University of California President Janet Napolitano today (Sept. 18) sent the following letter to the UC community about her decision to step down as president:

Dear friends and colleagues,

I am writing to share that I have decided to step down as president of the University of California, effective Aug. 1, 2020.

UC President Janet Napolitano
UC President Janet Napolitano
Credit: Elena Zhukova/University of California

It has been a tremendous honor to lead this university, and I am particularly grateful for your partnership and dedication. Without a doubt, one of the most rewarding aspects of my job is working with smart, talented people who have devoted themselves to UC’s mission.

This month marks my 7th year at the helm of this great institution, and it comes at a time of change: We have new regents on our governing board, a new governor in Sacramento, and a presidential election on the horizon. We are also at a juncture where I have accomplished many of the goals I set for myself as president, and the university is on a strong path forward. That makes it a good time for a leadership transition.

UC’s next president will inherit an institution that serves more California students than at any time in its history — students who are both more accomplished and more diverse than ever before. I hope you take as much pride in that fact as I do. Together, we have expanded enrollment, stabilized tuition and charted a course that will allow UC to remain an affordable, accessible university of the highest caliber.

We have also come together to speak out for what’s right and to show the world our values.

Our fight to protect UC’s undocumented students has taken us all the way to the U.S. Supreme Court, and I know we will never waver in our support of these bright, young members of our community.

We have been just as passionate in defense of the planet. The entire UC system has come together like never before to seek scalable solutions to climate change as we strive to become the first large research university to achieve carbon neutrality.

More recently, we’ve gone toe-to-toe with the world’s largest academic publisher in a quest to ensure that publicly funded research be made freely available to all — so it can seed innovations that benefit everyone.

I’m humbled to have led such an amazing organization, and am pleased to share that I plan on remaining part of the UC community after I step down as president. After taking a break, I will begin teaching at UC Berkeley’s Goldman School of Public Policy where I am a tenured member of the faculty. I relish the idea of educating the next generation of public service leaders and am excited for this next chapter.

In the meantime, I look forward to working closely with Gov. Gavin Newsom, Board of Regents Chair John A. Pérez, other state and university leaders — and all of you — to ensure that UC is positioned to continue its forward course.

Thank you again for your partnership. They say that a university is only as good as its people, and with your talents and passion, the University of California is the best public research university system in the world. Fiat Lux! 

Sincerely,

Janet Napolitano
President