UC Irvine Executive Vice Chancellor & Provost Michael R. Gottfredson, widely credited for the ongoing improvement of campuswide academic and research quality in a challenging fiscal environment, has accepted the presidency of the University of Oregon. He will assume his new position on Aug. 1.

“I’m happy for Mike as he pursues this next step in his career,” said Michael Drake, UCI chancellor. “He has been an exemplary provost. During his years of leadership at UC Irvine, the university has improved its already sterling academic reputation, built research centers considered the finest in their fields, and attracted the best and brightest students and faculty – despite onerous state budget cuts. I’m confident he will be an outstanding president. He’ll be terrific at Oregon. We’ll miss him, and we wish him the very best.”

Gottfredson added: “The decision to accept the University of Oregon presidency was difficult, but it is an opportunity I cannot overlook. As an alumnus, administrator and faculty member, my devotion to the University of California system runs deep. I’m honored to be part of the success of UC Irvine, which has established global prominence in a relatively short period of time. As much as I love California and Irvine, a role as university president is an exciting professional opportunity. I appreciate the support from Chancellor Drake and my colleagues during this process.”

In addition to his role as chief academic leader, Gottfredson was also responsible for strategic planning and budgeting, deftly managing $90 million in state funding cuts since 2007-08. His fiscal expertise allowed UC Irvine to entice some of the best faculty and researchers in the world, with 70 joining in 2011-12 and 80 more planned for 2012-13.

“The budget has forced us to change the way higher education is financed,” Gottfredson said, “but we never changed our commitment to quality.”

His 12-year tenure included a period of explosive campus growth. He oversaw construction of more than 40 UCI facilities, valued at more than $1.8 billion. This includes UC Irvine Douglas Hospital, several research and instructional buildings, additional student housing and the Student Center.

Under his administration, the campus also launched new schools in law and computer science (and, shortly, in education); programs in statistics, public policy, pharmaceutical sciences and nursing science; and popular majors in public health and business.

In addition, Gottfredson helped establish UCI’s “Focus on Excellence,” a strategic plan for academic development crafted with input from faculty, staff, students, community members and administrators. This ability to bring together different constituencies and build consensus around common goals has been key to his success.

Such qualities earned him the respect of the UCI faculty. “He values faculty input, but not to the point of paralysis,” said Craig Martens, professor of chemistry and chair of the Academic Senate. “He’s not afraid to lead.”

While Gottfredson is proud of his achievements, he refuses to take credit, instead deflecting praise to others. “It’s the qualities of the people who work here and the students who attend UCI that have made this university what it is today,” he said. “Our medical center is the best in Southern California. Our academic programs are world class, and our enrollment demand keeps growing. It’s uniform excellence across the entire campus.”

The much-celebrated Gottfredson received his most recent honor – the Extraordinarius award – at the 2012 Lauds & Laurels event last month. UCI Alumni Association bestows the commendation annually on an individual who has prominently contributed to the advancement of the university and its fundamental missions of teaching, research and public service.

“When I saw the criteria for the award, I couldn’t think of anyone more deserving, especially when you think about what he has done and the enormous responsibilities he’s had,” said C. Ronald Huff, a professor of criminology, law & society and sociology who submitted Gottfredson’s nomination. “We’ve had some challenging times, but people have always trusted him to be honest, transparent, open and fair.”

Gottfredson joined UCI as provost in 2000 after serving 15 years in academic and administrative roles at the University of Arizona. Throughout his UC Irvine tenure, he also served as a professor of criminology, law & society. His wife, Karol, who will join him in Oregon, is currently coordinator of UCI’s Intern Teacher Credential Program.

About the University of California, Irvine: Founded in 1965, UCI is a top-ranked university dedicated to research, scholarship and community service. Led by Chancellor Michael Drake since 2005, UCI is among the most dynamic campuses in the University of California system, with nearly 28,000 undergraduate and graduate students, 1,100 faculty and 9,000 staff. Orange County’s second-largest employer, UCI contributes an annual economic impact of $4 billion. For more UCI news, visit www.today.uci.edu.

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