University News

Gene Block named new UCLA chancellor


Acting on the recommendation of University of California President Robert C. Dynes, the UC Board of Regents today (Dec. 21) appointed accomplished biologist and University of Virginia provost Gene D. Block as chancellor of the UCLA campus. The appointment was made during a special meeting of the regents and Block will take office on or before August 1, 2007.

Block, 58, was selected following a nationwide search that produced a pool of approximately 100 candidates. In making his recommendation to the board, Dynes was advised by a committee comprised of regents, faculty, students, staff and alumni.

"I am very pleased that Gene has accepted this appointment and I think he will be an excellent chancellor," Dynes said. "He is an accomplished scholar and administrator, a man of integrity, and I believe he understands well our mission as a world leader and a public institution, as well as the opportunities and challenges facing UCLA."

Since 1978, Block has served in an impressive progression of roles at the University of Virginia, including vice president and provost for the past five years, vice president for research and public service, vice provost for research, founding director of the university's National Science Foundation Center for Biological Timing, and director of the Biodynamics Institute. As provost, his priorities have included:

-Improving the pool of women and minority academic administrators poised to take on top leadership positions (;

-Maintaining excellence in undergraduate education while also improving the university's attractiveness to top graduate students;

-Building excellence within traditional academic disciplines while also capitalizing on opportunities to create new interdisciplinary institutes and centers;

            -Establishing the university as a leader in public service initiatives.

"I am deeply honored and excited by this appointment, said Block. "UCLA is a remarkable institution with a long and proud public service heritage, and it is a major economic and social force in one of the world's most diverse and important urban communities."

Block will hold a faculty appointment at UCLA in addition to serving as chancellor.

Norman Abrams, a professor emeritus of law at UCLA, has been serving as acting chancellor since Albert Carnesale, UCLA's chancellor since July 1, 1997, retired in June. Dynes thanked Abrams for serving as acting chancellor until Block takes office.

"I and the regents would like to express our appreciation to Norm for the great job he has done during this transition," said Dynes. "He has provided exemplary leadership to the campus, and helped make important progress in such areas as addressing the pressing challenge of student diversity and protecting the integrity of the biomedical research enterprise."

Block's major research interests are cellular physiology of biological clocks, and chronobiological aspects of aging. He has published extensively on matters concerning sleep-related biological research, and his inventions include a non-contact respiratory monitor for the prevention of Sudden Infant Death Syndrome, and a speaking aid for movement restricted patients.

He has been recognized by numerous awards and honors, including the National Science Foundation Pioneer Award and the Commonwealth of Virginia Outstanding Public Service Award. His current board service includes the National Institute of Aerospace board of directors, the Specialized Neuroscience Research Program at the University of Alaska, Fairbanks, the Institute for Shipboard Education (Semester at Sea), the University of Virginia Patent Foundation, Spinner Technologies, Inc., and the Carilion Biomedical Institute. His memberships in scientific societies include the Society for Neuroscience, the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and the Society for Research on Biological Rhythms. In addition to research support from the National Institutes of Health, Dr. Block directs an NIH graduate training program aimed at increasing the pipeline of scientists from underrepresented groups.

As UCLA chancellor, Block will oversee an institution internationally known for the breadth and quality of its academic, research, health care, cultural, continuing education and athletic programs.  UCLA enrolls approximately 38,000 students and features a renowned faculty.

Block will receive an annual salary of $416,000, which represents an increase over former chancellor Carnesale's salary of $323,600, along with the following additional items:

-Per policy, standard health, pension, and senior management benefits, and standard sabbatical, sick leave and vacation accrual.

-Per policy, an automobile allowance of $8,916 per annum.

-Per policy, use of administrative funds for official entertainment and other purposes.

-Per policy, a relocation allowance of $30,000 to assist with the higher living costs and other expenses associated with relocating to California.

-Per policy, eligibility to participate in the UC Mortgage Origination Loan Program.

-Per policy, relocation of household and office effects.

-Per policy, Block will be required to live in university-provided housing.

-In recognition that Dr. Block will be forfeiting one year of paid sabbatical leave earned at the University of Virginia, he will receive a credit of six months of paid administrative leave, to be taken immediately following at least five years of service as chancellor and to be paid at the chancellor's rate of pay in accordance with UC policy, assuming good standing with the university.

Block holds an undergraduate degree from Stanford University, and a master's degree and Ph.D. from the University of Oregon.  He is married and has two children.

A biography and photograph of Block is available at:]

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