Aug. 3, 2023
Since I became chancellor 16 years ago, UCLA has been my community and my home, a source of endless inspiration and an indelible part of who I am. Serving as the leader of our university has been the greatest honor of my life.
It is with bittersweet feelings, then, that I write to share that I have decided to step down from the role at the end of the coming academic year. This decision was by no means an easy one. But I have the greatest confidence in UCLA’s future, and I feel that the time is right — for me, for my family and for our campus. My final day as chancellor will be July 31, 2024.
In our many years here, my wife Carol and I have seen UCLA grow and evolve — becoming a more residential campus, expanding both in Westwood and across Los Angeles, launching new academic and administrative programs, deepening a commitment to access and affordability, achieving remarkable research success and rising in the rankings — all while remaining true to its crucial public mission and core values. We have also had the privilege of watching generations of developing leaders flourish here, and of witnessing brilliant scholars transform their disciplines and all of society. These experiences have only reinforced our already deep belief in the power and promise of this incredible place.
The UC Office of the President will soon launch a national search for our campus’s next chancellor. This position at the helm of one of the world’s greatest research universities will surely be a coveted one, and I am certain we will have many excellent candidates for the role.
In the meantime, of course, there remains much to do over the coming year. I look forward to the opportunities ahead — to working on the campus’s new strategic plan, refining programming for our UCLA South Bay and UCLA Downtown properties, growing our faculty with a focus on diversity, supporting major research initiatives, deepening our ties to the City of Los Angeles and laying the groundwork for our institution’s next fundraising campaign.
Personally, after I step down as chancellor, I do not intend to go far. I look forward to spending more time on my teaching and research in biological timing as a faculty member in the Department of Psychiatry and Biobehavioral Sciences within the David Geffen School of Medicine and in the Department of Integrative Biology and Physiology within the UCLA College. Happily, I also look forward to spending more time with my children and grandchildren.
Though it was nearly two decades ago, I remember clearly when I first heard about the UCLA chancellor position opening up, back when I was serving as vice president and provost at the University of Virginia. My first thought, admittedly, was of the 405 at rush hour. But my second thought was that this was a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to join a vitally important institution with extraordinary impact, stature and promise.
UCLA has been all that and more, and I am exceptionally grateful that I was chosen to be its steward all those years ago.
I also wish to give thanks to everyone in our community who has supported me, in ways both large and small, during my tenure here. Beyond all that, I offer gratitude to everyone who continues to make our institution a shining example of the very best of public higher education, both in California and across the globe.
Thank you, Fiat Lux, and — now and always — Go Bruins!
Gene D. Block