UC Regent Bonnie Reiss dies at 62 after battling cancer

Bonnie Reiss Portrait  Emmy Magazine
Bonnie Reiss Portrait Emmy Magazine

Bonnie Reiss, a UC regent and senior adviser to former California governor Arnold Schwarzenegger, died from cancer at 62 in her home in Malibu on Tuesday morning, according to University of California Office of the President spokesperson Dianne Klein.

UC President Janet Napolitano issued a statement Tuesday addressing Reiss’ death. The statement described Reiss as passionate and hardworking, and it commemorated her work to combat sexual assault and harassment.

“Our students, faculty, and staff — both current and those to come — have benefitted from Bonnie’s efforts to improve policies that combat sexual harassment and sexual assault, and her work to ensure that California’s public research university maintains its academic excellence while remaining accessible to our state’s students,” the statement said.

Reiss was working to mitigate the effects of global climate change, according to the statement. The UC’s Carbon Neutrality Initiative Student Fellowship Program will now be renamed the Bonnie Reiss Carbon Neutrality Student Fellows Program.

Reiss was appointed as a UC regent in March 2008 by Schwarzenegger. During her tenure in the Schwarzenegger administration, she was involved in policy initiatives and was instrumental in shaping California’s landmark Global Warming Solutions Act.

In a message sent by UC Board of Regents chair George Kieffer to other board members, he mourned the loss of Reiss and commended her courage during her battle against cancer.

“During that period she was an inspiration for her courage, unbounded optimism and contagious spirit. Bonnie Reiss was as honest and true in sickness as she was in health,” Kieffer said in the message.

Jessíca Jiménez is an assistant news editor. Contact her at [email protected] and and follow her on Twitter at @jesscajimenez_dc.