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UC Appoints Temporary Chancellor at Santa Cruz

July 15, 2006|Stephen Clark | Times Staff Writer

George Blumenthal, a UC Santa Cruz professor of astronomy and astrophysics and a former chairman of the UC systemwide Academic Senate, was appointed acting chancellor of UC Santa Cruz on Friday.

Blumenthal, 60, coauthor of an astronomy text, will replace Denice Dee Denton, who apparently leapt to her death from a 43-story building last month. Blumenthal will begin immediately.

Denton was an accomplished scientist and, at 46, one of the youngest UC chancellors in memory. She took her post at UC Santa Cruz in February 2005 and was widely viewed as an inspiring role model.

"This has been a period of grief and sober reflection for UC Santa Cruz community," UC President Robert C. Dynes said in a statement. "I am looking to George Blumenthal to provide for UC Santa Cruz the thoughtful, collegial and constructive leadership that I have witnessed in his leadership of the systemwide Academic Senate."

Blumenthal, a faculty member since 1972, is expected to serve on an interim basis for most or all of the next academic year; a national search for Denton's permanent replacement will start in the fall.

"This appointment is difficult because it has come about through such a tragic circumstance," Blumenthal said in a statement. "But I have enormous respect for the faculty, staff and students of UC Santa Cruz, and I am honored to assume this responsibility."

Blumenthal will receive a $260,000 salary, a standard pension, health benefits and other perks.

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