Napolitano nominates next UC Berkeley Chancellor

Photo courtesy of Smith College.

UC President Janet Napolitano on Monday nominated UC Berkeley’s Interim Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Carol T. Christ to become Berkeley’s next chancellor. If Napolitano’s selection is approved by the UC Board of Regents at its meeting this Thursday, Christ, 72, will become the university’s first female chancellor, succeeding Chancellor Nicholas B. Dirks in July.

“I feel honored and privileged to lead the campus at this challenging time,” Christ said in a press release. “It is a small way to give back for everything the university has given me. My experience at Berkeley has been transformational; it formed my ideas of higher education, and it formed my ideals of higher education.”

Having served as an English professor and dean at UC Berkeley, Christ’s strong leadership skills and scholarly accomplishments were important factors in Napolitano’s decision.

“I am delighted that Carol Christ has agreed to lead Berkeley at this pivotal time in the campus’s storied history,” Napolitano said. “From among the many highly qualified candidates for the position, Carol’s exceptional leadership and strategic planning skills, her deep commitment to the university’s core values, her many academic and professional accomplishments, as well as her deep knowledge of, and affection for, UC Berkeley stood out.”

If approved by the regents, Christ will become UC Berkeley’s 11th chancellor.

Dirks, the current chancellor, announced his resignation in August, ending a three-year term of high-profile controversies regarding his handling of sexual violence complaints and an investigation involving misuse of public monies. In his resignation announcement, Dirks said he would step down as soon as a successor was in place.

UC Berkeley Vice Provost and leader of the faculty subcommittee tasked with finding the best candidate for chancellor, Tsu-Jae King Liu, complimented Christ, calling her a “renowned scholar and seasoned administrative leader.”

Christ’s background in the humanities stands in contrast to Chancellor Khosla’s and several other university chancellor’s STEM-heavy affiliations. Last month, the UC Board of Regents unanimously appointed Gary May, the dean of the College of Engineering at Georgia Tech, to the position of chancellor at UC Davis.

The Triton contacted Chancellor Khosla’s office for comment regarding the nomination of Christ, but was told that he is “in route to the Regents meeting and unable to offer a comment,” according to UC San Diego’s Executive Director of Strategic Marketing and Public Affairs Jeff Gattas.