Longtime campus leader Darnell Hunt appointed interim chancellor of UCLA

University of California President Michael V. Drake, M.D., today named UCLA’s executive vice chair and provost, Darnell Hunt, as interim chancellor of UCLA following Chancellor Gene Block’s departure at the end of July 2024. A well-known and highly respected member of the UCLA community, Hunt will ensure a smooth leadership transition until chancellor-designate Dr. Julio Frenk arrives in January 2025.

The appointment was approved today (Wednesday, June 12) by the UC Board of Regents and effective August 1.

“Executive vice chancellor and provost Darnell Hunt’s unique combination as a forward-looking scholar with extensive administrative leadership experience at UCLA makes him the perfect person to serve in this capacity for the campus right now,” President Drake said. “We are deeply grateful to him for his willingness to take on this role to the great benefit of UCLA.”

During Hunt’s more than 22 years at UCLA, he has been a leading figure on campus, most recently serving as the executive vice chancellor and provost since 2022. He is the first person of color in UCLA’s history to hold his position, which oversees campus budget and operations, as well as academic affairs. In this role, Hunt led the development of UCLA’s 2023-28 Strategic Plan that will provide high-level direction for the university over the next five years. He also currently holds faculty appointments in UCLA’s sociology and African American studies departments.

“It is an honor to be entrusted with leading UCLA as we await the arrival of Chancellor-designate Frenk,” said EVCP Hunt. “UCLA is a remarkable and impactful institution with a passionate and talented community that I know is excited to help create this next chapter of our history under Dr. Frenk’s leadership.”

Since joining UCLA in 2001, Hunt has served as dean of social sciences in UCLA College from 2017 to 2022, chair of the sociology department from 2015-2017, and director of the Ralph J. Bunche Center for African American Studies from 2001 to 2017. Hunt began his career in academia as a sociology professor at the University of Southern California in 1994.

Hunt will take on the role of interim chancellor at a crucial time for UCLA and its efforts to advance inclusive excellence. As a scholar, Hunt’s research and teaching focus on issues related to race, media and culture. He has researched and published numerous books, articles and reports on access, representation and diversity in the entertainment industry. From 2014 to 2022, he was the lead author of UCLA’s influential Hollywood Diversity Report, conducting in-depth analyses of the employment of women and people of color in film and television. Hunt’s exceptional leadership and deep commitment to UCLA’s mission and values are evident through his involvement in numerous campus arts, civic engagement, and diversity task forces and committees.

“EVCP Hunt is an extraordinary leader who has seen UCLA from nearly every vantage point — that of a student, a faculty member, a department chair, a dean and a senior campus executive,” said Chancellor Block. “He will be an excellent steward for the university as we prepare to welcome Chancellor-designate Frenk in January.”

Hunt is a member of the American Sociological Association, the Association of Black Sociologists and the Council of Colleges of Arts and Sciences. He earned his Ph.D. and M.A. in sociology from UCLA, an M.B.A. from Georgetown University and an A.B. (bachelor’s degree) in journalism (public relations) from the University of Southern California. 

The board approved Hunt’s base salary during his tenure as interim chancellor at $699,516, which is the current chancellor’s compensation. UC chancellors are among the lowest-paid university leaders when compared with their Association of American Universities (AAU) peers.