Former UCDC director leaves for position at Stanford

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The campus community is mourning the transfer of longtime campus figure Bruce Cain, who took up a new position at Stanford University in June after 23 years with the University of California.

The former executive director of UCDC made his way down the bay to take a new position teaching political science and running the Bill Lane Center for the American West, an interdisciplinary unit that sponsors research and holds conferences on history, culture and policy in western North America.

Cain said he decided to leave campus primarily for new opportunities and resources and not because of an increased salary. He said he will be earning “only slightly more” at Stanford than he did at UC Berkeley. His earnings in 2011 totaled $234,237.66, according to The Sacramento Bee’s database of public employee salaries.

“I felt like I had one more job in me at age 63, and there was nothing more I could do for Cal or UC,” Cain said.
As the executive director of UCDC from 2005 to 2012, Cain led efforts to implement an alternative financial model for UCDC based off student fees rather than state funds. Cain said after the center became more financially stable, he could sense that he would not make a difference for the university anymore.

The interim director of the center is Melanie DuPuis, a professor of sociology at UC Santa Cruz.

“I am really saddened at his leaving — he was an enormous contributor in a variety of ways,” said Henry Brady, dean of the campus’s Goldman School of Public Policy, who has known Cain since the two were graduate students. “He created a model that ensured that UCDC really delivered and didn’t just rely on funds from UCOP. We’re really lucky to have him.”

Cain came to UC Berkeley in 1989 as a professor of political science from the California Institute of Technology. In addition to serving as executive director of UCDC, Cain was director of the Institute of Governmental Studies on campus between 1999 and 2007.

He garnered a number of awards during his time on campus, including the Morris and Edna Zale Award for Outstanding Achievement in Policy Research and Public Service in 2000 and an award from the campus College of Letters and Science for distinguished research mentoring of undergraduates in 2003.

“He cared a lot about scholarship and the UC and cared a lot about undergraduate students,” Brady said. “He’s just one of those people — when he spoke, you’d stop and say, ‘I just gotta listen to this guy.’”

Cain said his favorite memories during his time with the campus “will  always be” of the people he interacted with.
“It’s the colleagues you work with and the students you teach,” Cain said. “Alas, the colleagues age and pass on, but the former students are scattered all over the country, and they keep in touch. Watching how many of them have risen to important positions … has been very gratifying.”

Contact Geena Cova at [email protected].