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Chancellors named for UCSF, UC Davis

May 1, 2009 |  3:22 pm

Two women, one a noted cancer researcher and the other a electrical engineering expert and veteran academic administrator, were nominated Friday to become chancellors at UC San Francisco and UC Davis, respectively.

Currently only one woman, Marye Anne Fox at UC San Diego, heads any of the system’s 10 campuses.

Susan Desmond-Hellman, who recently headed product development at the Genentech biomedical firm, was named to be the next chancellor at UC San Francisco, which is a medical research school. Desmond-Hellmann, who is 51 and earned a medical degree from the University of Nevada, worked on AIDS and cancer-related research in Africa and has taught on hematology-oncology at UC San Francisco.

Nominated to lead UC Davis was Linda Katehi who has served as provost at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign since 2006. Katehi, who is 55 and earned a UCLA doctorate in electrical engineering, taught at the University of Michigan and Purdue University, where she was engineering dean.

UC system President Mark G. Yudof is to bring their nominations to the UC regents board for approval next week for terms that would begin this summer. However, because of concerns about possibly overburdening UC San Diego’s security and medical resources during the swine flu outbreak, the regents on Friday dropped plans to meet at that campus over three days next week and instead will meet just on Thursday via telephone conference.

UC officials said the regents meeting might have interfered with UC San Diego’s ongoing health and police efforts to help manage the flu alerts. They denied that the regents were trying to avoid student protesters, who were expected to turn out in force to oppose a 9.3% student fee raise that is to be voted on Thursday.

Desmond-Hellmann would replace J. Michael Bishop, who is stepping down after 10 years as UCSF chancellor. Katehi would replace Larry Vanderhoef, who will have served 15 years as UC Davis chancellor.

--Larry Gordon