University of California President Janet Napolitano announced Wednesday she will be stepping down from her position effective Aug. 1, 2020.
Napolitano, who became the first ever female UC president in September 2013, announced her resignation at the September meeting of the UC Board of Regents at UCLA.
Under her leadership, the UC sued the Trump administration for ending the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, which allows for deferred deportation of undocumented immigrants who arrived to the United States as children.
Napolitano also announced she would allocate $15 million to programs for undocumented students, graduate students and postdoctoral fellows when she first took over the position.
She previously served as the United States secretary of Homeland Security from 2009 to 2013 and governor of Arizona from 2003 to 2009. She was also the attorney general of Arizona from 1998 to 2003 and U.S. attorney for the District of Arizona from 1993 to 1997.
“My career in public service has spanned decades, but the University occupies a very special place, and this particular chapter in my professional history has been especially meaningful,” Napolitano said.
Napolitano added that during her time in office, the UC was able to significantly grow enrollment, stabilize undergraduate in-state tuition, put in place initiatives to deal with food security, housing and mental health services, and advocate for undocumented students.
Regent Chair John Pérez said he looks forward to working with Napolitano for the remainder of the academic year and in the next phases of her career.
“I’ve always appreciated your approach and your dedication and your commitment to this University and to the people of the state of California that we service,” Pérez said to Napolitano at the meeting. “It really is consistent with your lifetime of commitment to public service.”
Regent Sherry Lansing said she thinks Napolitano’s resignation will be an extraordinary loss for the UC.
“I was fortunate enough to chair the search committee that chose (Napolitano) and it’s one of the things I’m most proud of in my life,” Lansing said.
UC Student Association President Varsha Sarveshwar said in statement that Napolitano carried the large responsibility of her position with perseverance and resoluteness.
“Leading the world’s finest public university system — a system with ten campuses and hundreds of thousands of students, faculty, and staff — is no small responsibility,” Sarveshwar said.
However, Sarveshwar added the past six years have been tumultuous for the University community, and the association hopes the next president will work with students and others to meet the challenges that face the University.
“President Napolitano was the first president to regularly meet with students — and in that spirit, we encourage the Regents’ Special Committee to work with us in the coming months to select a bold, visionary President who will join us to fight for the best that public higher education can be,” Sarveshwar said.