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Advisory Committee Named for UC Merced Chancellor Search

July 29, 2019
UC Merced's Beginnings sculpture in the middle of a grassy quad
UC President Janet Napolitano has announced the members of an advisory committee to assist in the search for UC Merced's next chancellor.

University of California President Janet Napolitano today (July 29) announced the formation of an advisory committee of university faculty, staff, students, alumni and foundation representatives to help in the international search for a new chancellor to lead the Merced campus. Regent George Kieffer, the Board of Regents Chair for 2017-2019, appointed five regents to serve on the committee.

UC Merced Chancellor Dorothy Leland announced in May that she planned to retire at the end of the 2018-19 academic year. Nathan Brostrom, systemwide executive vice president and chief financial officer, will serve as the interim chancellor until a new chancellor is appointed.

The search advisory committee includes:

  • Janet Napolitano, UC president
  • John A. Pérez, UC Board of Regents chair
  • Cecilia Estolano, UC Board of Regents vice chair
  • Michael Cohen, UC regent
  • Eleni Kounalakis, UC regent
  • Richard Leib, UC regent
  • Hayley Weddle, UC student regent
  • Kum-Kum Bhavnani, incoming chair of the systemwide Academic Senate*
  • Jennifer Manilay, professor of molecular and cell biology, UC Merced
  • Thomas Hansford, professor of political science, UC Merced
  • Valerie Leppert, professor of materials science and engineering, UC Merced
  • Charles Smith, professor of political science, UC Irvine
  • Brooklynn Pham, alumni representative
  • Monya Lane, foundation representative
  • Priya Lakireddy, president, UC Merced Staff Assembly
  • Erik Flores, president of the Associated Students of UC Merced
  • Larisa Gavrilova, UC Merced Graduate Student Association

The advisory committee will be involved in recruiting, screening and conducting interviews with candidates for the position. The committee's work will be scheduled so that candidates can be presented to Napolitano for consideration and a recommended nominee submitted to the Board of Regents for approval, tentatively by May 2020.

The committee's first meeting will be held September 24 on the UC Merced campus, where members and invited guests will gather in a closed session. The forum will include remarks by Napolitano, followed by separate sessions with various campus constituency groups. The president and committee members will also participate in a luncheon with alumni, donors and community leaders.

In addition to presentations by those constituency representatives who will meet with the committee, public input is encouraged throughout the search process. Comments may be submitted via email to

The executive search firm Isaacson, Miller will assist in the process. Submission of nominations and application materials may be sent via email to

*As of Sept. 1, 2019, Kum-Kum Bhavnani is the chair of the systemwide Academic Senate