UC Merced

Meet the new face of UC Merced. Board names interim chancellor as Leland retires

University of California officials named an interim to head up UC Merced on Thursday, days after longtime Chancellor Dorothy Leland announced her intention to retire.

The UC Board of Regents voted to approve President Janet Napolitano’s appointment of systemwide Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer Nathan Brostrom as interim chancellor of UC Merced, according to a news release.

Leland announced Monday her intention to step down in August from the role she’s held for the past eight years. She is the longest sitting chancellor in the system.

Brostrom has worked as the UC system’s CFO since 2014 and was the UC Office of the President co-sponsor with Leland for the Merced 2020 Project, the $1.3 billion plan to double the size of UC Merced, according to Leland. To make room for 10,000 students in the four-year project, Leland and other planners pursued a public-private partnership, the first of its kind for a public higher education institution in the country.

“I cannot think of anyone stronger to serve as interim chancellor,” she said.

Brostrom was also previously the UC system’s executive vice president for business operations. Before coming to the UC system, he worked three years as vice chancellor for administration at UC Berkeley.

Currently teaching at UC Berkeley, he has degrees from Stanford and Princeton universities. He serves as a board member of Fiat Lux and Futures Without Violence, a group that works to reduce domestic abuse and violence against women and children.

UC Merced is at a “critical moment in its history,” according to Brostrom.

“UC Merced holds a special place in UC history, and I have been gratified to have been a part of that history as co-sponsor of the Merced 2020 Project,” he said. “I look forward to working in the coming months with the UC Merced faculty, staff and students, as well as with Chancellor Leland as she steps into what I hope will be a very active emeritus role on campus.”

Leland said she will maintain a relationship with UC Merced and has agreed to head the Merced 2020 Project Governance Board and provide leadership for other projects for the campus in its partnership with the National Park Service.

During Leland’s tenure, enrollment at UC Merced grew by more than 4,000 students to about 8,500. The school has seen a 73 percent increase in graduate students, added four new majors and gained 134 new faculty members.

Professor Kurt Schnier, chairman of the Merced Division of the Academic Senate, said he looks forward to what may be accomplished with Brostrom. He also praised Leland.

“On behalf of the faculty at UC Merced, I wish to congratulate Chancellor Leland and extend our thanks for her long and steady leadership, under which the Merced campus has been transformed physically, academically and reputationally,” he said.

Napolitano has said she will launch a national search for a new chancellor immediately.

As part of the process, an advisory committee — made of regents, faculty members, students, staff, alumni and foundation representatives — will be appointed to advise her on the selection of the new chancellor, which is part of the regents’ policy.

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