University News

Roger Wakimoto is appointed UCLA vice chancellor for research

He returns to the university where he spent 22 years on atmospheric sciences faculty

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Roger Wakimoto
Carlye Calvin

Roger Wakimoto

Roger Wakimoto, a former member of the UCLA atmospheric sciences faculty for 22 years, has been appointed vice chancellor for research, effective July 1, UCLA Executive Vice Chancellor and Provost Scott Waugh announced today.

Most recently, Wakimoto served as assistant director for the National Science Foundation Directorate for Geosciences (2013–17), where he led a division with an annual budget of approximately $1.3 billion in support of core research in the atmospheric and geospace, polar, earth and ocean sciences.

“We look forward to welcoming Roger back to UCLA,” said Chancellor Gene Block. “He will help UCLA strengthen existing partnerships, facilitate new relationships and continue to foster high-impact research for the benefit of Los Angeles, our state and our nation.”

Wakimoto will succeed Ann Karagozian, a professor of mechanical and aerospace engineering and former chair of the UCLA Academic Senate, who has been serving as interim vice chancellor since January 2016.

While a professor with the UCLA atmospheric sciences faculty (1983–2005), Wakimoto served as vice chair (1993–96) and chair (1996–2000) of the department. He subsequently became director of the National Center for Atmospheric Research’s (NCAR) Earth Observing Laboratory (2005–10) and director of NCAR, a federally funded research and development center, from 2010 to 2013, with a staff of approximately 750 devoted to service, research and education in the atmospheric and related sciences. He also held an appointment as research professor in the department of atmospheric and oceanic sciences at the University of Colorado at Boulder.

Wakimoto is an atmospheric scientist specializing in research on mesoscale meteorology, particularly severe convective storms and radar meteorology. He has written or co-authored numerous peer-reviewed papers and served on various committees, panels and boards for organizations, including the NSF, the National Academy of Sciences, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration and the American Meteorological Society, which he currently heads as president.

He has received several awards and honors, including a scientific and technical achievement award from the Environmental Protection Agency for research on air pollution, and the Clarence Leroy Meisinger Award from the American Meteorological Society for his contributions to understanding mesoscale weather events. He received a B.S. in meteorology from San Jose State University and a Ph.D. in geophysical sciences from the University of Chicago.

In his announcement, Waugh thanked professor Karagozian for her distinguished leadership as interim vice chancellor.

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