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Atkinson Presidency

Brief History of the Atkinson Presidency
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Entrepreneurial President: Richard Atkinson and the University of California, 1995-2003

A Brief History of the Atkinson Presidency (1995-2003)

By Patricia A. Pelfrey

Richard C. Atkinson led the University of California into the post-affirmative action era and American education into a new chapter in the history of standardized testing as seventeenth president of the nation’s leading multicampus system. His eight-year tenure was marked by innovative approaches to admissions and outreach, research initiatives to accelerate the University’s contributions to the state’s economy, and a challenge to the country’s most widely used admissions examination–the SAT I–that paved the way to major change in how millions of young Americans will be tested for college admission.

As the University heads into a new and difficult budgetary climate, the Atkinson years will be remembered as a time of great growth and prosperity, a period in which UC’s State-funded budget rose to new highs and federal research funding and private giving regularly set new records. The University named the founding chancellor for UC Merced, its first new campus in 30 years and the first American research university of the twenty-first century. It established several new professional schools and initiated growth in its graduate programs with a plan for the addition of 11,000 graduate students over the next decade. Eight of the University’s ten current chancellors were appointed during Atkinson’s presidency.

UC expanded its national presence with a new center in Washington, D.C. and its international reach with centers in London and Mexico City. The California Digital Library, a pioneering effort to make the University’s vast collections more accessible to scholars and the public and to encourage new forms of scholarly communication, reflected the University’s leadership in the evolving world of digital telecommunications.

Atkinson’s highest priority was maintaining the distinction of UC’s 7,000-member faculty. The academic excellence of the University and its faculty was recognized in several national studies of academic program quality, one of which noted “the extraordinary research performance of the entire University of California system” among American universities, public and private. UC’s membership in the prestigious Association of American Universities–six of its nine general campuses–exceeds that of any other multicampus system. Eleven UC faculty members were awarded Nobel Prizes during Atkinson’s tenure, more than under any other UC president.

As chancellor of UC San Diego from 1980 to 1995–during which the young campus rose to rank tenth among American research universities–Atkinson combined driving energy and a gift for persuasion with an unswerving pursuit of his goals. As president of the UC System, he attacked the University’s greatest opportunities and most intractable problems with the same persistent vigor.

Atkinson faced his share of crises and controversies, among them an early and public disagreement with some members of the Board of Regents over the implementation date of SP-1, the ban on racial preferences in UC admissions. UCSF Stanford Healthcare, the merger of the clinical enterprises of UC San Francisco and Stanford University, was an historic but ultimately unsuccessful attempt to address the competitive pressures of the health-care marketplace. Dealing with the fallout of California’s sudden transition from prosperity to recession has confronted the University with painful choices. And UC’s administration of the U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) laboratory at Los Alamos has come under fire in recent years, resulting in a decision by DOE to put the laboratory’s management contract up for competition when it expires in 2005.

But the issues that dominated the Atkinson administration were the issues shaping California: the state’s emergence as the world’s leading knowledge-based economy and the rapidly growing size and diversity of its population, which brought the first of the largest student generation since the 1960s to the University’s door. Atkinson’s administrative and intellectual leadership of the University reflected a deliberate effort to define UC’s role in this changing California.

SP-1 and UC outreach

His earliest and greatest challenge was in the contentious arena of UC admissions. He was named president in August 1995, just weeks after the Board of Regents voted to approve SP-1, which abolished the use of race and ethnicity as factors in admission and put UC in the national spotlight as the first major American university to end affirmative action in the admission of students. The ban on racial preferences was extended to all public entities in California sixteen months later with the passage of Proposition 209.

For UC’s president and chancellors, SP-1 and Proposition 209 were an exacting test of leadership in reversing three decades of race-attentive policies while also ensuring that UC, as a public university in the nation’s most diverse state, continued to be seen as a welcoming place for minority students.

Under Atkinson’s leadership, the University dramatically expanded its partnerships with the K-12 schools to raise academic achievement throughout California, especially in those districts with high proportions of academically disadvantaged students. In 2001, the school/university partnerships served more than 97,000 students in 256 schools annually, representing a level of institutional involvement unprecedented in American higher education. At Governor Gray Davis's request and as part of his school reform initiative, the University established the Principal Leadership Institute, the California Professional Development Institutes, and a series of other initiatives to improve the preparation of California's teachers and K-12 administrators.

Eight years after the passage of SP-1, UC is admitting more underrepresented students–Latinos, African Americans, and Native Americans–than it was in 1997, the year before SP-1 took effect. In fall 1997, underrepresented minorities made up 18.8 percent of UC’s systemwide freshman class; in fall 2003, the figure is 19.8 percent.

With Atkinson’s support, The Regents voted to rescind SP-1 in May 2001. The Board’s resolution affirmed the University’s intent to continue complying with Proposition 209's ban on racial preferences and reaffirmed UC’s commitment to enrolling a student body that reflects both exceptional achievement and “the broad diversity of backgrounds characteristic of California.”

Research for a dynamic economy

Atkinson came to the UC presidency convinced that twenty-first century science requires new forms of organization and funding. In particular, his goal was to tap the enormous potential within the University for research that serves the needs of California’s economy. One of his first acts as president was to establish the Industry-University Cooperative Research Program (IUCRP) to promote research partnerships with industry in disciplines critical to the state’s economic competitiveness. The IUCRP is now a $250 million enterprise that supports more than 500 projects, jointly supported by State, UC, and industry funds, in areas ranging from biotechnology to digital media. The program is unusual in its emphasis on early-stage investigations that promise to yield new products and technologies and boost the state’s economic productivity.

To address a looming crisis in the state’s supply of engineers and computer scientists, in 1997 Atkinson committed the University to increasing enrollments in those fields 50 percent by 2005-6. UC exceeded this goal in 2002, four years ahead of schedule, and expects engineering and computer science enrollments to reach 27,000 in 2003-2004–up from 16,000 in 1997-98. The initiative represents the first real growth in the state’s engineering programs since the 1968 Terman Report brought expansion of engineering education in California to a virtual halt.

Governor Davis, also a believer in the dynamic role of innovative research in ensuring California’s economic leadership, has been an enthusiastic supporter of the University’s efforts. In 2000, he asked UC to establish four California Institutes for Science and Innovation (CISIs) on its campuses. The institutes bring together industry and university researchers to concentrate on scientific challenges that are ripe for application in the fields of nanotechnology, telecommunications and information technology, biotechnology and quantitative medicine, and information technology. The CISIs constitute one of the most far-reaching efforts in the nation to create new basic research and education programs and then to link them with the state’s entrepreneurial industries through intensive partnerships. They are unique among industry-university initiatives in their aim to create the economy of the future.

Tidal Wave II and UC admissions policy

Another challenge of the Atkinson era was preparing the University for a new generation of students–Tidal Wave II, the children of the Baby Boomers. Accommodating its share of Tidal Wave II meant finding a place on UC campuses for 63,000 additional students–an enrollment increase of 40 percent--and recruiting 7,000 new faculty between 1998 and 2010. Atkinson initiated a comprehensive planning effort to help the University grow quickly without endangering its quality.

The Atkinson presidency was notable for its intense focus on the issue of educational opportunity, a matter of increasing public and legislative scrutiny because of SP-1 and growing competition for admission to UC. Atkinson played an active role in reshaping UC’s admissions policies and practices to make them, in his words, “demonstrably inclusive and fair.” On his recommendation, the University’s Academic Senate and The Regents approved two new paths to admission–Eligibility in the Local Context and the Dual Admissions program. Both programs cast a wider net for talent by supplementing traditional grades and test scores with broader measures of student achievement, among them what students have made of their opportunities to learn. In addition,undergraduate applicants now receive the kind of comprehensive review of their qualifications usually associated with selective private universities.

Achievement versus aptitude

Atkinson has earned a place in the annals of standardized testing for his challenge to higher education’s decades-long reliance on aptitude tests to predict students’ readiness for college. He made national headlines in February 2001 when he told the American Council on Education that he had asked the Academic Senate of the University of California to drop the SAT I examination requirement in favor of tests that assess what students actually learn in school rather than “ill-defined notions of aptitude.” The announcement that the country’s largest user of the SAT was considering eliminating it sent shock waves through American higher education, and Atkinson’s case for achievement tests–that they are more reliable predictors of future success, fairer to students, and better guides for schools– unleashed a lively national debate on standardized testing.

In June 2002 the College Board, sponsor of the SAT, announced that beginning in 2005 it would add a written essay and more rigorous mathematics section to the 76-year-old test. Atkinson welcomed the decision and praised the College Board for having “laid the foundation for a new test that will better serve our students and schools.”

The Atkinson years

The University’s seventeenth president will be remembered for his absolute commitment to faculty quality, his skill in balancing UC’s competing pressures and responsibilities, and his resourcefulness in using the opportunities prosperity offered to urge the University in new directions. “The role of knowledge in transforming virtually every aspect of our world has moved research universities to center stage of American life,” he once said, a conviction that has animated the leadership he brought to the University as chancellor and as president. His place in the history of the University of California and of American higher education is secure.

Patricia A. Pelfrey is a visiting research associate at the Center for Studies in Higher Education at the University of California’s Berkeley campus.

Presidential Timeline

Aug. 1995 Richard C. Atkinson appointed seventeenth president of the University of California, effective October 1, 1995
Oct. 1995 National Research Council releases "Research-Doctorate Programs in the United States," a comprehensive study of the quality of Ph.D. programs in American universities. UC as a system did remarkably well, with more than half of its 229 graduate programs ranked in the top 20 in the nation. When averages were computed for individual universities, Berkeley ranked first in the nation, San Diego tenth, and Los Angeles twelfth; the other nine institutions in the top twelve were all private universities.
Oct. 1995 Three UC faculty awarded the Nobel Prize: Frederick Reines (Physics, Irvine), F. Sherwood Rowland (Chemistry, Irvine), Paul Crutzen (Chemistry, San Diego).
Oct. 1995 Inauguration of Henry Yang as fifth chancellor of UC Santa Barbara.
Dec. 1995 William H. Gurtner appointed Vice President, Clinical Services Development.
Jan. 1996 Industry-University Cooperative Research Program established.
Mar. 1996 C. Judson King appointed Provost and Senior Vice President, Academic Affairs.
Mar. 1996 Regents authorize construction of headquarters in Oakland for the Office of the President.
Apr. 1996 M.R.C. Greenwood appointed sixth chancellor of UC Santa Cruz.
Apr. 1996 Robert C. Dynes appointed sixth chancellor of UC San Diego.
June 1996 UC and the Los Alamos National Laboratory establish an office in Northern New Mexico to strengthen relationships with regional communities.
Aug. 1996 President Atkinson announces a new methodology for allocating State funds to the campuses. Among the changes are: most allocations to the campuses to be made as a single block of funds; indirect cost reimbursements to be returned to the campuses on the basis of how the dollars are generated; campuses to assume greater flexibility and responsibility for how funds are spent.
Aug. 1996 Commission on the Future of Medical Education appointed (Charles Wilson, M.D., chair).
Sept. 1996 Robert N. Shelton appointed Vice Provost for Research.
Oct. 1996 Bruce B. Darling appointed Vice President, University and External Relations.
Oct. 1996 Davis and Irvine campuses invited to join the Association of American Universities, bringing UC's membership to six campuses; the only university system in the nation with more than one AAU member.
Jan. 1997 President Atkinson establishes the UC Flood and Emergency Resource Task Force to assist the state in dealing with natural disasters.
Jan. 1997 President's Retreat on UC's Relationship with Industry in Research and Technology Transfer held at UCLA.
Jan. 1997 Carol Tomlinson-Keasey appointed vice provost for academic initiatives.
Feb. 1997 First Presidential Medal awarded to UC Berkeley Chancellor Chang-Lin Tien.
Mar. 1997 Robert M. Berdahl appointed eighth chancellor of UC Berkeley.
Mar. 1997 Albert Carnesale appointed fifth chancellor of UCLA.
Mar. 1997 All-University Conference on Teaching and Learning Technologies held at UCLA.
Mar. 1997 New York Times refers to the emergence of UC San Diego as a major research university, which had a great impact on the economy of the San Diego region, as the "Atkinson Miracle."
Apr. 1997 Haile T. Debas appointed seventh chancellor of UC San Francisco for 1997-98.
Apr. 1997 Presidential Medal awarded to UC benefactor Peter E. Haas, Sr.
Apr. 1997 President Atkinson establishes the Board on Research and Economic Development, a group of distinguished representatives from the private sector, to advise on future directions of the Industry- University Cooperative Research Program.
May 1997 Regents approve Mission Bay site for major expansion of UC San Francisco.
May 1997 UC joins with Caltech, the California State University, the California Institute of Technology, Stanford University, and the University of Southern California in establishing the Consortium for Education Network Initiatives in California (CENIC) to design and deploy CalREN-2, an advanced electronic superhighway that will link California's universities to the national high-speed network.
May 1997 UC and its affiliated national laboratories produce more research leading to patented inventions than any other public or private research university or laboratory in the nation, according to a study by the National Science Foundation.
May 1997 Presidential Medal awarded to UC San Francisco Chancellor Joseph B. Martin, M.D.
May 1997 Presidential Medal awarded to UCLA Chancellor Charles E. Young.
June 1997 Hugh Graham presentation to The Regents on his study (with Nancy Diamond), The Rise of American Research Universities, which found that the UC system leads the nation in research excellence and productivity among public universities.
July 1997 Regents approve Outreach Task Force Report.
July 1997 UC and Mexico's National Council on Science and Technology (CONACYT) enter into the most comprehensive research and education collaboration ever established between a U.S. university and Mexico.
Sept. 1997 Presidential Medal awarded to Los Alamos Laboratory Director Siegfried Hecker.
Sept. 1997 Judith Boyette appointed Associate Vice President-Benefits and Human Resources; reorganization of the merged benefits and human resources departments begins.
Sept. 1997 Regents approve five-year extension of UC's contracts to manage the Department of Energy Laboratories at Los Alamos, Livermore, and Berkeley.
Sept. 1997 Regents approve creation of UCSF Stanford Health Care, a merger of the clinical enterprises of UC San Francisco and Stanford University, to sustain the competitiveness of both in the changing health-care marketplace.
Oct. 1997 Two UC faculty awarded the Nobel Prize: Paul D. Boyer (Chemistry, UCLA), Stanley Prusiner (Physiology or Medicine, UCSF)
Oct. 1997 Report on UC academic planning, "Preparing for the Twenty-first Century."
Oct. 1997 John C. Browne appointed director of the Los Alamos National Laboratory.
Oct. 1997 UC Digital Library established and Richard Lucier named as University Librarian.
Nov. 1997 Pathways, UC's online undergraduate admission information and application network, begins accepting applications.
Nov. 1997 Faculty committee releases academic planning recommendations for UC's tenth campus.
Nov. 1997 Regents approve health benefits for domestic partners of UC faculty and staff.
Nov. 1997 Regents approve 1616 Rhode Island Avenue, NW, Washington, D.C., as the site for the UC Washington, D.C. Center. The UC Center will provide space for academic program and research activities and the Office of Federal Governmental Relations, as well as housing for 280 students.
Dec. 1997 President Atkinson approves naming of 10th campus "UC Merced."
Dec. 1997 UC Santa Barbara's school of environmental studies is renamed the Donald Bren School of Environmental Science and Management in recognition of a major gift from the Bren Foundation. The Bren gift supports establishment of the University's first intercampus program of environmental study integrating natural and social sciences, business and law curricula.
Jan. 1998 Outreach Action Plan announced at Regents' meeting.
Jan. 1998 Chancellor Emeritus Pister appointed Senior Associate to the President to coordinate UC's systemwide response to the recommendations of the Outreach Task Force Report.
Jan. 1998 For the third consecutive year, UC raises a record amount in contributions from alumni and friends, receiving $726.3 million in 1996-97.
Jan. 1998 Ralph J. Cicerone appointed fourth chancellor of UC Irvine.
Jan. 1998 UC announces applications from nearly 59,000 high school seniors for admission in fall 1998, an 8 percent increase from the previous year and the largest one-year jump in 10 years.
Feb. 1998 President Atkinson announces title changes for Anne C. Broome (Vice President, Financial Management) and Larry Hershman (Vice President, Budget).
Mar. 1998 President Atkinson appoints the President's Commission on Agriculture and Natural Resources, a group of agricultural, business, consumer, and governmental leaders charged with advising UC on issues related to agriculture and natural resources.
Mar. 1998 Organizational plan for the newly merged UCOP Human Resources and Benefits Department announced.
Apr. 1998 J. Michael Bishop appointed eighth chancellor of UC San Francisco.
Apr. 1998 Carol Tomlinson-Keasey, Vice Provost for Academic Initiatives, given additional appointment as Senior Associate to the President for UC Merced.
Apr. 1998 Presidential Medal awarded to President Emeritus Clark Kerr.
May 1998 Presidential Medal awarded to George Deukmejian, former governor of California.
May 1998 A. Scott Sudduth appointed Assistant Vice President--Federal Governmental Relations.
May 1998 President Atkinson announces the UC Engineering Initiative, a plan to help keep California's technology-based economy competitive by a 50 percent increase in the number of engineering and computer science students at UC 2005.
May 1998 Office of the President relocates to 1111 Franklin Street, Oakland, California.
June 1998 Presidential Medal awarded to Irvine Chancellor Laurel L. Wilkening.
July 1998 President Atkinson announces the Master of Advanced Study, a new systemwide degree program offering advanced professional education and advanced liberal studies for working adults.
Oct. 1998 Two UC faculty and one UC researcher awarded the Nobel Prize: Louis J. Ignarro, (Physiology or Medicine, UCLA), Walter Kohn (Chemistry, UCSB), Robert B. Laughlin (Physics, Livermore).
Nov. 1998 Governor-elect Gray Davis appoints President Atkinson to his Education Transition Group.
Nov. 1998 President Atkinson announces search for founding chancellor of UC Merced.
Jan. 1999 Governor Davis appoints President Atkinson as a member of the Governor's delegation to visit Mexico to strengthen relationships in commerce and education.
Feb. 1999 Presidential Medal awarded to Willie Lewis Brown, Jr., Mayor of San Francisco.
Mar. 1999 Governor Davis appoints President Atkinson to the Commission on Building for the 21st Century, charged with developing a comprehensive plan for meeting California's infrastructure needs.
Mar. 1999 Regents approve Eligibility in the Local Context, which grants UC freshman eligibility to students in the top 4 percent of all California high schools.
Mar. 1999 President Atkinson establishes the California Studies Fellowship program at the universitywide Humanities Research Institute to support research and scholarship on the history and culture of California.
Mar. 1999 California House, jointly sponsored by UC and the California Trade and Commerce Agency, established in London to stimulate academic and commercial exchange between the United Kingdom and California.
Apr. 1999 Presidential Medal awarded to former UC San Francisco Chancellor Haile T. Debas.
May 1999 The Koret Foundation awards President Atkinson and Stanford University President Gerhard Casper the Koret Prize for preeminent contributions to American education.
May 1999 Presidential Medal awarded to the President of Mexico, Ernesto Zedillo Ponce de León.
May 1999 President Atkinson establishes the University of California Commission on the Humanities to examine the challenges the humanities and humanities scholars face in higher education and recommend ways to address them.
July 1999 Carol Tomlinson-Keasey appointed founding chancellor of UC Merced.
Oct. 1999 UC Medical Student Diversity Task Force appointed to examine short and longer-term trends in the admission and enrollment of underrepresented minority students at UC medical schools.
Oct. 1999 President Atkinson announces creation of the position Vice President-Educational Outreach to strengthen oversight of UC's growing outreach and K-12 programs and appoints Karl S. Pister to the post.
Oct. 1999 Pierce's Disease Task Force established to mobilize the University's scientific and technical expertise to help combat Pierce's disease, a threat to the state's wine and grape industries.
Oct. 1999 Advisory Group on Low-Level Radioactive Waste Disposal appointed, with President Atkinson as chair, to advise the State on options for handling low-level wastes.
Oct. 1999 Stanford University President Gerhard Casper announces that Stanford will withdraw from UCSF Stanford Health Care.
Nov. 1999 Regents authorize President Atkinson to take the necessary steps to dissolve UCSF Stanford Health Care.
Dec. 1999 President Atkinson establishes in the Office of the President the Center for Teaching and Learning Technologies to coordinate both campus and universitywide efforts to develop various digital approaches to education, including e-learning.
Jan. 2000 Los Alamos National Laboratory scientist Wen Ho Lee arrested for allegedly mishandling nuclear weapons secrets.
Feb. 2000 President Atkinson designates Veterans Day (November 11) as an official University of California holiday.
Mar. 2000 Presidential Medal awarded to Sidney Drell, former chair of the University of California President's Council on the National Laboratories and professor of physics at Stanford University.
Mar. 2000 Michael Drake appointed Vice President-Health Affairs.
Mar. 2000 Alex Saragoza appointed Vice President-Educational Outreach.
Mar. 2000 Joseph Mullinix appointed Senior Vice President-Business and Finance.
May 2000 Cerro Grande fire near Los Alamos National Laboratory destroys over 200 residential dwellings and requires closing of the Laboratory from May 8 - May 22.
May 2000 Two hard drives containing classified information about disarming nuclear weapons discovered missing at the Los Alamos National Laboratory.
May 2000 Regents approve change in title for Bruce B. Darling to Senior Vice President-University and External Relations.
May 2000 Julius Zelmanowitz appointed Vice Provost for Academic Initiatives.
May 2000 Governor Davis and UC confirm a Partnership Agreement to provide the University with a four percent annual increase in State general funds, plus support for enrollment growth and other key areas.
June 2000 Missing hard drives found at Los Alamos National Laboratory.
June 2000 Presidential Citation of Excellence awarded to Director of Personnel Edna Coleman-Smith.
June 2000 UC receives an 18 percent operating budget increase in the 2000-01 State budget approved by Governor Davis. Capital budget includes $75 million to create three California Institutes for Science and Innovation, which will focus on scientific and engineering research and teaching in fields key to the future of the California economy.
July 2000 UC Institute for Labor and Employment established.
July 2000 Six finalists for California Institutes for Science and Technology announced:
  • Systems Biology (UC Irvine)
  • Agricultural Genomics (UC Riverside, UC Berkeley, and UC Davis)
  • Communications and Information Technology (UC San Diego and UC Irvine)
  • Nanosystems (UC Los Angeles and UC Santa Barbara)
  • Information Technology in the Interest of Society (UC Berkeley, UC Santa Cruz, UC Davis, and UC Merced)
  • Bioengineering, Biotechnology, and Quantitative Biomedicine (UC San Francisco, UC Berkeley, and UC Santa Cruz)
Sept. 2000 Regents approve mandatory student health insurance for undergraduates, making UC the first multicampus university system to adopt a policy of mandatory student health insurance.
Sept. 2000 President Atkinson requests the Academic Senate to review a "dual admissions" proposal that would supplement current admissions procedures.
Sept. 2000 Presidential Medal awarded to Chancellor Emeritus Karl S. Pister.
Sept. 2000 President Atkinson receives the National Leadership Award from the U. S. Small Business Administration for his role, as chancellor of UC San Diego, in forging industry-university- government partnerships that contributed to the economic revitalization of the San Diego region.
Oct. 2000 Three UC faculty awarded the Nobel Prize: Professor Alan J. Heeger (Chemistry, Santa Barbara); Professor Herbert Kroemer (Physics, Santa Barbara); and Professor Daniel L. McFadden (Economics, Berkeley).
Oct. 2000 Presidential Medal awarded to UC benefactor and Broadcom Corporation founder Henry Samueli.
Dec. 2000 Governor Davis and President Atkinson announce creation of four California Institutes for Science and Innovation at Los Angeles (nanotechnology), San Diego (telecommunications and information technology), San Francisco (bioengineering, biotechnology, and quantitative medicine), and Berkeley (information technology).
Dec. 2000 Chair Sue Johnson and President Atkinson appoint the Commission on the Growth and Support of Graduate Education to help UC meet its goal of adding at least 11,000 graduate students over the next decade.
Jan. 2001 President Atkinson announces a series of steps UC will take to move towards greater energy independence in response to California's energy crisis.
Jan. 2001 Regents approve extension to 2005 of UC's contracts with the Department of Energy to manage the Los Alamos and Livermore National Laboratories.
Feb. 2001 In the Robert H. Atwell Distinguished Lecture at the annual meeting of the American Council on Education, President Atkinson announces two proposals he has asked the Academic Senate of the University of California to consider: 1) that the University eliminate aptitude tests as a requirement for admission and replace them with appropriate achievement tests and 2) that the University move away from its tiered system of admissions and toward procedures that look at applicants in a more comprehensive way.
Mar. 2001 Governor Davis, Mexico President Vicente Fox, and President Atkinson inaugurate the high-speed Internet2 link between California and Mexico.
Apr. 2001 David Russ appointed Treasurer of The Regents and Vice President-- Investments.
Apr. 2001 Alex Saragoza resigns as Vice President--Educational Outreach. Manuel Gómez appointed interim vice president.
May 2001 John McTague appointed Vice President--Laboratory Management.
May 2001 Regents unanimously approve RE-28, which rescinds SP-1 and SP-2 and reaffirms the University's commitment to a diverse student body and to shared governance in determining admissions criteria.
July 2001 In a keynote address at the annual meeting of the Council for Advancement and Support of Education in San Francisco, President Atkinson discusses his proposals for change in UC's admissions policies: Eligibility in the Local Context; Dual Admissions; comprehensive review of applicants; and replacement of the SAT I with standardized tests tied to the high school curriculum.
July 2001 Regents approve Dual Admissions Program.
Aug. 2001 Lawrence Coleman appointed Vice Provost for Research.
Oct. 2001 Nobel Prize awarded to Professor George Akerlof (Economics, Berkeley).
Oct. 2001 In response to the Governor's executive order following the September 11th terrorist attacks, the University provides Governor Davis with an inventory of UC research and expertise related to terrorism that could be useful to the state in combating terrorist threats.
Oct. 2001 Vice President--Health Affairs Michael Drake appointed to the State Strategic Committee on Terrorism's subcommittee on strategies to protect public health.
Oct. 2001 Governor Davis asks all State-funded programs to consider options for cuts of up to 15 percent in light of the state's economic downturn.
Nov. 2001 Presidential Medal awarded to former chancellor and laboratory director Herbert F. York
Nov. 2001 Regents approve admissions policy instituting comprehensive review of UC undergraduate applicants.
Nov. 2001 UC and the California State University agree to create a joint board to develop, fund, and expedite proposals for joint doctorate in education (EdD) programs.
Nov. 2001 UCLA Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs Winston Doby is appointed Vice President--Educational Outreach.
Dec. 2001 UC MEXUS and the California Council on Science and Technology present a workshop on technology transfer for representatives from Mexico's CONACYT and Mexican universities and industry, in follow up to the 1997 UC-CONACYT agreement to foster educational and research cooperation.
Jan. 2002 UC's Commission on the Growth and Support of Graduate Education concludes that to serve California's needs by 2010, UC must increase graduate student enrollment by at least 11,000 students (a nearly 50% increase).
Jan. 2002 Regents approve tuition exemption program to allow certain non-resident students, including undocumented immigrants, to pay in-state fees if they have attended at least 3 years and graduated from a California high school.
Jan. 2002 Board of Admissions and Relations with Schools issues discussion paper recommending the use of a core achievement examination in admissions covering mastery of the fundamental disciplines needed for University-level work.
Feb. 2002 The United States District Court named UC as lead plaintiff in the shareholders' class action lawsuit against senior executives of the Enron Corporation and the accounting firm of Arthur Andersen.
Apr. 2002 UC files a consolidated complaint in the U. S. District Court, adding nine financial institutions, two law firms, and other new individual defendants in its lawsuit against senior executives of the Enron Corporation and Arthur Andersen.
Apr. 2002 UC recalls its Education Abroad Program students studying in Israel due to escalated violence in the Middle East.
Apr. 2002 France Córdova named seventh chancellor of UC Riverside.
Apr. 2002 Governor Davis signs legislation providing funding for the California Institutes for Science and Innovation and for construction of the first classroom building at UC Merced.
May 2002 UC Washington Center officially dedicated.
May 2002 California Latino Legislative Caucus honors President Atkinson in the State Capitol Rotunda for his dedication in preserving academic quality and excellence.
May 2002 Regents vote to extend to eligible UC employees with domestic partners the same retirement benefits offered married UC employees.
May 2002 Presidential Medal awarded to Richard A. Lerner, M.D., president of the Scripps Research Institute, for his efforts in the creation of the California Institutes for Science and Innovation.
May 2002 Universitywide Assembly of the Academic Senate votes 47-0 (with one abstention) to approve the Board of Admissions and Relations with Schools' recommendation of the use of a core achievement examination in admissions that measures mastery of fundamental disciplines needed for success in higher education.
June 2002 Michael R. Anastasio named ninth director of the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory.
June 2002 UC suspends its Fall 2002 Education Abroad Program in India due to mounting tensions between India and Pakistan.
June 2002 The College Board trustees unanimously vote to develop a new SAT I. This new test will be in accord with the specifications developed earlier in the year by UC's Board of Admissions and Relations with Schools.
June 2002 Cesar Chavez Day in March officially designated a universitywide holiday to honor the late California farm workers' labor leader.
July 2002 UC and various sister institutions announce the creation of the Institute for Complex Adaptive Matter--an international multicampus organization to promote transdisciplinary collaborations between physical and biological scientists worldwide.
Aug. 2002 President Atkinson honored by the American Psychological Association with its Outstanding Lifetime Contribution to Psychology Award.
Aug. 2002 President Atkinson announces his intention to convene a forum of experts to explore issues of academic standards and freedom, free speech, and constitutional law to help guide the University on the subject of standards for course descriptions.
Sept. 2002 The Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory celebrates the 50th anniversary of its founding; Presidential Medals are awarded to its second director, Edward Teller, its third director, Harold Brown, its fourth director, John S. Foster, Jr., and its fifth director, Michael M. May.
Sept. 2002 The UC San Diego School of Pharmacy welcomes its first class of 25 Doctor of Pharmacy Students.
Oct. 2002 Carol Tomlinson-Keasey inaugurated as the first chancellor of the University of California, Merced.
Nov. 2002 President Atkinson announces his intention to retire October 1, 2003.
Nov. 2002 Board of Admissions and Relations with Schools issues report finding the comprehensive review policy, adopted in November 2001, has been implemented successfully and has maintained the academic strength of the freshman class.
Nov. 2002 Managers at the Los Alamos National Laboratory fire two employees responsible for investigating the loss or theft of government property.
Dec. 2002 Governor Davis proposes $74 million in mid-year funding cuts for UC in response to a State budget deficit estimated at more than $21 billion.
Dec. 2002 A special review team appointed in November by President recommends nine actions the Los Alamos National Laboratory should take regarding allegations of the loss or theft of government property and other business practice issues.
Dec. 2002 The Board of Regents adopts mid-year cuts in non-instructional areas of the university's budget and approves a $135-per-quarter student fee increase that will take effect with the spring 2003 term (the first increase in mandatory systemwide student fees in eight years).
Jan. 2003 John C. Browne resigns as director of the Los Alamos National Laboratory; George P. Nanos appointed Interim Director; John McTague resigns as Vice President--Laboratory Management; Senior Vice President Bruce B. Darling appointed Interim Vice President--Laboratory Management.
Jan. 2003 Governor Davis proposes nearly $300 million in new State funding cuts for UC as part of his 2003-04 State budget proposal.
Jan. 2003 The two investigators fired from the Los Alamos National Laboratory are placed under contract to the UC Office of the President at their former salary, retroactive to the date of their dismissal.
Feb. 2003 Senior Vice President Bruce Darling testifies before the House Energy & Commerce Committee's Subcommittee on Oversight & Investigations on issues related to the business and management practices at the Los Alamos National Laboratory.
Mar. 2003 Regents' meeting postponed due to concerns over the start of the war in Iraq.
Mar. 2003 Senior Vice President Bruce Darling testifies for a second time before the House Energy & Commerce Committee's Subcommittee on Oversight & Investigations on issues related to the business and management practices at the Los Alamos National Laboratory.
Apr. 2003 The Los Alamos National Laboratory celebrates its 60th anniversary; Presidential Medal awarded to Harold M. Agnew, third director of the Laboratory.
Apr. 2003 An external review team hired by the University to independently investigate procurement practices at Los Alamos National Laboratory issues its report recommending a number of corrective actions, in addition to those already implemented by UC and the Laboratory.
Apr. 2003 UC recalls students from its Education Abroad Program in China due to concerns about Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).
Apr. 2003 U.S. Energy Secretary Spencer Abraham announces his intention to open the Los Alamos National Laboratory contract for competition in 2005.
Apr. 2003 The California Digital Library unveils a new state-of-the-art online catalog of the millions of books, journals, etc. held by the ten campus' libraries.
Apr. 2003 UC and the Monterey Institute of International Studies enter into preliminary discussions with respect to the Institute becoming part of the University.
May 2003 President Atkinson, Senior Vice President Bruce Darling, Vice President Anne Broome, and University Auditor Patrick Reed testify before the House Energy & Commerce Committee's Subcommittee on Oversight & Investigations on issues related to the Los Alamos National Laboratory.
May 2003 President Atkinson selected to receive the Vannevar Bush Award from the National Science Board for his lifetime contributions to the nation in science and technology.
May 2003 The Office of the President issues guidelines to assist campus officials in ensuring compliance with Centers for Disease Control recommendations regarding Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS).
May 2003 In his May Revision, Governor Davis proposes no additional budget cuts for the University beyond those proposed in January.
May 2003 The Board of Regents vote 15-3, with one abstention, to oppose the state ballot initiative, Classification by Race, Ethnicity, Color or National Origin (CRECNO), that would prohibit the use of racial classification by local governments and public entities.
May 2003 President Atkinson announces his intention to appoint George P. Nanos the permanent director of the Los Alamos National Laboratory.
June 2003 President Atkinson awarded the University of Chicago Alumni Medal.
June 2003 Regents announce the selection of Robert C. Dynes as the eighteenth president of the University.
July 2003 In the face of an increasingly dire State budget crisis, the Regents vote to raise 2003-04 student fees 25 percent above their current level and to give President Atkinson authority to increase the fee hike to 30 percent if the state's budget situation requires it.
July 2003 Regents approve amendment to the Faculty Code of Conduct prohibiting faculty from entering into consensual romantic or sexual relationships with any student for whom the faculty member has, or is likely to have, academic responsibility.
July 2003 Regents approve changes in the University's admissions test policy so that admissions tests taken by freshmen entering the University of California in 2006 will be more closely aligned to the high school curriculum.
July 2003 George P. Nanos named seventh director of the Los Alamos National Laboratory.
July 2003 Presidential Medal awarded to Senior Vice President Bruce B. Darling.
July 2003 The State Legislature adopts a 2003-04 State budget that will lead to deep cuts in non-instructional programs at the University of California, a 30 percent student fee increase, a one-year delay in the opening of UC Merced, and no funding for salary increases for faculty and staff. Additionally, the Legislature indicates the State will not provide funding in 2004-05 for student enrollment growth, employee salary increases, or other inflationary cost increases at UC.
Aug. 2003 UC and Eolas Technologies, Inc. win a verdict against Microsoft Corporation in a patent infringement suit and are awarded $520.6 million in damages.

The Atkinson Papers Project

A collection of speeches and papers in the California Digital Library documenting the University of California Atkinson administration. Originally assembled in 2007, the collection now includes more recent writings and speeches by President Emeritus Atkinson and related items. Link to the eScholarship Repository: http://escholarship.org/uc/search?keyword=Richard+Atkinson

Entrepreneurial President: Richard Atkinson and the University of California, 1995-2003

A book by Patricia A. Pelfrey (University of California Press, 2012) is now freely available at http://escholarship.org/uc/item/60s1s1g6. It is an account of the Atkinson presidency, including UC’s stormy transition to the post-affirmative action era. PDF
Also available are reviews of the book. PDF