It is expected that the full Board of Regents will schedule a meeting in the near future to act on the appointment of a new president.
Yudof, one of the leading figures in American higher education, has served as chancellor of the UT system since 2002. He heads one of the largest university systems in the country with 15 campuses, 185,000 students and an annual operating budget of $10.7 billion. Yudof previously was president of the University of Minnesota and a longtime faculty member, dean and provost at the University of Texas at Austin.
"After an intensive and thoughtful search, we have concluded that Mark Yudof is clearly the best candidate for the presidency of the world's leading public research university," said Blum. "Chancellor Yudof is simply outstanding in the field. He has demonstrated superb leadership at the helm of another distinguished multicampus system, and his record of accomplishment in a lifetime of service to public higher education speaks for itself. The members of the search committee are hopeful that the full Board of Regents will concur with our recommendation."
The new chief executive would replace President Robert C. Dynes, who last August announced his intention to step down no later than June 2008 after nearly five years in the position.
Yudof, 63, currently heads a public university system with nine academic campuses and six health institutions. Before being named chancellor of the UT system, he served five years as president of the University of Minnesota, where he achieved particular success in building both state funding and private support for the university.
"Chancellor Yudof brings strong leadership, a commitment to academic excellence and diversity, and a deep appreciation of shared governance," said professor Michael Brown, chair of the UC Academic Senate. "I believe the faculty will be pleased with his appointment."
A highly regarded legal scholar and the recipient of many professional awards, Yudof is an expert on constitutional law, freedom of expression and education law. He has continued to teach throughout his administrative career. His academic works include four editions of the book Educational Policy and the Law; one of the co-authors of the book is professor David Kirp of the Goldman School of Public Policy at UC Berkeley.
"Mark Yudof is an outstanding choice to lead the University of California -- no one comes close," said Kirp, a leading expert on higher education leadership and author of the book Shakespeare, Einstein, and the Bottom Line: The Marketing of Higher Education. "At both Texas and Minnesota, he has demonstrated a unique combination of commitment to academic values, skill at managing and restructuring complex institutions, and effective engagement with public leaders. These skills are critical to the success of chief executives in systems of public higher education today."
Before serving as chief executive at Texas and Minnesota, Yudof was a faculty member and administrator at UT Austin for 26 years. He began his career there in 1971 as an assistant professor of law and later became dean of the School of Law from 1984 to 1994 and executive vice president and provost from 1994 to 1997, when he left for Minnesota.
Marye Anne Fox, chancellor of UC San Diego and a longtime colleague of Yudof's at UT Austin, called him a brilliant and highly original thinker with a demonstrated record of building excellence, a reputation for honesty and a strong commitment to academic values.
"Mark is an eloquent spokesman for higher education, a mentor to students and faculty, and a parent who sympathizes with the need to minimize barriers to college entry for students," said Fox, who was a member of the chemistry faculty and vice president for research at UT Austin. "He is a strong defender of academic freedom and shared governance with the faculty, and he places a high priority on building effective working relationships with state elected leaders. His attention to the importance of diversity and to the value of building aggressive inter-institutional collaborations also makes him well-suited to addressing the needs of the UC system."
Yudof, a native of Philadelphia, earned a bachelor's degree and an LL.B. degree from the University of Pennsylvania. He is a fellow of the American Academy of Arts and Sciences, a member of the American Law Institute, and a member of The President's Council on Service and Civic Participation, an appointment President George W. Bush made in 2006.
His wife, Judy, is the immediate past international president of the United Synagogue of Conservative Judaism and was the only woman president in the organization's 89-year history. She also serves on the U.S. Holocaust Memorial Museum Council in Washington, D.C., and on the international board of Hillel.
The University of California, recognized worldwide for its academic distinction, includes more than 220,000 students, 170,000 faculty and staff, and an $18 billion annual budget at its 10 campuses at Berkeley, Davis, Irvine, Los Angeles, Merced, Riverside, San Diego, San Francisco, Santa Cruz and Santa Barbara. The university offers programs in more than 150 disciplines, many of which are ranked among the top 10 nationally, and for the last 12 years has generated more patents than any other university in the nation. UC's five medical centers support the clinical teaching programs of the university's medical and health sciences schools and handle more than three million patient visits each year. The UC system also is involved in managing the U.S. Department of Energy national laboratories at Berkeley, Livermore and Los Alamos.
The presidential search committee consists of Blum; Regent Sherry L. Lansing, the vice chair; Regent Benjamin Allen, the 2007-08 student Regent; Regent Eleanor Brewer, representing the Alumni Associations of the University of California; and Regents Russell S. Gould, Eddie Island, Norman J. Pattiz, Leslie Tang Schilling and Paul Wachter. Staff adviser Lynda Brewer and faculty representative Michael Brown also advised the committee. The search process has involved consulting with constituent groups from across all 10 campuses, including representative advisory committees of faculty, students, staff and alumni.
The University of California will have no further comment until the Board of Regents acts on the presidential appointment, Blum said. Additional information about the presidential selection process is available at www.universityofcalifornia.edu/dynes/process.html.
University of Texas System statement: http://www.utsystem.edu/News/2008/BOR-HSCStatement-UCYudof-03-20-08.html