UC President Janet Napolitano selected accomplishments

On Sept. 30, 2013, Janet Napolitano became the 20th president of the University of California, and the first woman to lead the $36.5 billion enterprise. Some of her major accomplishments include:

Enrollment and access

  • Enrolled more than 17,500 additional California students above planned enrollment since 2015, including large numbers of first-generation and transfer students.
  • Created the Transfer Pathways program, which simplifies the transfer process for California Community College students in 21 of UC’s most popular majors.
  • Expanded Achieve UC, an outreach program that helps California high school students from all backgrounds prepare for admission to the university.
  • Facilitated UC Merced 2020, a project to double the physical capacity of the campus and allow it to serve 10,000 students.


  • As UC’s chief advocate, Napolitano successfully secured state reinvestment in the university, enabling it to stabilize tuition. As a result, UC has implemented only one in-state tuition increase during her tenure, totaling approximately $330.
  • Napolitano also lobbied state and federal lawmakers to expand student financial aid to include summer Cal Grants and year-round Pell Grants. Under UC’s strong financial aid program, 57 percent of in-state undergraduates have all tuition and fees covered by financial aid.

Student success

  • Launched a UC-wide effort to help first-generation college students thrive by connecting them with first-gen faculty mentors. 41 percent of UC undergrads are the first in their families to attend college.
  • Expanded UC’s partnership with the nation’s Historically Black Colleges and Universities as part of efforts to diversify graduate and faculty ranks. UC has now enrolled 60 Ph.D. fellows at seven campuses.
  • Created two public service fellowships, one that helps UC law students pursue careers in public interest law and another that helps undergraduate students participate in Sacramento and Washington D.C. internships.

Undocumented students

Student housing and basic needs

  • Established a housing initiative in 2016 that will add 15,000 more student beds by 2020.
  • Napolitano also provided campus funding to allow the creation of food pantries, increased CalFresh enrollments and financial literacy training.

Climate change

  • Pledged that UC will become operationally carbon neutral by 2025.
  • Committed UC to using 100 percent renewable or carbon-free sources of electricity by 2025.
  • Spearheaded the formation of the University Climate Change Coalition, or UC3, a group of North American research universities that help local communities transition to a low-carbon future.
  • Napolitano was named the Green Power Leader of the Year in 2018, and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency honored the university with a Green Power Leadership Award.

Free speech

Fair wage, fair work

Sexual harassment, sexual violence

  • Revamped UC’s response to sexual violence and sexual harassment allegations and established a systemwide program that has become a nationwide model.
  • Created UC’s first systemwide Title IX office.

Open access publishing

Research and innovation

  • Launched the UC Cancer Consortium, which harnesses the strengths of all five UC medical centers to conduct more than 1,000 clinical trials per year and accelerate federal approval for promising cancer therapies.
  • Created the President’s Research Catalyst Awards to foster multicampus, interdisciplinary research in areas of strategic importance to California and the world, including climate change, drought, wildfire, cultural preservation, teacher training and more.
  • Fostered UC’s growth as a powerhouse of research and innovation. UC is the single largest recipient of funding from the National Institutes of Health and the National Science Foundation, and UC’s research enterprise produces an average of five new discoveries per day.

Multiyear framework for 2030

  • Created, with input from the Board of Regents and UC chancellors, a plan that will allow UC to produce 200,000 more degrees by 2030; shorten the average time-to-degree; close achievement gaps for low-income, first-gen and underrepresented minority students; strengthen UC faculty; and expand UC’s research and economic impact across the state.