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Campus Gains New Vice Chancellor and Chief Operating Officer

January 21, 2022

UC Merced has appointed Daniel T. Okoli, Ph.D., as vice chancellor and chief operating officer, overseeing Planning and Development, Facilities, the UC Merced Police Department and several other departments.

In announcing the appointment, Chancellor Juan Sánchez Muñoz called Okoli “a deeply collaborative and widely experienced leader.”

Among the major projects he will take on are the development of UC Merced’s Health, Behavioral Sciences and Medical Education Building and liaising with the city of Merced as it pursues annexation of the campus and surrounding area.

Okoli has served as vice president for capital planning and development at Northern Arizona University since 2017, championing sustainability efforts and building relationships with faculty to create experiential education opportunities for students in campus development projects.

Prior to NAU, Okoli held planning and development leadership roles at the University of Wisconsin Pace University and The Ohio State University. He has taught mathematics, physics, architecture, computer-aided drafting and design and African American studies at the undergraduate level.

He holds a Ph.D. from Colorado State University, an M.B.A. from the University of Arizona, a master’s in architecture and an M.A. in humanities from The Ohio State University, and a B.S. in structural engineering and architecture from the University of Aston.

“I am very excited about the opportunity to serve as part of a great team in this special place with priorities that perfectly align with my passion,” said Okoli. “UC Merced’s unique combination of emphases on research, sustainability, and inclusive excellence in a highly diverse, student-centered environment makes it a model 21st century university.

“I have followed its development since it first opened its doors to students in 2005,” he said. “Now I can’t wait to be part of the journey into its very bright future.”