A national search will commence for the next visionary to lead the University of California, Merced, following Chancellor Dorothy Leland's announcement today (May 16) that she will retire from the system’s youngest campus at the end of the current academic year.

“This is bittersweet news for UC Merced, the larger UC community, and me personally,” said UC President Janet Napolitano. “Under Chancellor Leland’s strong, forward-thinking leadership, UC Merced triumphed above major growing pains and economic challenges, achieving impressive levels of academic and research distinctions. She has well positioned the dynamic campus for even greater growth and success in the future.” 

In 2011, the UC Board of Regents named Leland the third chancellor of the then six-year-old campus. Her sound, strategic management helped UC Merced navigate beyond the serious budgetary and academic challenges of the economic recession into an era of stability, expansion, and optimism.

“These have been the most gratifying eight years of my long career. The decision to step down is not easy, but the moment is right — for the campus and for me,” Leland said.

UC Merced continues to rise in rankings, after breaking into the U.S. News and World Report’s ‘Best Colleges’ list in its eleventh year. The campus educates the highest percentage of first-generation and low-income students in the UC system — and will accommodate 10,000 more students after the completion of Merced 2020, a project comprised of innovative public-private partnerships that will enable the campus to double in size.

UC leadership has decided that appointing an interim chancellor would best ensure stability for UC Merced during this pivotal time, given the constraints and difficulties of completing a national chancellor search before the start of the 2019-20 academic year, coupled with the importance of finding an ideal leader for the campus.

Napolitano and Leland agreed that the best candidate for this temporary position is UC’s current systemwide Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Nathan Brostrom. As the Merced 2020 cosponsor alongside Chancellor Leland, Brostrom has been directly involved in the planning of the campus’s expansion as well as its budget and operations.

Brostrom currently oversees all aspects of systemwide financial management for the university, including asset management, the operating budget, capital finance and planning, and procurement. In addition to teaching a higher education seminar at UC Berkeley, Brostrom serves on the boards for the Thirty Meter Telescope, Fiat Lux and Futures Without Violence — an international organization that works to reduce domestic abuse and violence against women and children. Brostrom joined UC in 2006 as vice chancellor for administration at the UC Berkeley campus, and holds degrees from Stanford and Princeton universities.

“I look forward to working with faculty, staff and students in the coming months, advancing our shared commitment to growing the campus and pushing UC Merced to even greater heights,” said Brostrom.

The UC Office of the President has tapped UCSF’s Paul Jenny to serve as the interim systemwide chief financial offer while Brostrom supports UC Merced. Jenny also will continue his full duties as UCSF’s senior vice chancellor of finance and administration, managing a large, complex portfolio that includes resource management, budget, information technology, human resources, and capital projects. Prior to his appointment at the campus, Jenny served for eight years as senior vice president of planning and management at the University of Washington. He worked at UC Berkeley from 2004 to 2008, overseeing budget and resource planning.

To help with the search for UC Merced’s permanent chancellor, the Office of the President will form an advisory committee comprised of faculty, staff, students, alumni and foundation representatives. The search committee will help recruit, screen and conduct candidate interviews, assisting in identifying finalists who will be considered by Napolitano. The recommendation for a final candidate will be submitted to the Board of Regents for approval by May 2020, so that UC Merced’s new chancellor will be in place before the 2020-21 academic year.