"The search for a new leader for UC was extensive, with more than 300 potential nominees reviewed," said UC Regent Sherry Lansing, who chaired the Special Committee to Consider the Selection of a President Secretary. "Napolitano rose to the top and received a unanimous vote of recommendation from the Special Committee."
If approved by the full Board of Regents next week, Napolitano would be the UC's 20th president and the first woman in the its 145-year history to serve in the position. Her salary has not been disclosed.
“I recognize that I am a non-traditional candidate,” Napolitano said. “In my experience, whether preparing to govern a state or to lead an agency as critical and complex as Homeland Security, I have found the best way to start is simply to listen."
Napolitano would replace current president Mark Yudof, who announced earlier this year he'll retire in August after five years leading the 10-campus system.
Lieutenant Governor Gavin Newsom says he’s pleased with the selection of Napolitano. He said UC needs a new leader from outside the system.
Newsom sits on the UC Board of Regents and says drastic budget cuts and skyrocketing tuition show the current model for higher education is no longer sustainable.
“These are self-evident proof points that we need to do something radically differently" he said. "And, I think, having an outside with this kind of resume and skill-set is the right choice.”
Newsom said Napolitano's contacts in the political, corporate and philanthropic worlds will benefit the UC.
President Barack Obama, Governor Jerry Brown and numerous other politicians and colleagues have voiced their support for the choice.