University of California President Janet Napolitano made the following statement today (March 23) on Jack W. Peltason, the emeritus UC president and emeritus chancellor of UC Irvine who died March 21 at 91 after a lengthy battle with Parkinson’s disease:

“Few have contributed more than Jack Peltason to the University of California’s development and growth. He served the University of California as both a chancellor and a president, as a scholar and an administrator, and as one of the key architects of the original academic plan for UC Irvine.

“His vision and commitment to excellence in laying a strong academic foundation for the UC Irvine campus when it was created half a century ago, together with the strong community ties he forged, made it possible for the campus to become one of the world’s outstanding public research universities.

“His wise and skillful leadership of the UC system as its president during a period of tumult and fiscal challenges preserved it as the crown jewel of public higher education within California and beyond.

“In recognition of Jack Peltason’s outstanding, exemplary service over many years, it was my great honor last year to present this wonderful man with the President’s Medal, the University of California’s highest honor.

“Through his leadership of UC Irvine and the University of California, Jack Peltason made a difference in the lives of countless Californians in every part of the state.”