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At inauguration, UC Riverside chancellor calls for campus growth

April 24, 2014|By Larry Gordon
  • University of California President Janet Napolitano, left, congratulates new UC Riverside Chancellor Kim Wilcox at his investiture ceremony.
University of California President Janet Napolitano, left, congratulates… (Gina Ferazzi / Los Angeles…)

At his formal investiture ceremony Thursday, UC Riverside Chancellor Kim A. Wilcox called for significant expansions in enrollment, faculty and the campus itself.

UC Riverside should grow its student ranks from the current 22,000 to 25,000 over the next six years as called for in its master plan but also go beyond that in the future, Wilcox said. The university will need to hire 300 more faculty members to accommodate growth and replace retiring professors, he added, according to an advance transcript of his speech.

In addition, the university should move ahead with plans for new buildings, including a new interdisciplinary research building, and consider an events center for conferences and sports. He also suggested the university might need to build on property south of the campus along the 215 Freeway in the future.

“Public universities have literally transformed America,” said Wilcox. “In many ways, they were a key part of the creation of an American middle class; providing an education that was just as sophisticated but also more practical than that offered at the private universities.”

About 650 people attended the campus ceremony inaugurating Wilcox as UC Riverside’s ninth chancellor. After a formal procession of faculty in their colorful academic robes, UC system President Janet Napolitano awarded Wilcox the chancellor’s medal.

Wilcox,  who is 59 and an expert in speech and hearing disorders, came to Riverside in August. He formerly was the No. 2 administrator at Michigan State. His UC salary is $354,000 a year.

UC Riverside’s previous chancellor, Timothy P. White, left in 2012 to head the California State University system. Jane Close Conoley, dean of UC Santa Barbara’s graduate education school, served as UC Riverside’s interim chancellor for seven months before Wilcox arrived.

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larry.gordon@latimes.com

Twitter: @larrygordonlat

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