University of Miami President Julio Frenk appointed as new chancellor of UCLA

Julio Frenk, who currently serves as the president of the University of Miami and is a prominent public health researcher, is set to take on the role of chancellor at UCLA.

The board of regents at the University of California unanimously approved Frenk on Wednesday. Born in Mexico, Frenk will make history as the first Latino chancellor to lead UCLA.

Starting from January 1, Frenk will have an annual base salary of $978,904 as he steps into his new position.

“I am eager to assume this responsibility for several reasons,” Frenk expressed to the regents on Wednesday. “This is a critical time for higher education. We need to embrace bold innovation, and UCLA has a proven track record of doing just that.”

At the age of 70, Frenk will take over from the current Chancellor Gene Block, who plans to step down on July 31. In the interim, Darnell Hunt, the executive vice chancellor and provost at UCLA, will hold the position until Frenk officially assumes office.

Frenk’s appointment comes at a time when UCLA has been confronted with pro-Palestinian protests. Block faced criticism earlier this year for the handling of an incident where counter-demonstrators clashed with a pro-Palestinian encampment on campus, leading to arrests of some protesters.

“University leaders must address these issues thoughtfully amidst the challenges of protecting student well-being and upholding free expression rights,” Frenk emphasized during the regents meeting.

Having led the University of Miami since 2015, Frenk spearheaded a successful $2.5 billion fundraising campaign and guided the university through the challenges posed by the Covid-19 pandemic.

Frenk joins a list of education leaders making a move from Miami to Los Angeles, following the footsteps of Alberto Carvalho, who transitioned from superintendent of Miami-Dade County Public Schools to superintendent of the Los Angeles Unified School District.

Prior to his role in Miami, Frenk served as the dean of faculty at Harvard University’s T.H. Chan School of Public Health and as the federal secretary of health in Mexico, where he played a pivotal role in healthcare reform.

The chair of UC’s board of regents, Richard Leib, expressed excitement about Frenk’s appointment, citing his extensive background in education and health as key assets for UCLA.

Dr. Frenk, who was born in Mexico City in 1953, comes from a lineage of physicians. His father, a refugee from Nazi Germany, instilled a strong medical background in the family.

Frenk’s academic journey includes a medical degree from the National University of Mexico and advanced degrees from the University of Michigan in public health, sociology, and medical care organization.

Regarding the selection process for the chancellor position, UC’s academic senate chair, James Steintrager, highlighted Frenk’s diverse expertise in academia, healthcare, and administration, making him an ideal candidate to lead UCLA into the future.

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