UC President Mark Yudof released the following statement on Tuesday in the wake of Robert Birgeneau’s announcement that he will step down as chancellor of UC Berkeley at the end of this calendar year.
“In his more than seven years as Chancellor at the University of California, Berkeley, Robert Birgeneau has proven to be a passionate, dedicated and effective steward of the world’s greatest public university. He has been an ardent champion of academic excellence, as well as an unwavering advocate for the underdog
“A world-renowned physicist, the Chancellor grasped early on the growing importance of multi-disciplinary research in addressing the complex problems of the 21st century. This foresight led him to foster a variety of new research initiatives at Berkeley, from the Blum Center for Developing Economies to the Li Ka Shing Center for Biomedical and Health Sciences.
“The Chancellor has aimed high in his efforts to make UC Berkeley a truly global force in higher education and research, but he also has managed to preserve its historic standing in California as a beacon of hope and opportunity for all prospective students. That more Pell Grant-eligible students from low-income families attend UC Berkeley than the entire Ivy League combined testifies to his vision of the university as a vital agent of transformation.
“Chancellor Birgeneau also has stood out as an administrative innovator. Many of the business practices he brought to the table have come to benefit not just Berkeley, but the entire 10-campus UC system. He oversaw the largest fundraising campaign in UC Berkeley’s history; by placing heightened focus on philanthropic support for faculty positions and graduate fellowships, he united donors around the university’s mission of maintaining and even enhancing its peerless academic quality.
“On a personal note, I have come to rely on Bob as a trusted confidante and friend. In that vein, I am delighted that he will remain on campus as a faculty member in Physics and Material Sciences and Engineering. I wish him and Mary Catherine the very best as they embark on this next phase of their lives.”