UC Regents approve Kim Wilcox as UC Riverside chancellor

The UC Board of Regents appointed former Michigan State University provost and executive vice president Kim Wilcox as the ninth chancellor of UC Riverside at a special meeting on Thursday.

Wilcox will replace Jane Close Conoley, the interim chancellor, who replaced former chancellor Timothy White in December after White left to become chancellor of the California State University system. Wilcox was announced as nominee for the position on July 25.

While Wilcox’s appointment was approved in a unanimous vote, both Gov. Jerry Brown  and Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom spoke out against his compensation package, which includes an annual base salary of $354,000 — an increase of $29,000, or 8.9 percent, from White’s salary.

Brown expressed concerns that Wilcox would receive an increase in salary from the previous chancellor and voted against the compensation package. In November, Brown also opposed an increase in compensation for UC Berkeley Chancellor Nicholas Dirks, citing concern with the university’s cost structure and the need for public administrators to exhibit the spirit of “servant leadership.”

Despite Brown’s opposition, the regents approved the compensation package.

UC President Mark Yudof expressed confidence that Wilcox would excel as chancellor.

“Kim Wilcox brings to the University of California distinctive expertise and interests that will serve the Riverside campus and the larger community exceedingly well,” Yudof said.

Bruce Varner, chair of the Board of Regents, served on the search committee and also expressed support of Wilcox.

“Kim Wilcox emerged as the top choice from an outstanding group of candidates,” Varner said. “He has everything it takes to be not only a strong leader and advocate for students, faculty and staff on campus but also a positive force for the larger community.”

Wilcox will begin his position as chancellor of UC Riverside on Aug. 19.

“I’m humbled and honored and excited about this chance,” Wilcox said. “Every university can become better, and great universities can become greater, and that’s what I see happening at the University of California, Riverside.”

Wilcox has served as provost and executive vice president of Michigan State University since 2005. He previously served as dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences at the University of Kansas from 2002 to 2005 and as president and CEO of the Kansas Board of Regents from 1999 to 2002.