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Dorothy Leland Named Campus Chancellor by Regents

May 18, 2011
Dorothy Leland has been appointed to serve as UC Merced's third chancellor.

Georgia College & State University President Dorothy Leland was appointed today by the University of California Board of Regents to serve as the third chancellor of UC Merced, capping a national search for an institution builder to guide the system's newest university into the top ranks of American research and teaching institutions.

“Dorothy Leland takes the reins of UC Merced at a pivotal time,” said UC President Mark G. Yudof. “She's a proven leader skilled at getting the best from everyone she works with, and an educator with a true passion for teaching and innovation. Wherever she goes, she raises the bar.”

Leland, who grew up in the rural California town of Fillmore, succeeds Sung-Mo “Steve” Kang, an electrical engineer who will return to teaching and research at UC Santa Cruz after he leaves the chancellorship on June 30. Leland, who holds a doctorate in philosophy, will step into her new post July 1.

“The opportunity to help build on the accomplishments of UC Merced's faculty, students, and staff is an honor and tremendous thrill,” Leland said. “The university's vibrancy and commitment to research excellence, coupled with the chance to get back to California, make this appointment all the more exciting for me.”

“It will be a delight to welcome Dorothy Leland to our rapidly growing campus and begin preparations for a seamless transition over the remainder of my term,” said Kang. “I am confident she will be energized and inspired by the pioneering spirit and determination that thrive on our beautiful young campus, just as I have been throughout my tenure.”

During her more than seven years at Georgia College, Leland led what had been a regional college into one of rising national prominence. She oversaw significant improvements in academic competitiveness, student success and federal funding of research and sponsored projects, and she greatly expanded the physical facilities on the central Georgia campus, which enrolls about 6,700 undergraduate and graduate students. Moreover, her economic development and educational initiatives - including the establishment of the Center for Graduate and Professional Learning in Macon - significantly bolstered nearby communities.

At UC Merced, which opened in September 2005 as the 10th UC campus, Leland will find a fast-growing institution with an entrepreneurial, innovative spirit - the first American research university created in the 21st century. Among the current enrollment of more than 4,300 students are many who are the first in their families to attend college.

An economic and creative boon to California's San Joaquin Valley, the campus already has emerged as a national leader in sustainable design, construction and operation. No other American university has earned LEED Silver or better for every campus building, as certified by the U.S. Green Building Council.

Leland earned a bachelor's degree in English, a master's in American Studies and a doctorate in philosophy from Purdue University, which awarded her its Distinguished Alumna award. A recent past president of the Southern University Conference, she serves on the boards of the Council for Higher Education Accreditation and the American Association of State Colleges and Universities. Among the awards and honors she has received is the Governor's Award for Excellence in Historic Preservation in recognition of her approach to the adaptive re-use and rehabilitation of historic buildings on campus. Georgia Trend magazine named her one of the “100 Most Influential Georgians,” and one of four Georgia “Power Women.”

Leland has taught philosophy as a visiting professor at California State University Northridge, California State University Chico and UC Santa Cruz. She returned to Purdue in 1983 to co-direct its doctoral program in philosophy and literature, later becoming an associate professor of philosophy. Her next stop was Florida Atlantic University, where she served as chief planning officer and associate provost before becoming vice president and chief administrative officer of the university's Boca Raton campus. As she did at Florida Atlantic, Leland held the rank of professor of philosophy at Georgia College. At UC Merced, she also will have a faculty appointment.

“The Valley and UC Merced will benefit from Dr. Leland's impressive experience both in leading a small public university to national prominence, and also as an administrator in a major state university system,” said Rep. Dennis Cardoza, D-Merced.

As chancellor of UC Merced, Leland will receive an annual salary of $310,000, about 5 percent more than Kang's $295,000 base pay and 36.5 percent below the market median of $488,000. While UC seeks to remain competitive in its ability to recruit and retain top faculty and staff hires, its base salaries for chancellors still are substantially below the median at comparable public and private universities. Consistent with policy, a relocation allowance of 25 percent ($77,500) of annual base salary will be paid in four equal annual installments commencing Sept. 1, 2011, for costs associated with leaving her home in Georgia. Any unpaid relocation allowance amounts would be forfeited at the time of separation. This position also qualifies for an annual automobile allowance of $8,916. As a chancellor, she will be required to reside in a university-provided house near campus. In addition, the university will provide reimbursement of reasonable travel expenses, as defined by policy, for all business-related visits to the campus prior to the official start date of July 1, and packing and relocation of personal household effects associated with the relocation to the official chancellor's residence.


Steve Montiel
University of California Office of the President
(510) 987-9200

Patti Waid
UC Merced
(209) 658-4483