Press Room

Advisory committee named for UCSF chancellor search

University of California President Janet Napolitano today (Jan. 24) announced the appointment of an advisory committee of university faculty, staff, students, alumni and foundation representatives to help in the national search for a new chancellor to lead UC San Francisco. Bruce Varner, Board of Regents chair, also appointed five regents to serve.

Outgoing Chancellor Susan Desmond-Hellmann plans to leave UCSF at the end of March to become chief executive officer of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Desmond-Hellmann became UCSF's chancellor in 2009 and successfully guided the campus through one of the state's worst fiscal crises, while leading the development of the new women's, children's and cancer hospitals at UCSF Mission Bay, set to open in early 2015. During her tenure, UCSF has received more research funding from the National Institutes of Health than any other public institution in the country.

"Chancellor Desmond-Hellmann pursued an ambitious vision for UCSF, making an already great institution even stronger," said President Napolitano. "I am confident this search committee will help us find a new chancellor who can keep UCSF on its upward trajectory and continue UCSF's innovative leadership in education, research and patient care."

UCSF School of Medicine Dean and Vice Chancellor for Medical Affairs Sam Hawgood, MBBS, is serving as interim chancellor while the search is conducted.

The members of the search advisory committee for the UCSF chancellor include:

  • UC Regents Richard Blum, William De La Pena, Russell Gould, Sherry Lansing and Gavin Newsom.
  • Faculty representatives Farid Chehab, chair of the UCSF Academic Senate and professor in the Department of Laboratory Medicine, UCSF School of Medicine; Tejal Desai, professor in the Department of Bioengineering and Therapeutic Sciences, UCSF School of Pharmacy; Diana Farmer, professor in and chair of the Department of Surgery, UC Davis School of Medicine; William Jacob, chair of the UC Academic Senate and professor in the Department of Mathematics, UC Santa Barbara; and Daniel Lowenstein, professor in the Department of Neurology, UCSF School of Medicine.
  • Medical center administration representative Sheila Antrum, chief nursing officer, UCSF Medical Center.
  • Staff representative Heather Nichols, accreditation manager in the Office of Graduate Medical Education, UCSF.
  • Student representatives Melissa Hendershott, Ph.D. student in the UCSF Tetrad Graduate Program; and Ligia Padilla, DDS student in the UCSF School of Dentistry.
  • Alumni representative Susan Walczak, president of the UCSF Alumni Association.
  • UCSF Foundation representative William Oberndorf, chair of the UCSF Foundation Board of Directors.
  • Ex-officio committee members UC President Janet Napolitano, convener of the committee; and Bruce Varner, chair of the Board of Regents.

The committee's first meeting will be held Feb. 20 at UCSF, where committee members and invited guests will gather in closed session. The forum will include remarks by President Napolitano, followed by separate sessions with various campus constituency groups. The president and committee members also will participate in a luncheon with alumni, donors and community leaders.

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 President Napolitano for consideration and a recommended nominee submitted to the Board of Regents, tentatively by July 2014.

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

The search will be assisted by the executive search firm Isaacson, Miller.