Cambridge to California
By Daily Bruin Staff
March 6, 1997 9:00 p.m.
Friday, March 7, 1997CARNESALE:
Young’s successor praised by most campus leadersBy Marie
Daily Bruin Senior Staff
CAMBRIDGE, Mass. — On Albert Carnesale’s desk at Harvard sits a
coffee mug emblazoned with the slogan "No more Mr. Nice Guy."
But Carnesale, UCLA’s next chancellor and a well-respected
Harvard denizen for over 20 years, isn’t certain he lives up to the
"I think I’ve always been a nice guy," Carnesale said. "I didn’t
buy the cup, somebody gave it to me."
As Harvard provost for the last two and a half years, and a
popular dean before that, this "nice guy" has earned himself a
reputation as an easygoing but effective administrator Â a man
who the UC Board of Regents believes can successfully take over
where UCLA Chancellor Charles Young leaves off this June.
And after hearing of his appointment Thursday, most campus
educators and administrators praised the decision.
"I’m very pleased. I think he’ll be an excellent chancellor,"
Young said. "He’s a good person with lots of talent and experience.
He has the right priorities and goals for the university."
The enthusiasm for Carnesale is built largely on his successes
Before becoming provost, Carnesale stabilized the struggling
John F. Kennedy School of Government Â and did it while
maintaining a largely agreeable demeanor.
"He’s a very engaging guy," said Harvard Professor John D.
Donahue, who worked with Carnesale at the Kennedy School. "He’s
very easy to work with, very down to earth, and he’s been very good
at managing all the big egos at the Kennedy School."
In July 1994, Carnesale was named Harvard’s provost, and even
served as acting president for three months while President Neil L.
Rudenstine took a leave of absence due to exhaustion.
Carnesale has been instrumental in raising money at Harvard, and
has been part of the campaign to bring Harvard’s fiercely
independent schools closer together.
Although Carnesale’s Harvard successes are self-evident, what is
less certain is how well his Ivy League skills and experience will
serve him at a massive, diverse and public institution like
"I have major reservations about Carnesale’s ability to
understand the complexities of the empire that Chuck Young has
built at UCLA," said John Du, undergraduate student president and a
member of the search committee that named Carnesale as a
"The UCs in general are in a class of their own. We’re one of
the largest public systems in the nation and one of the best.
Because of this, it really requires someone who has a breadth of
knowledge about the UC schools to come and lead the university into
the next millennium," Du continued.
And there are stark differences between UCLA and Harvard.
Obligated to educate the citizens of California, UCLA’s
public-school sensibilities are at odds with the legendary elitism
"Carnesale is about as Ivy League as you can get. It will be
interesting to see him at a public school," said Todd Summers, a
student at the Kennedy School in public administration.
A fickle state legislature and a politicized Board of Regents
are both factors Carnesale has avoided at Harvard but cannot hide
from at UCLA.
"UCLA is a hard situation. You’ve got all the problems of both a
public and a private university," said Harvard Professor Richard
Zeckhauser. "You’ve got to raise money like a private university
and you also have to romance the public and the legislature as
Carnesale faces a dizzying array of problems and challenges in
coming to a public university Â how to maintain diversity in a
post-affirmative action environment; whether to continue UCLA’s
trend toward privatization; attempting to raise the university’s
standards while coping with diminishing state support.
"The transitional period will be difficult," said Judith Smith,
UCLA vice provost of undergraduate education.
"But I think Carnesale will do well. He’s a lot like (Chancellor
Young). I’ve heard he’s a commanding figure. He’s decisive and he
has high expectations to move UCLA from an outstanding university
to the top 10."
Zeckhauser, who has known Carnesale for over 20 years, is also
confident that the newly appointed chancellor is aware of those
challenges and can meet them.
"I know he’ll love it and hit the ground running. What’s
remarkable about Al is his sense of calm. He always looks like he
just came back from vacation, never breaks a sweat," Zeckhauser
Although Carnesale agrees that he has much to learn about UCLA,
he believes his background will allow him to make the transition
from private Harvard to public UC.
"I have enormous interest in all things public," Carnesale said.
"I spent nine years teaching at a public university. In between I
was in government. I spent my academic years at Harvard in the
areas of public policy and administration."
Confident that this breadth of experience has led him west,
Carnesale is excited at the opportunities that UCLA presents.
"I’ve always espoused what I call the tingle theory. When you’ve
got all the pros and the cons and you’ve done the analysis, the
real question at the end is, ‘Does this make you tingle?’"
"This one, the more I analyzed it and the more I thought about
it, the more I tingled."
With reports from Brooke Olson, Daily Bruin staff.
CONTINUED COVERAGE: Cambridge to California
Harvard Provost Albert Carnesale named UCLA’s eighth
CARNESALE: Young’s successor praised by most campus leaders
REACTION: Carnesale’s impact on governance, access prompts
COMMUNITY: Praise for fundraising, business skills offset
concerns about outsider status
CAMBRIDGE: University’s students feel indifferent to provost’s
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New chancellor to be announced Thrusday
Carnesale next chancellor