and assistant professor, then associate professor of economics at the University of Washington, 1940-45.

Kerr joined the Berkeley faculty in 1945 as associate professor of industrial relations in the School of Business Administration, and as organizer and director of the newly established Institute of Industrial Relations. In 1947, he was appointed full professor.

On July 1, 1952, Kerr became Berkeley's first chancellor and developed the administration of that campus during the next six years. He was named President-elect of the University on October 18, 1957, to succeed the retiring Robert Gordon Sproul. He took office on July 1, 1958. As President, he assumed leadership in the development of the Master Plan for Higher Education in California, devised long-range academic and physical development plans for the University, implemented new administrative policies granting increased authority to chancellors of the University campuses, and developed new rules providing for less restricted use of University facilities by students and student organizations. During his Presidency, land was acquired, buildings erected, and instruction begun on new campuses located at Irvine, Santa Cruz, and San Diego.

On January 20, 1967, the Regents of the University of California terminated the Presidency of Clark Kerr by a vote of 14 to 8. Throughout the last two years of his administration, student unrest and disturbances on the Berkeley campus drew criticism of the University's management from many citizens and public officials in California. As chief executive of the University, Kerr was held responsible for the restoration of order. On the methods to be used in dealing with the situation at Berkeley and on other matters Kerr was often in disagreement with some of the Regents. In March, 1965, he submitted his resignation from the presidency, but was requested by the Regents to withdraw it a few days later. Thereafter, rumors of Kerr's impending resignation or dismissal reoccurred periodically. They were particularly persistent after November, 1966, when three ex officio members of the Board were replaced as a result of a change in party control of the state administration.

In announcing the action of the Regents on January 20, 1967, Theodore Meyer, chairman of the Board, said that the Regents had decided "that the state of uncertainty which had prevailed for many months concerning the President's status should be resolved without further delay."

The dismissal of Kerr from the Presidency evoked expressions of gratitude and confidence for his service and leadership and criticism of his dismissal from student bodies and divisions of the Academic Senate throughout the University.

Kerr had an extensive record as an arbitrator in labor-management disputes including service as impartial chairman, Water Front Employers Pacific Coast versus the International Longshoremen's and Warehousemen's Union, 1946-47; and national arbitrator, Armour and Company versus the United Packing House Workers, 1945-52. He was also a member of the War Labor Board, during World War 11; National Wage Stabilization Board, 1950-51; President Eisenhower's Commission on National Goals, 1960; and the Commission on Humanities, 1964. He was on the advisory panel of the Society for Scientific Research of the National Science Foundation, 1953-57; a director of the Center for Advanced Behavioral Studies of the Ford Foundation, 1953-61; and was a trustee of the Rockefeller Foundation.

He was a member of the American, the Royal, and the Western Economic Associations, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, the National Academy of Arbitrators, and the American Association of University Professors.

He received the honorary degree of LL.D. from Swarthmore College, 1952; Harvard University, 1958; Occidental College, 1958; Pomona College, 1959; Princeton University, 1959; Albright College, 1960; University of Bordeaux, 1962; Brandeis University, 1964; Haverford College, 1964; University of Hawaii, 1964; Chinese University of Hong Kong, 1964; University of Strathclyde, 1965; and the honorary degree of L.H.D. from George Washington University, 1964.

He was made "Executive of the Year" by the American College of Hospital Administrators, 1963; received the Human Relations award from the Anti-Defamation League of B'nai B'rith, 1964; and, jointly with the Regents, received the Meiklejohn Award from the American Association of University Professors, 1964. In 1963, he delivered the Godkin Lectures at Harvard University.

He is the author of: Collective Bargaining on the Pacific Coast (1948); [with E. W. Bakke] Unions, Management and the Public (1948), rev. ed. 1960; United States Industrial Relations: the Next Twenty Years (1958); Industrialism and Industrial Man (1960); The Uses of the University [Godkin Lectures, Harvard University (1963)]; Labor and Management in Industrial Society (1964); and numerous contributions to professional periodicals and national magazines.

He married Catherine Spaulding in December, 1934. They have three children: Clark E., Alexander, and Caroline. Clark Kerr died on December 1, 2003.

to top

Harry Richard Wellman, 1967

Photograph of Harry Richard Wellman courtesy of the Bancroft Library, UARC Picture 13:4770d.Harry Richard Wellman, Acting President of the University (1967), was born March 4, 1899, in Mountainview, Alberta, Canada. When he was three, his family moved to a farm near Umapine, Oregon, where he grew up. After service in the Navy during World War I, he returned to Oregon where he obtained the B.S. degree from Oregon Agricultural College in 1921. That same year he became a naturalized citizen.

After graduation he was County 4-H Club agent in Malheur County, Oregon, for a year, during which time he married Miss Ruth L. Gay. Their daughter, Nancy Jane, is now Mrs. Robert D. Parmelee.

In 1924 Wellman received the M.S. degree and in 1926 the Ph.D. degree in agricultural economics from the University of California, Berkeley. From 1925 to 1934 he was a specialist in agricultural economics in the Extension Service, College of Agriculture, and from 1929 was an associate in the Giannini Foundation of Agricultural Economics.

Wellman was chief of the General Crops Section of the U. S. Agricultural Adjustment Administration in 1934-35. Returning to Berkeley, he became an associate professor of agricultural economics in the College of Agriculture and associate agricultural economist in the Agriculture Experiment Station and in the Gianinni Foundation, rising to professor in 1939. Three years later he was appointed director of the Gianinni Foundation and in 1943 was elected a director of the Federal Reserve Bank of San Francisco, a position he held for eleven years.

With the administrative reorganization of the University in 1952, Wellman was appointed vice president-agricultural sciences, holding this position until 1958 when he was appointed the vice president of the University. The Regents named him Acting President in January, 1967.

Wellman's extensive scholarly research has centered on price analysis, marketing and agricultural policy, particularly with respect to California fruits and vegetables. He is the author of more than 150 monographs and articles, and in 1960 was awarded the honorary degree of LL.D. by Oregon State University. He is a member of the American Farm Economics Association (president, 1952-53) and the Western Farm Economics Association (president, 1948-49).

to top

Charles Johnston Hitch, 1967-75

Charles J. Hitch joined the University of California in September, 1965, as Vice President-Business and Finance. At the time of his appointment as the thirteenth president of the University in 1967, Hitch was serving as Vice President of the University for Administration, UC's second-ranking executive. A professor of economics at UC Berkeley, Hitch also served as chairman of the Budget Review Board and the Capital Outlay Review Board.

Born January 9, 1910, in Boonville, Missouri, Hitch received his Bachelor of Arts degree with highest distinction from the University of Arizona in 1931. After a year of graduate study at Harvard he was selected to be a Rhodes Scholar at Oxford, where he received his Master's degree. In 1935 he became the first American Rhodes Scholar to be a don at an Oxford college when he was elected a Fellow of Queens College, a position he held thirteen years. He was general editor of the Oxford Economic Papers. He was a visiting professor at Yale, UCLA, and the University of Sao Paulo, Brazil. He held an honorary degree of Doctor of Laws from the University of Arizona and an honorary degree of Doctor of Science in Commerce from Drexel Institute of Technology, and was an Honorary Fellow of Queens College, Oxford. He traveled frequently to speak before audiences throughout Europe and England.

During World War II, Hitch served with the first Lend-Lease mission in London and subsequently on the War Production Board. Following assignments in the Army and the Office of Strategic Services, he was chief of the Stabilization Controls Division of the Office of War Mobilization and Reconversion. In 1961 President Kennedy appointed Hitch Assistant Secretary of Defense and Comptroller of the Defense Department, where he was chiefly responsible for revamping the Pentagon's administrative organization and instituting modern cost-accounting and budgeting processes. Prior to his last government appointment, Hitch served, from 1948 to 1961, first as Head of the Economics Division of the RAND Corporation of Santa Monica, and later as Chairman of its Research Council. He achieved fame among economists and administrators in innovating effective methods of cost-benefit analysis.

Hitch authored many articles and books, including America's Economic Strength (London: Oxford University Press, 1941); The Economics of Defense in the Nuclear Age, with Roland N. McKean (Cambridge: Harvard University Press, 1960); Decision-Making for Defense (Berkeley: University of California Press, 1965); The Defense Sector and the American Economy, with Jacob K. Javits and Arthur F. Burns (New York: New York University Press, 1968); Defense Economic Issues (Washington, D.C.: National Defense University, 1982); and Energy Conservation and Economic Growth (Boulder, Colo: Westview Press, 1978).

He was active in a number of professional organizations, serving as President of the Operations Research Society of America, 1959-1960, and Vice President of the American Economic Association, 1965. He was a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, and the Economic Society. He was a Trustee of the Asia Foundation and Resources for the Future, and a member of the Board of the Directors of the American Council on Education. Following his term as UC president, Hitch served from 1975 to 1970 as President of Resources for the Future, a nonprofit corporation for research and education in the development, conservation, and use of natural resources.

Hitch lived with his family, including daughter Caroline, in Kensington. The Bancroft Library published his oral history in 1988.

to top

David S. Saxon, 1975-83

David Saxon became a member of the UC faculty in 1947 when he joined the physics department at UCLA. In 1968 he was appointed vice chancellor of UCLA, and Universitywide provost in 1974, which he served for one year prior to assuming his role as UC president in 1975.

A native of St. Paul, Minnesota, Saxon earned both his B.S. and the Ph.D. at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (M.I.T.). In 1944, the year he was awarded the Ph.D., he joined the staff of the MIT Radiation Laboratory. In 1946 he became an associate physicist with the Phillips Laboratories in New York, and joined the UCLA faculty in 1947 as an assistant professor of physics. Saxon specialized in the fields of theoretical physics, nuclear physics, quantum mechanics, and electromagnetic theory, and assumed chairmanship of the UCLA physics department in 1963. He won the Distinguished Teaching Award at UCLA in 1967. He spent the 1956-57 academic year at the Neils Bohn Institute of Theoretical Physics in Copenhagen on a Guggenheim Award, and in 1960-61 received both a Fulbright Award and a Guggenheim Foundation Grant and spent that year at the University of Paris. Saxon is a member of the American Physical Society and the American Institute of Physics, and the author of several physics textbooks and numerous articles published in professional journals.

While president of UC, Saxon was awarded four honorary degrees and served on a number of national committees including a committee of the National Academy of Sciences. He spent a term at Merton College, Oxford, as a visiting research fellow, and served as a member of the Ford Motor Company Scientific Advisory Committee.

He retired in 1983 after serving eights years as the UC president. He was then elected chairman of the M.I.T. Corporation, succeeding Howard Wesley Johnson who served as chairman of the Corporation beginning in 1971, and president of the Institute from 1966 to 1971. Saxon served as a Member of the M.I.T. Corporation from 1976 to 1981.

He is married to the former Shirley Godman of Portsmouth, New Hampshire. They have six daughters: Margaret (Mrs. Edward Madden) of Honolulu; Barbara (Mrs. Robert Vineyard) of Los Angeles; Linda (Mrs. Bart Farell) of Montreal; Catherine (Mrs. Hans Daurer) of Austria; Victoria (Mrs. Joao Casanova) of Los Angeles; and Charlotte, a graduate of the UC Santa Cruz campus.

to top

David Pierpont Gardner, 1983-92

Prior to his appointment as fifteenth president of the University of California in 1983, David Pierpont Gardner served for ten years as the president of the University of Utah, where he was also a professor of higher education. He assumed his role as president at a time when state support and morale had deteriorated, and relationships with the state Legislature and the governor were strained. UC was just recovering from an era marked by student protests and diminished public support. Gardner succeeded in persuading the new governor, George Deukmejian, and the Legislature to approve a one-year 30 percent increase in UC's state operating budget. What followed was a period of significant growth and achievement through the 1980s. From 1983 to 1992, UC's nine-campus student enrollment grew by about 25,500 students to 166,500.

During Gardner's tenure, UC engaged in the largest building program in its history--$3.7 billion in capital projects, funded by both public and private sources. UC also began planning for a tenth campus to help meet projected enrollment demands of 60,000 more students by the year 2005. In 1992, however, the state's budget crisis required that Gardner impose an eight-point program--including salary freezes, student fee increases and an early retirement program for faculty and staff--to meet $300 million in budget cuts.

A native of Berkeley, Gardner received his B.S. in political science from Brigham Young University. He was also awarded the M.A. in political science and the Ph.D. in higher education from UC Berkeley. He served both on the higher education faculty and in various administrative positions at UC Santa Barbara from 1964 to 1970, including two years as vice chancellor of the campus. From 1971 to 1973, before assuming the Utah presidency, he was a vice president of the UC system.

He has numerous publications to his credit. His principal work, The California Oath Controversy (Berkeley: UC Press, 1967), is a scholarly study of the loyalty oath disputes at the University of California in the 1950s. In addition, Gardner has written and spoken extensively on themes of excellence in education through application of standards, requirements, and continued faculty vigilance.

Gardner's work in education has brought him many academic honors. In 1979, he was a visiting fellow at Clare Hall, Cambridge University, England, after which he held a permanent affiliation as an associate at Cambridge University. In both 1981 and 1982, he was an invited participant in the Leverhulme Trust examination of Institutional Adaptation and Change in British Higher Education, one of the few American academic leaders asked to participate.

His professional service includes numerous memberships and chairmanships on boards and commissions considering educational issues. In 1981 he was appointed chairman of the federal government's eighteen-member Commission on Excellence in Education, which resulted in a landmark 1983 report, "A Nation at Risk." The report warned that America's educational foundations were being eroded "by a rising tide of mediocrity," and made wide-ranging recommendations to reverse the trend.

Among his other professional appointments, Gardner served as a member of the National Commission on Student Financial Assistance and as chairman of the National Collegiate Athletic Association Select Committee on Athletic Problems and Concerns in Higher Education.

Gardner resigned in 1992 following the death of his wife Libby. He held the third longest tenure of UC's presidents, behind Benjamin Ide Wheeler who served twenty years from 1899 to 1919, and Robert Gordon Sproul who served twenty-eight years from 1930 to 1958. Following his term as president of the University of California, Gardner served as the president of the Hewlett Foundation, until his retirement in 1999. He is currently working on his memoirs.

to top

Jack W. Peltason, 1992-95

Jack W. Peltason, sixteenth president of the University of California, took office on October 1, 1992. Peltason served as chancellor at UC Irvine from 1984 until 1992, when he assumed office of the president.

A political scientist and author of two widely used political science textbooks, Peltason earned bachelor's and master's degrees from the University of Missouri, and a Ph.D. from Princeton University. His first teaching job was at Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts, from 1947 to 1951. That was followed by a faculty post at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, where in 1960 he was named dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences. In 1964, Peltason was recruited to help build UC's new Irvine campus and served as UCI's first academic vice chancellor.

He was wooed back to the University of Illinois in 1967 as chancellor, during a turbulent period of student unrest. He held that job for 10 years, until 1977 when he was appointed president of the American Council on Education in Washington, D.C., a national organization of colleges and universities.

Then, in 1984, Peltason returned to UCI as chancellor, the second in the campus's 26-year history, overseeing an era of growth in enrollment, facilities, and private support. At one point during his tenure as chancellor, more than $350 million in new buildings were under construction or being planned at one time. Paralleling the physical growth was growth in private support from about $10 million in 1984 to a high of $32.8 million in 1989. Much of this success was credited to Peltason's relationships with the community and business leaders in Orange County.

While enrollment at UCI grew--from 12,600 in 1984 to nearly 17,000 students--today, so did the curriculum. UCI's highly regarded programs include geosciences, neurosciences and the universitywide Humanities Research Institute.

Jack Peltason was born on Aug. 29, 1923, in St. Louis, Missouri. He and his wife Suzanne have three children: daughters Nancy and Jill, and son Timothy.

to top

Richard C. Atkinson, 1995-2003

Richard C. Atkinson, seventeenth president of the University of California, took office on October 1, 1995.  Before becoming president of the UC System, he served as chancellor of UC San Diego; prior to that he served as director of the National Science Foundation and was a long-term member of the faculty at Stanford University.

An internationally respected scholar and scientist, Atkinson became the fifth chancellor of UC San Diego in 1980. During his tenure, the university doubled in size to about 18,000 students while increasing the distinction and breadth of its programs. The campus consistently placed among the top five universities in federal funding for research. In 1995, the quality of its graduate programs was ranked tenth in the nation by the National Research Council.

Atkinson was appointed deputy director of the National Science Foundation by President Gerald Ford in 1975. Two years later, President Jimmy Carter promoted him to director. At NSF, he had a wide range of responsibilities for science policy at a national and international level, including negotiating the first memorandum of understanding in history between the People's Republic of China and the United States, an agreement for the exchange of scientists and scholars.

Atkinson began his academic career at Stanford University after military service in the U.S. Army. He was a member of the Stanford faculty from 1956 to 1980, except for a three-year period at UCLA. In addition to serving as professor of psychology at Stanford, he held appointments in the School of Engineering, School of Education, Applied Mathematics and Statistics Laboratories, and Institute for Mathematical Studies in the Social Sciences.

Atkinson's research dealt with problems of memory and cognition. His theory of human memory has been influential in shaping research in the field. It has helped in clarifying the relationship between brain structures and psychological phenomena, in explaining the effects of drugs on memory, and in formulating techniques that optimize the learning process.

Atkinson has also been interested in the more applied problems of learning in the classroom. He developed one of the first computer-controlled systems for instruction, which served as a prototype for the commercial development of computer-assisted instruction. Reading instruction under computer control for young school children has been an important application of his work. He was co-founder of the Computer Curriculum Corporation.

Atkinson's scientific contributions have resulted in election to the National Academy of Sciences, the Institute of Medicine, the National Academy of Education, and the American Philosophical Society. He is past president of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, former chair of the Association of American Universities, the recipient of numerous honorary degrees, and a mountain in Antarctica has been named in his honor.

His wife, Rita Atkinson, holds a Ph.D. in psychology. Their daughter, Lynn, has an MD degree and is a neurosurgeon.

to top

Robert C. Dynes, 2003-

Robert C. Dynes, a physicist and an expert on semiconductors and superconductors, is the 18th president of the University of California, assuming those responsibilities on October 2, 2003. Since 1996, he had served as chancellor of UC’s San Diego campus. Dynes came to UC San Diego in 1991 after a 22-year career at AT&T Bell Laboratories, where he served as department head of semiconductor and material physics research and director of chemical physics research. His numerous scientific honors include the 1990 Fritz London Award in Low Temperature Physics and his 2001 election to the Council of the National Academy of Sciences, a society to which he was elected in 1989.

Joining UC San Diego as professor of physics, Dynes founded an interdisciplinary laboratory where chemists, electrical engineers, and private industry researchers investigate the properties of metals, semiconductors, and superconductors. He subsequently became chairman of the physics department and then senior vice chancellor for academic affairs.

Along with his duties as Chancellor and his ongoing physics research, Robert Dynes was active in the national scientific arena and in San Diego civic organizations. He was vice-chair of the University of California President's Council on the National Laboratories, a member of the National Security Panel, and Councilor of the National Academy of Sciences. His San Diego community affiliations included membership on the San Diego Regional Economic Development Corporation Board, the San Diego Science Alliance Board, the San Diego Performing Arts League Advisory Council, and the Children's Hospital and Health Center Board.

A native of London, Ontario, Canada, and a naturalized United States citizen, Dynes holds a bachelor's degree in mathematics and physics from the University of Western Ontario and master's and doctorate degrees in physics and an honorary doctor of science degree from McMaster University. He is a Fellow of the American Physical Society, the Canadian Institute of Advanced Research, and the American Academy of Arts and Sciences.

President Dynes is married to Ann Parode Dynes, retired campus counsel from UC San Diego.

to top

the UC History Digital Archives

Copyright © 2007
The Regents of the University of California. All rights reserved.
Last updated 04/24/07.