President Mark G. Yudof
President Yudof's statement
The University of California was conceived in the aftermath of the Gold Rush, and ever since the fortunes of the state and those of the University have been entwined. One would not be the same without the other. UC is both a creation of and the catalyst for California's unique, forward-looking spirit.
Because of this symbiotic relationship, all Californians have a stake in making sure that this system of premier research campuses, medical centers and national laboratories remains on course to serve coming generations as well as it has their predecessors.
When I arrived at the university in 2008, a confluence of challenges was lurking just beyond the horizon. Some were immediate and unforeseeable, the most obvious being the sharp collapse in the fall of 2008 of an already wobbly national and state economy. Other challenges were hidden beneath the university's well-deserved reputation for excellence, a reputation polished and protected by generations of dedicated faculty, staff and alumni.
Our pension and retiree health programs were exposed to billions of dollars of unfunded liabilities. A 20-year cycle of underfunding by the state had weakened our financial underpinnings. The administrative culture was sorely in need of modernization and transparency.
In short, there was much to do on several fronts with no time to waste. The first job was to close an immediate $1 billion hole in our budget, created by cutbacks in state support. This led to fee increases, furloughs, layoffs and program cuts. For the long term, we began to replace old ways of doing business with newer, more efficient and more transparent methods.
Solid progress has been made; we are, for instance, embarked on a campaign to wring $500 million out of administrative expenses by initiating a series of long overdue efficiency measures. This is money that will be put toward our core mission of serving students. We have reformed the UC pension plan. We also have been gaining political allies in Sacramento, where the latest state budget didn't deliver all that we sought, but at least was a step toward financial stability.
Californians should never accept the idea of their University of California tumbling toward mediocrity. And my job, my only job, is to make sure that it does not.
The university's role as an agent of transformation in California has been demonstrated again and again across more than 140 years of shared history.
It is and always has been more than the University of California. It also is the University by and, most importantly, for California. And my sole focus today and every day that I serve this wonderful California institution is to make sure it stays that way.