Championed Campus Diversity
By Chris Levister
University of California President Robert C. Dynes, whose tenure has been marked by budget woes and a compensation scandal, says he'll leave by June 2008.
Praised by women and minority activists for his push to diversify UC's 10 campus system and by associates for his "extraordinary intellect," Dynes, 64, says he was not pressured to step down because of the debate over executive pay that clouded the last year of his tenure.
An upbeat Dynes told reporters at a news conference Monday, his decision to step down was motivated by a desire to spend time with his wife, who he married in March, and by a feeling that he had accomplished what he could in the five-year time span he set for himself when he took the job.
"Leaving is bittersweet. You never accomplish everything you want to accomplish." Peppered with questions about the university's compensation practices including quietly awarding millions of dollars in perks to top UC executives without regents' approval, Dynes said he chose not to leave in the middle of the scandal.
"With that resolved and behind me, I'm in love with my wife and its time to spend some time with her before it's too late."
As president Dynes, a well known physicist, was an energetic and enthusiastic advocate for a public university system hailed as one of the world's best, with an enrollment of nearly 200,000 students.
He said he faced a series of difficult challenges, including maintaining UC's quality with fewer state resources and expanding it's diversity without the help of affirmative action.
"I believe deeply that every child who qualifies and works hard should have access to the UC. We've tried a variety of things, some of which worked, some didn't work. Looking at California's rapidly changing demographics, my successor will have to work very hard on that," he said.
In May Dynes told students at San Bernardino's San Gorgonio High School he failed calculus during his freshman year, but as he put it, "got his head screwed on straight" to become a first generation college graduate, distinguished physicist and leader of a world class academic institution.
"If you keep your head screwed on straight, the world is yours," Dynes told the students many of them from low-income families.
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