Enrique Lavernia
Enrique Lavernia Karin Higgins / UC Davis

Irvine, Calif., April 22, 2015 – Enrique J. Lavernia, dean of the UC Davis College of Engineering and member of the National Academy of Engineering, has been appointed provost and executive vice chancellor of UC Irvine, effective July 1. He will report to Chancellor Howard Gillman.

In his new role, Lavernia will be UCI’s chief academic and operating officer, assuming primary responsibility for the university’s teaching and research enterprise, which includes 12 schools, nearly 3,000 faculty and 192 degree programs. He succeeds Michael Clark, who has served on an interim basis since September 2014, when former provost Gillman was appointed chancellor.

“Enrique Lavernia is an outstanding scholar and accomplished administrator,” Gillman said. “He has received the highest possible recognitions as a faculty member, and his record as a dean ¬– working in partnership with schools across the university – demonstrates an impressive ability to work with faculty, students and staff to promote excellence and make a real difference in the world. He will provide the leadership our campus needs to realize our highest ambitions. It is with great enthusiasm that I welcome him back to the Anteater family.”

Lavernia, 54, joined UCI in 1987 as an assistant professor of materials science and engineering in the Department of Mechanical Engineering. In 1998, he was appointed chair of the newly formed Department of Chemical Engineering & Materials Science and was named the unit’s Science Teacher of the Year. He was made a Chancellor’s Professor in 2002.

That same year, Lavernia accepted the deanship of UC Davis’ College of Engineering. During his tenure, it evolved into one of the nation’s fastest-growing and most prestigious engineering schools. Nine members of the faculty, including Lavernia, became members of the National Academies. Research expenditures doubled, 88 professors were hired and student enrollment increased by 22 percent, with significant increases in female and Hispanic undergraduates. Lavernia also served as UC Davis’ interim provost for two years as the campus transitioned to a new chancellor, resuming his position as engineering dean in 2011.

“UCI is a university on the rise, and I’m honored to play a role in its continued ascendency,” Lavernia said. “During my recent visits to campus, I was impressed with the dedication, drive and trailblazing ideas of the faculty, staff and students. Over the last decade, they’ve made UCI an international leader in higher education. Chancellor Gillman’s vision of a university devoted to continuous innovation, expansion and partnerships will elevate UCI to even greater heights, which inspired me to pursue this new chapter. This is a happy homecoming for me, and returning during the 50th anniversary makes the move even more exciting.”

Lavernia earned a bachelor’s degree in solid mechanics at Brown University and a master’s degree in metallurgy and a Ph.D. in materials engineering at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He is an author on more than 500 journal articles, has presented over 200 conference papers and has written one book. His research focuses on the synthesis and mechanical behavior of nanostructured metals and composites, with an emphasis on the influence of multiple length (from micron to nano) scales on novel phenomena.

A search committee of faculty, students, staff and community members reviewed nearly 200 candidates. Frank LaFerla, chairman of the panel and dean of UCI’s Francisco J. Ayala School of Biological Sciences, said that Lavernia has a unique combination of “prestigious academic and research accomplishments, professional recognition, and a firsthand understanding of the faculty experience and operations of the University of California.”

About the University of California, Irvine: Currently celebrating its 50th anniversary, UCI is the youngest member of the prestigious Association of American Universities. The campus has produced three Nobel laureates and is known for its academic achievement, premier research, innovation and anteater mascot. Led by Chancellor Howard Gillman, UCI has more than 30,000 students and offers 192 degree programs. It’s located in one of the world’s safest and most economically vibrant communities and is Orange County’s second-largest employer, contributing $4.8 billion annually to the local economy. For more on UCI, visit www.uci.edu.

Media access: Radio programs/stations may, for a fee, use an on-campus ISDN line to interview UC Irvine faculty and experts, subject to availability and university approval. For more UC Irvine news, visit wp.communications.uci.edu. Additional resources for journalists may be found at communications.uci.edu/for-journalists.