Dallas Rabenstein Retires from UCR

New endowed fund in chemistry established for EVC/Provost

Dallas Rabenstein at his June 19 retirement party held at the Alumni and Visitors Center. Photo by Kris Lovekin

Dallas Rabenstein at his June 19 retirement party held at the Alumni and Visitors Center. Photo by Kris Lovekin

UCR has a new endowed fund in chemistry named for Dallas L. Rabenstein, who is retiring from his position as executive vice chancellor and provost this month. His academic career started 46 years ago, with the past 29 years at UC Riverside.

Cynthia Larive, a professor of chemistry and CNAS divisional dean, at UCR and one of Rabenstein’s 46 graduate students, announced that so far, $48,000 has been raised for the fund by alumni, faculty and friends. It will support an annual distinguished lecture series, and it will assist faculty and students in the Department of Chemistry.

“You transformed us from novices to productive and effective scientists, and for that we thank you,” Larive said at his June 19th retirement party at the Alumni and Visitors Center. Rabenstein, she said, was an understanding and supportive mentor; one who provided various ways to support women in STEM fields.

Rabenstein assumed the role of executive vice chancellor and provost in February 2009, at the beginning of a deep recession. According to Chancellor Kim A. Wilcox, Rabenstein was a conscientious steward of UCR’s financial resources during a time of unprecedented budgetary pressure on the University of California system.

He was also instrumental in the creation of “UCR 2020: The Path to Preeminence,” the campus’ long-range strategic plan which compiled the insights of 140 faculty, administrators, students, staff, alumni and community leaders and which will help set the course for the university throughout the decade.

Rabenstein initially was appointed the position as an interim by then-Chancellor Timothy P. White, with the agreement that he would serve through June of 2010. However, following a pair of nationwide searches and two waves of finalists, the search committee and White agreed that retaining Rabenstein in a permanent capacity was “in the best interest of the campus.”

Dalla Rabenstein stands with his wife, Gloria, and his children, Lisa and Mark at his retirement celebration held at the Alumni and Visitors center on June 19, 2014.

Dallas Rabenstein stands with his wife, Gloria, and his children, Lisa and Mark at his retirement celebration held at the Alumni and Visitors center on June 19, 2014. Photo by Kris Lovekin

Various people spoke warmly of Rabenstein’s loyalty, work ethic and listening skills. “He is probably the hardest-working person on the entire campus,” said Marylynn Yates, dean of the College of Natural and Agricultural Science. “And we have some hard working people on this campus.”

University Librarian Steve Mandeville-Gamble purchased two books through the UCR library fund so that Rabenstein could be remembered at UCR centuries after his retirement: a book on nuclear energy to honor Rabenstein as a chemist, and another on Picasso’s paintings to honor his inner artist. On the library’s website and catalogue, the two books will have a note that will say they were purchased in memory of Dallas Rabenstein.

Chancellor Wilcox was effusive in his praise for Rabenstein.  “He loves this university,” Wilcox said.  “You never have to doubt why he made a decision. The reason is that in his heart of hearts, he believes it is in the absolute best interests of the university. He has great loyalty to faculty, to the university, to the system and to all of us.”

Even Rabenstein’s daughter, UCR Director of Regional Development Lisa Rabenstein, attested to his loyalty to the campus, joking that “After 29 years, UCR was Dallas’s third and most accomplished child.” She described a birthday cake tradition that involved an equation she had to solve before she could blow out the candles. “I had a lot of cakes, with a lot of wax on them,” she said.

A distinguished professor of chemistry, Rabenstein’s research focus is on design, synthesis and characterization of peptidomimetics. “I got sidetracked into administration,” he said, standing with his wife, Gloria, and his children, Lisa and Mark. “But the experience was wonderful.”

He said he accepted the call to serve as executive vice chancellor because he was very passionate about the need for a strategic plan. “It provides a good road map for where UCR needs to be.”

He also said the endowed fund in chemistry was the best possible gift. “It really is a bittersweet moment. It will be a period of adjustment. UCR is at truly wonderful place.”

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