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Secretary of Homeland Security to become next UC president

Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano delivered a lecture at the Burkle Center for International Relations in April 2012 about the role and responsibilities of the U.S. Department of Homeland Security.

See our full coverage of the UC presidential nominee.

By Kristen Taketa

July 12, 2013 7:58 a.m.

Secretary of Homeland Security Janet Napolitano has been nominated to become the first-ever female president of the University of California, according to a statement released Friday.

If approved by the UC Board of Regents, Napolitano would be the first high-profile political figure to head the UC, a post that has typically been held by academics.

She received a unanimous vote from the special UC search committee designated to appoint the next president, according to the statement.

“While some may consider her to be an unconventional choice, Secretary Napolitano is without a doubt the right person at the right time to lead this incredible University,” said Sherry Lansing, chair of the special committee that selected the president, in the statement. “She will bring fresh eyes and a new sensibility – not only to UC, but to all of California.”

The Board of Regents will act on Napolitano’s recommendation after its regular board meeting Thursday, according to another UC statement released Friday.

[Updated at 10:15 a.m. President Barack Obama wished Napolitano luck on her next career move in a statement released today.

“Since day one, Janet has led my administration’s effort to secure our borders, deploying a historic number of resources, while also taking steps to make our immigration system fairer and more consistent with our values,” Obama said in the statement. “… And as she begins a new chapter in a remarkable career of public service, I wish her the best of luck.”

In her own statement, Napolitano said she was honored to have served President Obama as head of homeland security for the past four years, during which she addressed immigration, anti-terrorism and natural disasters.

“I thank President Obama for the chance to serve our nation during this important chapter in our history, and I know the Department of Homeland Security will continue to perform its important duties with the honor and focus that the American public expects.”

Napolitano acknowledged she is a non-traditional candidate. She said she will focus on listening to others and reaching out to the regents, campus leadership and students.]

[Updated at 12:48 p.m.  UCLA Chancellor Gene Block also issued a statement, expressing his support of the nomination.

“Her nomination is truly inspirational  – a reminder of the top-quality leadership that our students and our state deserve,” he said in the statement.]

Compiled by Kristen Taketa, Bruin senior staff.

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