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Dynes to Leave Top UC Post, Replacement Search Begins

By Richard Brenneman
Tuesday August 14, 2007

University of California President and UC Berkeley Physics Professor Robert Dynes announced his resignation Monday as head of the nation’s leading public university system. 

While the official announcement by the university’s 64-year-old Canadian-born executive said the announcement would take effect June 30, a “Dear Colleagues” letter from Dynes addressed to the university community said he had already asked Provost Walter R. Hume to assume a day-to-day role as UC’s chief operating officer. 

Dynes wrote that he would formally step down earlier if a replacement is named before the announced date, the end of four years at the helm of the UC system. 

“I will be returning to my faculty position next year,” he wrote, “but over the next 10 months I will continue to focus on a number of UC properties,” including an expansion of the system’s “research, development, and delivery portfolio and its impact.” 

UC Board of Regents Chair Richard C. Blum endorsed Dynes’ designation of Hume as acting chief operating officer. “This will allow Bob to focus his attention on further strengthening the university’s position as the state and nation’s premier higher education research partner”—a possible allusion to finalizing the still-unsigned $500 million agrofuel research pact between BP (once known as British Petroleum) and a consortium headed by UC Berkeley that includes Lawrence Berkeley National Lab and the University of Illinois. 

The regents appointed Dynes to the presidency on June 11, 2004, and he stepped into the job from his previous post as chancellor of UC San Diego. 

Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger added his praise for the outgoing chief, hailing Dynes as “a great partner in working with my administration to ensure educational excellence for our students.” 

In his letter to the regents, Dynes hailed the compact he had negotiated with the governor and noted that “on my watch, the Regents and I have created a new staff representative to the Board. . .recruited six new chancellors, two provosts, three national laboratory directors and numerous vice presidents with critical functions.” 

One of the lab directors is Steve Chu, the Nobel Laureate physicist who has played a crucial role in landing the BP project. 

Blum, the spouse of U.S. Sen. Dianne Feinstein, announced that a replacement committee would be formed to select a new president. 

Members of the public who would like to suggest a nominee can write to board Secretary Diane Griffiths, Attention: Presidential Search, 1111 Franklin St., 12th floor, Oakland, CA 94607-5200.