UC Merced said Juan C. Meza has been appointed the new dean of its School of Natural Sciences. He will join UC Merced in the fall.
Meza will take over for Mike Colvin, who has served as interim dean since February. Colvin replaced founding Dean Maria Pallavicini, who resigned to become provost at the University of the Pacific.
Meza studied at Rice University — earning bachelor's and master's degrees in electrical engineering and a Ph.D. in computational and applied mathematics — and now works at Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratory (LBNL) as head of the High Performance Computing Research Department and acting director of the Computational Research Division, where he manages a staff of 272 employees and a $50 million budget.
At LBNL, Meza helped grow research funding levels and established collaborations with the lab's earth sciences, environmental energy technologies, physics and genomics divisions, according to a university news release.
Meza, named one of Hispanic Business magazine's "Top 100 Influentials of 2009" and one of the "Top 200 Most Influential Hispanics in Technology" by Hispanic Engineer and Information Technology magazine in April, is the son of Mexican immigrants and a first-generation college student.
Meza's own research interests include applied mathematics and computer science with an eye toward computational research. The news release said he was drawn to UC Merced by the interdisciplinary spirit of its research — something that has been a hallmark of his own research career — and its inherent diversity.
Meza's compensation package will include an annual salary of $245,000. In keeping with UC system policy, he will also receive: standard health, pension and senior management benefits and standard sabbatical, sick and vacation accrual; a relocation allowance of up to $10,000 to help with relocating to Merced; reimbursement of 100 percent of actual and reasonable moving expenses, including one house-hunting trip; and eligibility for a Mortgage Origination Program loan in order to purchase a principal residence.