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Lawrence H. Pitts named UC provost

Acting on the recommendation of University of California President Mark G. Yudof, the UC Board of Regents today (March 25) appointed UC professor emeritus Dr. Lawrence H. Pitts, M.D. as provost and executive vice president for academic affairs of the UC system.

The appointment follows a national search that yielded 15 prospects. Pitts has been serving as interim provost since February 2009.

“Larry is an accomplished academic leader, and a passionate and able advocate for UC and public higher education generally,” said Yudof. “He knows UC extremely well and I think he’ll do a terrific job working with the administration, the regents, the faculty and the rest of the UC community to help lead the university into the future and to maintain UC’s standards of academic and scientific excellence.”

Pitts, 69, a longtime UC faculty member and past chair of the UC Academic Senate, is a professor emeritus of neurosurgery at UC San Francisco, where he has served on the faculty since 1975.  At UCSF he has been chief of neurosurgery at San Francisco General Hospital and of UCSF/Mount Zion Hospital, and vice chair and acting chair of the Department of Neurosurgery.

He has also served on a variety of UC Academic Senate committees at the divisional and systemwide levels, including the Senate’s Shared Governance Task Force, the Task Force on Healthcare and the drafting task force on UC’s Health Corporate Compliance Plan. Pitts received concurrent bachelor’s degrees in electrical engineering and industrial management from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology. He served as a naval officer for two years before attending the Case Western Reserve University School of Medicine. He did his neurosurgical training at UCSF.

“Having spent most of my career at UC, I know very well what a remarkable institution the University of California is, and its impact on society, not only here in California but around the world,” said Pitts.  “We have some big challenges ahead of us, but many more opportunities.”

The provost is the highest-ranking academic officer at UC and is responsible for academic affairs systemwide, which includes setting academic policies on student admissions, retention and graduation; developing academic priorities; and long-ranging planning to maintain UC’s service to the public and to sustain UC’s position as the world’s leading public research institution.

As provost and executive vice president for academic affairs systemwide, Pitts will receive the same compensation and benefits he has been receiving as interim provost: an annual salary of $350,000, which is more than 18 percent below the market median of $415,800 and is substantially less than the previous permanent incumbent’s salary of $425,000 (the approved annual salary of $350,000 will be reduced by 10 percent to $315,000 under the current salary reduction furlough plan); per policy, standard sick leave and vacation accrual; per policy, administrative funds for official entertainment and other purposes permitted by university policy; and per policy, eligibility for standard employee medical, dental and vision coverage.

As a re-employed UC retiree, Pitts will suspend his pension and retiree benefits, allowing him to return full time during this appointment as an active employee and making him eligible for regular employee health coverage and additional pension credits for his service, consistent with UC policy (this constitutes an exception to the policy governing reemployment of UC retired employees which states that retired employees be rehired at no more than a 43 percent appointment; given the critical importance of the provost’s responsibilities and the need to have a dedicated full-time incumbent in this role, Pitts has agreed to this appointment at 100 percent time).

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