Marye Anne Fox, the seventh Chancellor of UC San Diego and the first woman to be appointed as permanent Chancellor, led the university during a historic era of extraordinary campus growth and unprecedented financial challenges from 2004 to 2012. Under her leadership, UC San Diego successfully completed a billion-dollar capital campaign, celebrated the campus’s 50th anniversary, established new research and partnership ventures to further innovation and increase international collaboration, improved campus climate, and expanded at a record-setting pace to accommodate increasing numbers of students and a billion-dollar research enterprise. A world-renowned chemist, Fox received the National Medal of Science during her tenure as Chancellor.
Past UC San Diego Chancellors
Robert C. Dynes served as the sixth chancellor of the UC’s San Diego campus from 1996 to 2003, and President of the University of California from 2003 to 2008. During his tenure as President, the university improved long-range planning and built stronger ties with industry, focusing on both research and development, and the delivery of benefits to society. At UC San Diego, Dynes launched a $1 billion fundraising campaign, the first university in the region to set such a lofty goal. He also created the Triton 5K to raise money for student scholarships. A first-generation college graduate and a distinguished physicist, Dynes is an expert on semiconductors and superconductors.
Richard C. Atkinson served as UC San Diego’s fifth Chancellor from 1980 to 1995, and President of the University of California system from 1995 to 2003. His tenure as President was marked by innovative approaches to admissions and outreach, and research initiatives to accelerate the University’s contributions to the state’s economy. During his tenure at UC San Diego, the campus doubled in size to about 18,000 students while increasing the distinction of its faculty and breadth of its programs. An internationally respected scholar and scientist, Atkinson’s research dealt with problems of memory and cognition. His theory of human memory has been influential in shaping research in the field.
William D. McElroy served as the fourth Chancellor of UC San Diego from 1972 to 1980, after leading the National Science Foundation. He was a research biologist who made groundbreaking discoveries in bioluminescence. Although his research and training were scientifically-based, McElroy encouraged expansion of the arts, humanities and social sciences at UC San Diego, already known for its scientific strengths. He established the Chancellor’s Community Advisory Board, a group of San Diego leaders who advise the Chancellor, and greatly increased the university's outreach to the San Diego community. The UC San Diego research budget went from $40 million to more than $120 million during his tenure.
William J. McGill was UC San Diego’s third Chancellor from 1968 to 1970. He reluctantly accepted the position after chairing a search committee to select a new Chancellor and five finalists refused the job. He is best remembered for his conflict resolution skills, as the Vietnam War continued to spur student protests on campus. His legacy includes heightened curricular and scholarly attention to human rights issues. As a leading mathematical psychologist, McGill co-founded the psychology department at UC San Diego in 1965. His research contributions were at the forefront of advanced knowledge of sensory mechanisms.
John S. Galbraith served as UC San Diego’s second Chancellor from 1964 to 1968, a tumultuous time on campus due to the Vietnam War and student protests, and as Vice Chancellor under Herb York from 1962 to 1964. He was an internationally acknowledged expert on the history of the 19th century British Empire. A champion of the architecturally spectacular Geisel Library, Galbraith adamantly insisted that to be truly great a university must have an outstanding library. Galbraith retired from the University of California in 1986 after 39 years as a history professor at UCLA, and a history professor and administrator at UC San Diego.
Herb F. York was UC San Diego’s founding Chancellor from 1960 to 1964 and also returned as acting Chancellor from 1970 to 1972. He was a world-renowned physicist who helped develop the atomic bomb as a young researcher and later championed arms control. York excelled as scholar, researcher and diplomat, and left an enduring legacy as a UC San Diego professor and administrator, an innovative scientist dealing with issues of national urgency, and an ambassador for peace, stability and civility in the international theater. A mentor to students and an advisor to U.S. presidents, York’s academic and world player roles intertwined in a career spanning more than 60 years.